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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pajamahadeens Rising

Q: What do you call a blog gathering of a political commentator, a feline, and four lawyers? A: A good start.

Indeed, it was an initiation to the world of blog chats. Manolo suggested to a number of people the idea of blogging and giving commentary on the current fad in Philippines politics: impeachment. And so Sassy, Marvin, Punzi, the CaT and I said yes and pretty soon, we were on our way to making small history in Philippine blogging.

We discussed impeachment and a whole lot of stuff. We also learned to be creative in hurdling technical difficulties by reverting back to pre-internet technology that is called the telegram. Over all, the time was short. I am sure the next time around, there will be more participants who will enrich us with their knowledge and points of view. A transcript of our recently concluded chat is linked here too.

Blogging is a big phenomenon in the US. They played a key role in bringing down former Senate Majority Leader Senator Trent Lott after he made a racist comment during a bash in honor of the retiring Senator Strom Thurmond. The bloggers also questioned in minutest detail Sen. John F. Kerry's Vietnam experience which in no small measure contributed to his defeat to George W. Bush.

But the most significant impact the bloggers made which is now considered a watershed event in the diminishing influence of Mainstream Media or MSM over the American people was during the 2004 presidential campaign when the bloggers questioned the authenticity of the Killian documents. The Killian documents were letters allegedly written in the 70's by Lt. Col. Jeremy Killian, superior oficer of George W. Bush, purportedly showing that George W. Bush was given preferential treatment when he applied for and while doing his tour of duty with the Texas Air National Guard in order to avoid serving in Vietnam. Dan Rather of CBS, one of the monoliths of MSM, exposed these documents in his show, 60 Minutes Wedndesday.

However, within 72 hours from broadcast, the bloggers were able to build a case that the documents were forgeries. In fact, it was a lawyer blogger who noticed that the fonts in the Killian documents were Times New Roman fonts created by Microsoft, the software giant that was not yet in existence during the 70's. CBS refused to be cowed by the mounting evidence gathered by the bloggers and held out for two weeks until Dan Rather issued his non-apology apology and said that it was a lapse of judgment. Sounds familiar? He later resigned and is now retired from CBS News.

During those two weeks that CBS refused to recant, Mr. Jonathan Klein, then Executive Vice-President of CBS New was reported to have derisively compared the high journalistic standards at CBS with the bloggers by this comment: "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances (at CBS), and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing".

In response to Klein's comment and in total self-deprecation, a blogger, Little Green Balls, coined the word "pajamahadeens" by combining the words "pajama(s) & "(muja)hadeen" in their satiric blog contesting the authenticity of the Killian Documents. Since then, the name has stuck and has come to mean a "political blogger".

Nowadays, MSM can no longer deny the power of the bloggers. Even MSM practitioners have come out blogging, chief among them is Jove Francisco of ABC5's The Big News. In fact, I would surmise and Jove will confirm this statement that more people surf his blogsite than watch Channel 5's news program. By the way, Jove, congratulations for being the Pinoy Blog of the Week.

The force and effect of the pajamahadeens inthe Philippines is still to be felt but at the rate Manolo and Sassy are getting numerous hits everyday, MSM will have to hold another summit to discuss the symbiotic or supplementary or diminishing role of the MSM. Right now, the big media conglomerates are safely esconced in their fiefdom. But as Filipinos get better access to the internet and unless they realize the power of blogging, that day of mourning may come to pass. In fact, these six pajamahadeens mayhave just created a new media paradigm.

Caveat ABS-CBN et GMA7.


Blogger jove said...

hi edwin.

i agree. pero secret lang natin? my bosses and producers will banish me from our novaliches kingdom, if malaman nila that i affirmed the theory that more people go to blogs than watch abc5. hehehehe

thank you for the congratulatory remark too.

more power to the new media paradigm...even if it means the start of the end for my beloved industry. lol. evolution is a great concept.

and yeah, more power to you too.

san ka sa san juan, baka kapitbahay pa kita edwin?

11:17 PM  

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