Elect a clown, expect a circus. The phrase has been used as an Anti-Trump expression and sold as merchandise on online shops. I wish I had purchased a shirt with the quote before the enhanced community lockdown so I could wear it today, the first day of April. The Philippine government’s response to COVID-19 has been met with protests and political gaffs have been plenty. It’s April Fool’s Day but I feel like I’ve been taken for a fool for much longer.
But speaking of quotes, March saw a rise in the number of fake quotes from personalities posted on Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS) Facebook groups. This time though, some of them are made by anti-administration trolls. Oh, how the tables have turned. I did my own snooping to check if I could differentiate posts made by professional trolls, legitimate fans of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and critics in disguise. I was surprised to find that I couldn’t tell whose side anyone was on. I could hazard a guess based on the level of absurdity a post was getting at. But without the usual cues like a fake identity paired with a famous person’s photo, I could see how convincing these fake quotes can be.
Blogger Rei Germar reposted a screenshot of a fake quote from “Grey’s Anatomy” character Meredith Gray where the fictional doctor commends how Duterte handled the COVID-19 crisis and how the real problem lies with the country’s citizens.
Hala ka :(((((( hahahahahhahaaha yoko na po hahahahahha si dr bailey ba walang say? pic.twitter.com/cfsBwEvvQc
— Rei Germar (@ReiGermar) March 22, 2020
Fictional characters aren’t the only ones being utilized for the posts. There are posts using late nation leaders who couldn’t possibly be singing praises for Pres. Duterte from their graves—such as former Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini and Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler.
Celebrities in the land of the living are being given fake names and credentials. Take this example of Jake Paul or rather “Lt. General Joseph J. Pavel” saying that the president’s militaristic approach is inspiring for members of the United States army.
Trolls also mix and match to make increasingly ridiculous claims. Here’s the “Star Wars” character Sheev Palpatine being called an Albanian oppositional leader who claims that their citizens look up to Pres. Duterte.
I had a few good laughs but I could see how dangerous it is to have a political atmosphere entrenched in falsehoods. If it’s getting harder to differentiate fact from fiction, how can we be sure that we’re making educated decisions—moreso holding the right people accountable and looking for merit in the statements of actual industry leaders?
United States President Donald Trump, although highly criticized, has a loyal following and remains the Republican Party’s frontrunner for the upcoming U.S. presidential election. While there are funny examples of fake quotes with him code switching to Filipino while complimenting our president, logos of credible news companies are added to the photos for a layer of authenticity. Is it worth it to potentially validate real support for a nation leader who’s been dubbed a macho “madman” just to get a chance to ridicule someone? Looks more like a lose-lose situation to me.
Although anti-admin trolls are relishing in a new hobby, the professional trolls are still getting their paychecks. Last month, Vice Pres. Leni Robredo tweeted an advisory for the public to remain vigilant of fake news peddlers and to clear her name from these quotes claiming to be reported by News5.
Dami talaga nilang time😕 Imbes na sayangin ang oras at pera sa pag-troll, tumulong na lang sana sa mga frontliners vs. #COVID19, gaya dito: https://t.co/um8L581cqe
Let's stay vigilant and report peddlers of fake news/quotes, especially now that accurate information is a must. pic.twitter.com/I9VqS4umfU
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) March 14, 2020
In the war against disinformation, trying to give administration supporters a taste of their own medicine isn’t the way to go. We’re all victims of fake news, regardless of our reaction to it. Staying sharp-eyed and contributing to healthy political discourse are the more effective ways to fight back.
Hello sa DDS na mabilis maniwala sa picture na nilagyan ng pekeng quote.
Galit na galit kayo sa fake quotes na attributed kay @lenirobredo pero tingnan nyo kung gano kadali gawan ng alternate reality mga idolo nyo. pic.twitter.com/Peze9qactm
— BrujaDeputaAdmlnisTraitor (@BrujaDelDemonio) March 21, 2020
Art by Tricia Guevara
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