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Anderson Cooper-Korina Sanchez tiff goes viral on the Internet

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Korina Sanchez and Anderson Cooper FILE PHOTOS

Call it a virtual catfight, a non-issue, or a case of taking things personally, but the recent tit for tat between CNN broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper and ABS-CBN news anchor Korina Sanchez had netizens and TV viewers momentarily distracted from the grim images of the devastation left by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Sanchez had earlier bashed Cooper over his critical reporting on the government’s slow response to the aftermath of Yolanda in Tacloban City. The CNN broadcaster responded in kind in an exchange that provoked a storm of comments from netizens, most of whom chided the two news personalities for their sideshow in the midst of a national disaster.

In his eponymously named program on CNN aired live from Manila yesterday morning, Cooper said of Sanchez’ earlier remarks: “A radio broadcaster named Korina Sanchez has taken issue with some of my reporting.  She also is not just a radio broadcaster; she also happens to be the wife of the Interior Minister (Secretary Manuel Roxas II) who is overseeing the relief effort on the ground. Miss Sanchez seems to be under the mistaken impression that I said I saw no presence of Philippine government on the ground in Tacloban. I never said that.”

Hot topic

Sanchez had criticized Anderson in her radio program on Wednesday afternoon on DZMM after he reported on the government’s less than stellar response to the needs of Yolanda survivors.  Said the ABS-CBN news anchor: “Itong si Anderson Cooper, sabi wala daw government presence sa Tacloban. Mukhang hindi niya alam  ang sinasabi niya. (This Anderson Cooper. He said there was no government presence in Tacloban. It seems he doesn’t know what he is saying).”

Sanchez’s remarks became a hot topic on Twitter, something that Cooper was not about to let slip by.  Said the CNN journalist: “Here’s what I actually said: As for who exactly is in charge of the Philippine side of operation, that is not really clear. I am just surprised. I expected on this Day Five, I thought I may have gotten here very late, that things will be well in hand; it does not seem like that. People are desperate, they do not have any place for shelter. It’s very difficult for people to get food, neighbors are helping out neighbors, water is in short supply, it is a very very bad situation here.”

Cooper, who arrived in Manila on Monday, took a dig at Sanchez for not being on the ground to do her reporting. “Miss Sanchez is welcome to go there (Tacloban City) and I would urge her to go there. I don’t know if she has, but her husband is the interior minister and I’m sure she can arrange a flight,” he added.

Deployed to Ormoc

Cooper was unaware that Sanchez had been deployed to Ormoc City, another town devastated by Yolanda, on Thursday night, her first time to see the destruction in the region.  Sanchez’s coanchors in the news program “TV Patrol,” Ted Failon and Noli de Castro, had flown to Tacloban City earlier—Failon on Thursday, while De Castro had been there since Monday.

The Inquirer sought out Sanchez for comment, but her talent manager GR Rodis said she was “out of reach.”  Sanchez, Rodis said over the phone, was “busy distributing relief goods either in Samar or in Northern Cebu. She told me her signal would be spotty.”

An ABS-CBN insider, who refused to be named due to lack of authority to speak on the issue, said both Failon and De Castro shared Cooper’s observation about the government’s slow response in the aftermath of Yolanda’s fury.

Cooper said that as a journalist, he made it a point to be as “accurate as possible” in his reports to “help people on the ground become more efficient.”

He added: “Accuracy is what we care most about here at CNN.”

Stressed the news anchor:  “I saw the work being done and the work that is not being done.”

Cooper also took on President Aquino’s comments on the foreign media’s unflattering coverage  of the government’s relief efforts, specifically the President’s “counsel” that reports by foreign journalists should not only be accurate but must also be able “to uplift the spirit of the Filipino people and show stories of resilience and hope and faith,  and show the world how strong the Filipinos are.”

In his program, Cooper replied: “All week long, in every report we have done, we have shown how strong the Filipinos are. The Filipino people, the people of Tacloban and Samar and Cebu, and all these places where so many have died, they are strong—not just to have survived this storm, but they are strong to have survived the aftermath of this storm,” he said.

“They have survived for a week now, often with very little food, with very little water, with very little medical attention. Can you imagine the strength it takes to be living in a shack, to be living, sleeping on the streets next to the body of your dead children? Can you imagine that strength? I can’t and I have seen that strength day in and day out in the Philippines and we honor them day in day out here in the Philippines, and we honor them with every broadcast that we make.”

