Why aren’t reporters checking how “Honest” these claims are?

By Mabel Doge Luhan

There’s nothing better than being an opinion columnist! As I posted on my Xanga, I AM HERE TO EXPRESS, NOT TO IMPRESS. I have no duties to you, my doting readers, and I don’t even have to tell you the truth! WHEEE!

Too bad that Ferdie De La Torre and the Saipan Tribune can’t abide by such loose morals. He calls himself a REPORTER (it says so right in the byline!) and the Tribune calls itself a NEWSPAPER (it says so right in its shockingly ungrammatical About Us page). People literally pay money to read the Tribune, and Ferdie literally collects a salary to write there! So he has a duty to provide useful information, and to protect the public interest.

Too bad none of that was evident in his October 30 “article,” “DPL denies Honest Profit’s request for lease extension.” Any time an article starts with the word “noting,” it’s not going to be good, and Ferdie doesn’t disappoint. After a truly Proustian opening sentence, he gets into the thick of it! Or at least he wants you to think he does.

Ferdie is at least doing well on padding the word count, with phrases such as “HPIL’s leased premises does not currently have an existing hotel.” This phrase could have been written as “There is no hotel on the premises,” or “The premises have no hotel.” But that wouldn’t have filled up as much of the page. Which is funny, considering how much the Tribune and Variety’s reporters otherwise love to over-abbreviate everything.

Then Ferdie repeats the steaming pile of canard that is the “partnership” between Honest Profit and Marriott. I suppose I entered into a partnership with Kraft-Heinz when I bought my jar of Sanka this morning — which purchase itself was a partnership I entered into with Joeten Enterprises. You may also not be aware of the partnership I entered into with Apple in order to write this very column! Tim Apple is such a looker!

Look: Honest Profit promised (and they should be believed; after all, the HONEST comes before the PROFIT) to pay Marriott for a service. That’s it. Honest Profit can call it a partnership in their PR-speak, but a newspaper — which works for the public, not for whatever business knocks on its door — shouldn’t repeat that disingenuous language just because it can and it’s easy to copy-and-paste.

Then the article repeats the claim of the unfinished site in San Antonio being a “$130 million” hotel. What does that $130 million mean? The money they spent on it? Including, uh, indirect costs? The money they hope it’s worth one day? Or the amount of investor funds that have been officially allocated to this project? Do we even know they didn’t do the old switch-up of quoting HKD figures as if they were USD (while it’s worth one-eighth as much)? I’m not asking for Ferdie to actually look up the paperwork — goodness knows he’s way too busy with his other hard-hitting investigative journalism — but can’t he even ask them the question, instead of just repeating whatever they tell him?

And here we go again: “project slowed down in 2019 for lack of foreign workers.” Slowed down? That’s a nice way to put it. And how do you know it was for lack of foreign workers — were you there at the big sit-down, er, I mean the board meeting? If you can’t personally vouch for the reason, then say that Honest Profit claimed that it was for lack of foreign workers. Unless you can verify that claim yourself. But we know that you’re way too busy for that.

It only gets better! Ferdie writes “Last July 22, Huang sent a letter dated July 9, 2014,” with absolutely no comment! In standard English, “last” July 22 would’ve been July 22, 2022. But it’s July, 2023 in Saipan, so we’ll go with that interpretation. Why was the letter dated nine years past? Isn’t that a bit strange? Why does Ferdie just let this pass without comment? Does he think people in legitimate businesses just pre-date their letters by nine years? Or was it perhaps a typo?

Here’s the absolute kicker: “Santos said Huang states that the extension is necessary for HPIL to enter a hotel management agreement with a global brand hotel, as the hotel requires management of a long-term lease for a minimum of 20 years.”

Wait! Didn’t Ferdie just say that Honest Profit entered into a hotel management agreement with a global hotel brand? And now he’s saying that they can’t do so without a lease extension? And this just passes without comment.

My son Calculus (the one who’s a casino commissioner on Agrigan) snickers and says the Saipan Tribune was always a joke of a newspaper, controlled by the TANNING SALON INDUSTRY. So what, I say! It certainly can’t be more of a joke than our other newspaper.


Mabel Doge Luhan is a rootless cosmopolitan and a woman of loose morals. She resides in Kagman V, where she pursues her passions of crocheting, beatboxing, and falconry.


  • Joaquin Romolor

      11/06/2023 at 12:13 PM

    Funny. Like increasing their word power with what ? desperado disorder or
    anxiety attack in their what? Philippine or China exaggerations, they should start reading “Kandit The (Light) to stop their propaganda maganda papalatung news, in suppressing the The Truth. Right Ms. comedian Ms M. Table. funny but very true and factual story.

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