New York Times editor on Rodrigo Duterte: ‘What he’s doing is so beyond awful’ (Part 1)

Senior staff editor Pedro Rosado: ‘Fascinated, freaked out’ when Duterte was elected president. Behind him the newsmakers wall. The FilAm Photos

Senior staff editor Pedro Rosado: ‘Fascinated, freaked out’ when Duterte was elected president. Behind him the newsmakers wall. The FilAm Photos


By Cristina DC Pastor

The New York Times editorial condemning Rodrigo Duterte “as a man who must be stopped” was the paper’s second against the recalcitrant Philippine president.

Publishing the editorial entitled, “Let the World Condemn Duterte” was a “huge decision” and had the strong support of the editors, said senior staff editor Pedro Rosado in a meeting with officers of the Filipino American Press Club of New York on April 29. The meeting was followed by a tour of the Times building on 41st Street off Times Square.

“Our Asia bureau did the bulk of the investigation,” Rosado said. “Whether or not there was a huge decision to do that, absolutely.”

When Duterte won the presidency in May 2016, and eventually took his oath in June, Rosado blogged about this unprecedented election result.

“When he was elected, it was a year before or eight months before the U.S. election, I was fascinated, outraged, and freaked out about this man being elected,” he said. “I had tweeted a whole series of things.” He was, in essence, sounding off some sort of warning before the U.S. elections. “It was such an obvious point for people to say — look what could happen. We can’t have this.”

The NYT editorial board room where Page One stories are deliberated

The NYT editorial board room where Page One stories are deliberated

Rosado shared his personal thoughts on Duterte. “This man is literally killing people in the streets. There’s no way to dance around it. Regardless of what your political bent is, that’s fact.”

He talked about Times photojournalist Daniel Berehulak who won a Pulitzer award for the article, “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals,” published on December 7, 2016. He photographed chilling images of drug suspects murdered by policemen in the name of Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, their bodies left on pavements, in the suspects’ homes, or piled in morgues with other dead bodies.

“One of our photographers just won the Pulitzer and we did a podcast with him. It’s called ‘Inside the times.’ We spoke to him before he spoke at the Pulitzer and he broke down and cried,” shared Rosado.

Berehulak, an Australian photographer and a regular Times contributor, pitched the story to the International desk, “and they said go for it.” His coverage of the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign gave him his second Pulitzer recognition.

Berehulak decided make it more of a visual essay once he saw what was happening, he said. “The impact was just so overwhelming that it was difficult to tell a story in words, it’s easier to tell the story in photos.”

Photojournalist Daniel Berehulak on the Pulitzer Wall, his first in 2015 for his images of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa

Photojournalist Daniel Berehulak on the Pulitzer Wall, his first in 2015 for his images of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa

Rosado continued to share more of his views. “What’s happening there and what Duterte is doing is so beyond awful. I get the real sense he’s not going anywhere. He’s gonna do pretty much what the other dictators do: Consolidate power and decide, oh I like this. I will keep on killing people.”

On the latest editorial dated April 25, 2017, he said, “I can’t say it was as dramatic as when we called the U.S. president a liar but, yes, not only is it very strong. It’s also putting us in a situation where we become another target for another powerful person in the planet.”

Two days after the Press Club tour, about a dozen Duterte supporters held a protest rally outside the entrance to the Times building. They called on the newspaper to apologize for the latest editorial and to stop “bullying” the Filipino people and the president.

Malacanang called the Times editorial against Duterte “reckless, irresponsible and baseless.”

NEXT: How the NYT pushes back against Fake News, charges of elitism and other issues

Copyright © 2017 The FilAm

Adolph Ochs, the rabbi’s son who published the Times from 1896 to 1935 and gave it the blurb ‘All the news that's fit to print.’

Adolph Ochs, the rabbi’s son who published the Times from 1896 to 1935 and gave it the blurb ‘All the news that’s fit to print.’



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