Field day

Netizens too, had a field day, tweeting about the issue.

“It’s embarrassing for Filipinos that the wife of a high govt official is the source of so much division at a time when we should be united,” said netizen @Article8Jester.

“Ms. Korina Sanchez, act as a journalist not a wife! ’wag mo naman masyadong pene-personal ang trabaho mo! alam mo ang mali at tama,” said  netizen @akosiprettysam.

“Korina Sanchez should have the guts to go to tacloban and see the disaster for herself. Because saying something without the proof is BS,” said netizen  @LanceLim27.

“@andersoncooper gets all emotional as he talks about how strong Filipinos are. Just wanna go to him right now and hug him,” said  netizen  @NickeyyDees.

“Korina hiyang hiya naman daw si Anderson Cooper sa credibility mo,” netizen   @markdalas said.

“She reported in ormoc not in tacloban. She should do her reporting in tacloban without a face mask and smell the stench like Mr. Cooper.,” said netizen Jay Labayo.

Some netizens opted to look beyond the Sanchez-Cooper  virtual catfight.

“Korina Sanchez vs. Anderson Cooper. duh! this shouldn’t be an issue,” said netizen  @aikeevarona.

“Di nman tlaga alam ni Anderson Cooper, o kahit ni Korina Sanchez, o kahit sino, ang nangyayari.Ang tunay na nakakaalam? ’Yung mga nakakaranas,” said netizen  @w3cw3c.

“Bashing Korina Sanchez doesn’t make you a better person. Helping “Yolanda” victims does. Move on, people,”  netizen @albacharlyn posted on Twitter.

Blogger Niko Batallones chided Anderson for a different reason:

“Diyos ko po, Anderson, bakit mo pinatulan si Korina? “ tweeted @nikobatallones. With a report from Ramon Royandoyan

 
RELATED STORIES:

Anderson Cooper to Korina Sanchez: Go to Tacloban

Korina Sanchez reports from Ormoc, Anderson Cooper still in Tacloban

Anderson Cooper’s report irks Korina Sanchez

‘Who’s in charge here?’








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  • sinopakaya

    panawagan sa mga mamamayang pilipino na may ginituang puso. sana po ay dagdagan pa natin, sa abot ng ating makakaya, ang tulong na kinakailangan ng ating mga kababayan na nasalanta ni yolanda.

  • Alan

    I think we have given enough attention to Yolanda and its aftermath and the side issues of politics in the relief operations. It’s time we talk about other national issues. Nakakasawa na ito. Get me out of here.

    • sinopakaya

      this is a free country. you are free to leave.

  • KapitanBagwis

    The letter aims to give Cooper a
    clearer perspective of what the country is experiencing, and the way he reported
    the scene as it focuses on country’s incompetence. Here is a long open letter
    that will explain it all taken from Aireen Navarro Khauv Facebook account.

    Dear Sirs:

    I just wanted to make some comments on the reporting of the CNN
    International crew here in Manila, regarding the relief efforts for the victims
    of super-typhoon Haiyan (which we locally call typhoon Yolanda).

    First, full disclosure: I am a retired Filipino executive and computer
    person. I was born in the Philippines and spent all my life here (save for some
    very short overseas stints connected with my career). I have worked with a large
    local Philippine utility, started up several entrepreneurial offshore software
    service companies (when outsourcing was not yet in vogue), and also served as
    the Philippine country head for a multi-billion dollar Japanese computer
    company. This diverse work background allows me to always see both the local and
    global point of view, and to see things from the very different standpoints of a
    third-world citizen, and a person familiar with first-world mindsets and
    lifestyles.

    I appreciate CNN’s reporting, as it brings this sad news to all
    corners of the world, and in turn, that helps bring in much needed charity and
    aid. The tenor and tone of CNN’s reporting has not been very palatable for a
    local person like me (the focus seems to be on the country’s incompetence). But
    I shrug that aside, as there is probably some truth to that angle. And in
    reality, what counts now is that help arrives for the people who need them most;
    recriminations and blame can come later. Last night, I listened to a CNN
    reporter wondering about the absence of night flights in Tacloban, in the
    context of the government not doing enough to bring in relief goods. It was like
    listening to newbie executives from Tokyo, London or the USA with no real
    international experience, yet assuming that their country’s rules and
    circumstances applied equally to the rest of the world. That was the proverbial
    last straw: I knew I had to react and call your attention to a few things (with
    some risk, since these topics are not my area of competence):

