Olympus has fallen? Rappler admits plagiarism

God’s Gifts to Journalism at Rappler did the unimaginable by apologizing over an article containing portions plagiarized from lesser rival Interaksyon.com.


It took Maria Ressa’s “social news network” almost a week to figure out that one of her minions, a certain Lean Santos, had indeed lifted information from Manny V. Pangilinan’s struggling news website. In the “public space” of social media — which Rappler claims to have expertise on — perhaps it was indeed difficult to spot journos in the business of copy-paste reporting. Not with editors like Gemma Bagayaua Mendoza taking apparent plagiarists like Santos under her wing even in the face of strong evidence.  Good thing complainant Ben Arnold de Vera stood his ground against Santos’ protective-to-a-fault editor.


No wonder the plagiarism episode made Rappler readers “afraid” based on its “mood meter.” We all should be, with editors like Mendoza whose idea of addressing the issue was to attack the complainant first, then probe later.

Rappler has no choice, having fueled the crusade against copy-pasting RH hater Tito Sotto at the height of the RH bill debate last year. Remember how Rappler went to town with the “Sottocopy” story? Not only did the “social news network” publish spot news — it also came out with analyses, satire pieces, and multi-part opinion articles that ultimately pinned down the Iskul Bukol stalwart.

Santos, according to the Rappler note, has been sacked. But how about his editor who dismissed the complaint posthaste based only on her reporter’s version of the story? Apparently, Mendoza’s fact-checking skills were no use against reporters plagiarizing right under her nose.

And we thought she’s among God’s Gifts to Journalism.

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19 thoughts on “Olympus has fallen? Rappler admits plagiarism

  1. Typical. Sack the writer, but not the Editor who’s supposed to be responsible for the outcome. To think Gemma defended Santos at first. What face does she show now? She should resign too for defending him instead of investigating first if indeed her ward was a copy paster.

    If Santos was sacked because he plagiarized, what about Lala Rimando who copied the coke story closing down, or rather summarized it, but stupidly misunderstood? Rappler should sack stupid people too aside from plagiarist. Pero if Maria Ressa did that, wala ng matitira sa Rappler.

  2. What I found funny was the exchange between Ben and Gemma,

    when Gemma said “It would have been nice if you clarified with us first…magkakilala naman tayo.” – Feeling she was still in the right, before investigating.

    “Please mind social media is a public space” – Translation: Double standard. Wag mo naman kaming hiyain. Pag-usapan muna natin.

    “Rappler’s been always open to criticism” – Translation: See above “please mind social media is a public space”…kumbaga open to criticism pero in private. Wag naman out in the open for the world to see our katangahan.

    Now that Rappler admitted it Plagiarized, is Stupid Gemma eating her words now? Has she written her letter of resignation out of delicadeza? Eh wala pala siya.

    Lean Santos is a Sacrificial lamb. Rappler is a team, pero pag may sumablay, Rappler quick to disown their reporter. So much for their integrity and credibility.

  3. At least that’s one news organization that’s taken some responsibility–albeit a bit delayed–for their actions, or lack thereof. One broadsheet out there just says sorry and moves on quickly than Taylor Swift. Yes, I went there.

  4. “Manny V. Pangilinan’s struggling news website”

    Dear Lord! You call it so aptly, it’s so funny because it’s soooo true! Say that one more time. lol I love this site.

  5. yan ang sumpa ng Sottocopying!

    the next time any writer submits to his/her editor an article, the editor should first inquire “Is this original or sottocopied?”

    all pun intended!

  6. The term is not anymore “sotto-copied” — but “rapplered”. In media circles, the term is pa-rappler for “pa-kopya” or na-rappler ka na ba for “nakopyahan” ka na ba?

  7. The best puns are from people who don’t describe their remarks as puns. “Sottocopy” isn’t a pun; it’s merely bad writing from your favorite mainstream media outfits.

  8. oh i just love it when these media outfits who do nothing but criticise and manira ng puri ng ibang tao are now the subject of criticisms themselves. anong nararamdaman nyo ngayon na binibira kayo sa social media? itong rappler/newsbreak/inquirer/abs-cbn/dzmm kung makatira ng tao ganon na lang. talagang what goes around comes around. sana lang mas madalas at mabilis ang “comes around”.

  9. Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and
    look forward to new updates.

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