The Freeh Report exposed our sloppy journalists
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-03-01

Media are relied upon to provide accurate information and analyses. The most basic foundation of the wide Wealth Gap in our country is the Information Gap. If our media were just more responsible in its reporting and analyses, then we would have a better-informed society.

The recent controversy spawned by the fight between big-time gaming operators Steve Wynn and Japanese Kazuo Okada had unleashed a media feeding frenzy here. The main focus of the feeding frenzy is not the Wynn-Okada battle itself but the alleged double standard that President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) applies when it comes to his friends and allies — even comparing it to the impeachment of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona. 

The suit filed last February by Steve Wynn against his partner Kazuo Okada was based on an investigation — the Louis Freeh Report — that Wynn commissioned. Many of our media practitioners were immediately mesmerized by the so-called credentials of Louis Freeh, a former FBI Director and bought the report as Gospel truth. Nobody bothered to investigate who Louis Freeh is.

Check out an article that Jason Kirk posted last February 24, 2012 on headlined “Why poker players can’t trust Freeh, Ridge.” Per Kirk:

“For nearly his entire tenure as its director, Louis Freeh’s FBI was plagued by scandals, political infighting, and public relations nightmares:

• A Justice Department inquiry recommended that Freeh be censured for the FBI’s mishandling of the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho, which resulted in the deaths of two civilians and one Deputy US Marshal.

• The FBI’s handling of the investigation of the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, was highly criticized and led Attorney General Janet Reno to send US Marshals to FBI headquarter to seize undisclosed tapes of federal agents “asking for and receiving authorization to fire” heat-generating tear-gas rounds into the compound. 

• Freeh’s FBI also oversaw the investigation of Chinese-American scientist Wen Ho Lee. Lee was arrested and held without trial for 278 days while the FBI tried to. In an internal Justice Department report, federal prosecutor Randy I. Bellows called the Lee case “a paradigm of how not to manage and work an important counterintelligence case.”
It’s not hard to understand why one former White House staffer from the Clinton years has called Freeh “a guy who was wholly incompetent but who held on to power by making himself useful to the press and Republicans on the Hill” and “a political opportunist who played Clinton, and managed to escape the judgment of history for his mismanagement of the FBI.”

Now does Louis Freeh still strike you as a reliable source of information, especially for a work that Steve Wynn paid him to undertake? And yet, many of our media practitioners staked their reputation that the Freeh Report was accurate and that Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) Chairman Cristino “Bong” Naguiat had violated the code of ethics of DAANG MATUWID (straight path) of the P-Noy administration. Other than sloppy reporting and analysis, those writers and commentators who pounded on Naguiat as if he murdered the Pope could also be suffering from that psyche disease called colonial mentality.

Marc Lezaron regularly e-mails your Chair Wrecker to express his agreement or disagreement. On this issue against Naguiat, Marc wrote: “Indeed Wynn violated the rule — what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. You are so right — no one leaks that kind of info in Vegas or in any other big gaming locations. It seems the backfire will also and SHOULD come from a ban on Wynn operations in the country for your analysis on a backfire is especially apt for the country and a Wynn gaming investment here. Future gamblers will definitely not come to a Wynn establishment especially if it’s in the Philippines because of Wynn’s indiscretion.”

Marc added: “It was obvious that chairman Naguiat thought the trip was meant only to demonstrate how Okada would entertain big gamblers/high rollers/whales AND their families - not to offer direct bribes to his office. …Send someone else to check out the facilities? Perhaps, send a tactical working group? I seriously believe Mr. Okada would consider that as a grave insult. We are after all looking at Mr. Okada as a potential investor. His invitation simply cannot be answered by sending a lowly official.”

Don’t you agree that Marc makes more sense than many of those commentaries that were hitting P-Noy for allegedly applying a double standard of justice? How can they compare the Naguiat situation with the impeachment trial of CJ Corona? Can’t they distinguish between a highly questionable Freeh Report and the Articles of Impeachment against CJ Corona?

Representative Amado Bagatsing, chairman of the Games and Amusements Committee of Congress, is quite familiar with the gaming world as he is into horse racing. None of these issues were given credence by Bagatsing’s committee investigation. Bagatsing knew the realities of the gaming world and correctly went after Wynn for sabotaging Pagcor’s Entertainment City project.

These commentators and analysts should be indicted for making many Filipinos virtual idiots. What else but an idiot — defined as a person who doesn’t know the truth — can result from reading such sloppy journalism?

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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