    1. The airport in Tacloban is a small provincial airport: when you get
    two commercial Airbus flights arriving simultaneously, you are already close to
    straining that airport’s capacity. Even under normal operations, the last
    flights arrive in Tacloban at around 6pm, partly because of daylight
    limitations. Considering that the typhoon wiped out the airport and the air
    traffic gear, and killed most of the airport staff, you basically have nothing
    but an unlit runway which can handle only smaller turbo-prop planes. You can
    only do so much with that. I would assume that our Air Force pilots are already
    taking risks by doing landings at dusk. Take note that in the absence of any
    working infrastructure, the cargo will have to be off-loaded from the plane
    manually, while it sits in the tarmac. If you do the math, I wonder how aircraft
    turn-around’s can be done in a day? How many tons of supplies could
    theoretically be handled in one day?

    2. The Philippine air force has only three C130 cargo planes (I am not
    sure if there is a fourth one). This is supposedly the best locally-available
    plane that is suited for this mission: large enough to carry major cargo load,
    but not too large to exceed the runway limitations. We do not have any large
    helicopters that can effectively move substantial cargo. I am happy to read in
    the newspapers that the USA is lending another eight C130 planes. I am not the
    expert, but I would suspect that even with more planes, the bottleneck would be
    in capacity of the airport to allow more planes to land and be offloaded, as
    discussed above.

    3. A major portion of the road from the Airport to Tacloban City is a
    narrow cement road of one lane in each direction. With debris, fallen trees,
    toppled electric poles, and even corpses littering the road, it took time to
    clear the airport itself, so that they could airlift heavy equipment needed to
    clear the roads. Then it took even more time to make the roads passable.
    Listening to our Interior Secretary on CNN, he disclosed that the Army was able
    to bring in 20 military trucks to Leyte. Half of them were allocated to
    transport relief goods to the different villages in the city, and the rest were
    assigned for clearing, rescue and other tasks. With very little local cargo
    trucks surviving the typhoon, I guess this would be another bottleneck. Again, I
    assume that if I do the math, there is only so much volume that can be moved
    daily from the airport to the city.

    4. The Philippines is an archipelago. Tacloban City is in Leyte island,
    which has no road link with the other major cities/islands. The only external
    land link (the San Juanico bridge) is with the neighboring island of Samar,
    which was equally hard hit by the typhoon, and which is just like Leyte (in
    terms of limited transportation infrastructure). The logistics of getting
    relief, supplies and equipment to Tacloban is daunting. Not too long ago, my
    company put up a large chunk of the communication backbone infrastructure in
    Leyte province. It was already a challenge to get equipment onto the ground
    then. This has always been the challenge of our geography and topography. What
    more now, when the transportation/communication systems are effectively wiped
    out in Tacloban?

    5. There is an alternate land/sea route from Manila to Leyte: down 600
    kilometers through the Pan-Philippine highway to the small southern province of
    Sorsogon, taking a ferry to the island of Samar, and then 200+ kilometers of bad
    roads to Tacloban City. I was told that some private (non-government) donations
    are being transported by large trucks through this route. So many trucks are now
    idle in Matnog town down in Sorsogon, waiting for the lone ferry which can carry
    them across the very rough San Bernardino Straits to the town of Allen in Samar
    island. The sheer volume probably is over-whelming. Again I do not have the
    exact numbers, but my educated guess is that the low-volume Matnog ferry needs
    to transport in a few days what they would normally do over one or two
    months.

    6. The government administrative organization in Tacloban is gone. Most
    local government employees are victims themselves. This adds to the problems of
    organizing relief efforts locally. Even if augmented with external staff, the
    local knowledge and the local relationships are hard to replace. In some other
    smaller towns (where the death toll and/or damage has not been as bad), local
    governments are still somehow functioning and coping. They are able to bury
    their dead, set up temporary makeshift shelters, organize and police themselves.
    Short term, they need food, water and medical supplies to arrive; medium term,
    they need assistance in clean-up, reconstruction and rebuilding. But Tacloban is
    in a really bad condition. What can you expect from a city that has lost
    practically everything?

