One-sided, single sourced
JEERS TO several media organizations for running a one-sided, single sourced story regarding Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s allegedly making a local tourist swallow a cigarette butt.
On 3 September 2015, GMA News Online, Inquirer.net, and Rappler reported a Facebook post by former North Cotabato Governor Manny Piñol about the supposed incident. Titled “Discovering Davao: Defiant Smoker’s Lesson: Don’t Dare Rody Duterte,” Piñol narrated how a local tourist defied the Anti-smoking ban in Davao City and refused to heed the restaurant owner’s reminders regarding the law. The restaurant owner then informed the police to alert Duterte who allegedly came to the establishment and confronted the tourist. Rappler did update its report, but only after five hours after its initial post at 3:45 p.m.
Duterte allegedly pulled out a .38 revolver and pointed it at the man’s crotch and asked him to choose between being shot, being jailed, or eating the butt of the cigarette he was smoking. After apologizing, the tourist allegedly chose to swallow the cigarette butt. As Duterte was leaving, he allegedly said “Never challenge the law.”
The unidentified local tourist was in the city for the Kadayawan Festival last August. Davao, located some 1,472 kilometers south of Manila, is the world’s largest city and placed 9th in the ranking of the safest cities of the world, according to crowd-sourcing survey site Numbeo.com.
Rappler was able to update their story at 8:45 p.m. by including Duterte spokesman Peter T. Laviña’s side.
According to Laviña, Duterte was on his way to the city hall when he heard about a restaurant customer who was defying the smoking ban. Duterte then went to the place and confronted the person and made him eat the cigarette butt. Laviña clarified that Duterte did not pull a gun on the tourist.
GMA News Online, Inquirer.net and Rappler failed to verify the story first before running it – apparently because of the lack of other sources aside from the Facebook post. While Rappler was able to get Laviña’s side, it took almost five hours to update the story.
The stories ran by these organizations were tagged to the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility by Twitter users Jadon D (@bluearden) and Ai (@highreaching).