    I am told of the comparison with the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami, where
    relief supplies arrived promptly, efficiently, and in volume. I think there is
    one major backgrounder that CNN staff fail to mention: that Tacloban is not
    Fukushima, that it is not Atlanta. And the Philippines is not Japan, and
    certainly not the USA. Even before the typhoon, this region was one of the less
    developed in the country, with limited infrastructure. There was only a small
    airport, limited trucking capacity, a limited road system, and a small seaport
    servicing limited inter-island shipping. And with the damage from the typhoon,
    that limited infrastructure has been severely downgraded. It is easy to blame
    the typhoon. But the truth is: Tacloban is a small city in a third-world
    country. If you had to bring in that volume of cargo in that short window of
    time in pre-typhoon Tacloban, it would already have been a challenge. It is easy
    for a first-world person to take everything for granted. The reality (or
    sometimes, the advantage?) of growing up in a third-world country is that you do
    not assume anything, you take nothing for granted, you are grateful for what
    little you have (and you do not cry over what you do not have).

    I understand and sympathize with the desperate needs of the victims.
    Every little bit counts. The smallest food or water package can make the
    difference between life and death. I think every Filipino knows that. And that
    is why I am very happy with the national display of compassion and civic duty.
    Everyone, even the poorest, even the prison inmates, is donating food and money.
    People are volunteering their time. All the local corporations are helping. In
    the Philippines, Christmas is the most important holiday, and the annual company
    Christmas Party is probably the most important company event for most employees.
    Yet in very many companies in Manila, employees have decided to forego their
    Christmas party, and instead divert the party budget to relief/aid.

    From what I see on TV, the situation on the ground is not pretty. I do
    accept that efficiency needs to be improved, that service levels have to go up.
    I do acknowledge that our country’s resources are limited, that our internal
    delivery capabilities may not be world-class. I do understand that there may be
    ineffective policies/processes and even wrong decisions made by government. But
    what I cannot understand is the negative tenor of CNN reporting. I suspect that
    CNN reporters are viewing this through the eyes of a first-world citizen, with
    an assumed framework of infrastructure and an expectation of certain service
    levels. I suspect these are expectations that we would have never met, even in
    the pre-typhoon days.

    Or perhaps it is a question of attitude: a half-empty glass rather than a
    half-full glass. At my age, I have experienced and lived through earthquakes,
    volcanic eruptions, and at least twenty really bad typhoons (but admittedly,
    none as bad as Yolanda). From my experience, what we have now is not just a
    half-filled glass, I personally view it as probably at least 75% full (meaning,
    I think this is a big improvement over past efforts in past calamities). But
    please do not fault us for being a third-world country. Please do not explicitly
    or implicitly attribute everything to our incompetence, what might be due to
    other factors (such as those that result from limited resources or
    infrastructure, or those conditions that God or nature seems to have chosen for
    us). Our people are doing what they can, so let’s give them a break. More so in
    these difficult times, when suffering is high, emotions are feverish, and
    tempers are frayed.

    It breaks my heart to see my countrymen suffering so much. I will do my
    share, whatever I can do to help. I will bear insults and harsh words, if this
    is the price for my people to receive the aid we need. I make no excuses for my
    country’s shortcomings, but I just wish that some positive slant (the many small
    tales of heroism, the hard work of our soldiers, the volunteerism and compassion
    of the typical citizen, etc) would also be mentioned equally. I just needed to
    let you know how this particular Filipino reacts to your reporting, and I
    suspect there are many, many other folks who feel the same way that I
    do.

    For whatever the limitations, I still sincerely thank you for your
    coverage, and the benefits that it will bring my countrymen.

    • WarOfSelf

      sorry but that letter just sounds like it’s full of excuses. It’s a good thing that someone finally gets our emotions stirred because there is truth in it. As the cliche saying goes, you have to be cruel to be kind. Hopefully everyone sees the light in the midst of all this negative publicity for our Government.

      • KapitanBagwis

        Firstly, I don’t agree that the world learned the plight of the country over the super typhoon because of Cooper. Wether Cooper is there or not the international community will help the country.
        Secondly, interpretation of the letter depends on where you stand. If to you the letter sounds to be making excuses, to me it’s citing hard facts of the real situation of a third world country. And to me , Cooper sounds complaining that there was no government on the ground and not objective reporting .
        Please elaborate on your “you have to be cruel to be kind”. How does that work?
        Sent from my iPad



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