'Seriously, but not literally'? The Atlantic used it ahead of Andanar
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and United States president-elect Donald Trump may have more in common than we think – at least that’s how it looks after Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar’s statement bore a striking similarity to a US-based magazine’s description of Trump and his supporters.
In explaining how to interpret Duterte’s statements in light of his admission that he killed suspects while he was Davao City mayor, Andanar suggested that the media and the public take the country’s highest official’s words seriously, but not literally. (READ: Understanding Duterte 101? 'Take him seriously but not literally’)
"We don't take all the President's statements literally, but we take his statements seriously," Andanar said during an interview with BBC Newsday’s Rico Hizon on December 15.
Andanar's reply calls to mind a piece from The Atlantic, entitled, "Taking Trump Seriously, Not Literally" published earlier in September. The piece described the dynamics between Trump and his supporters at the height of the US presidential elections – especially in relation to the Republican nominee's controversial language.
“His supporters take him seriously, but not literally,” journalist Salena Zito wrote about Trump. Sounds familiar, right? Andanar must have read Zito and thought the choice of words was just perfect and equally applicable to his boss.
Zito added that the press, for its part, “takes him literally, but not seriously.”
The colorful billionaire, who won against Democratic nominee and first female presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, found the observation “interesting.”
One of these statements included his proposal to build an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful” wall along the southern US border as part of his immigration policy, and to make the Mexicans pay for it.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, whenever Duterte opens his mouth and says something controversial, both local and foreign media end up scratching their heads and asking themselves, "Did he really mean that?"
For some of his Cabinet officials, the past 6 months have also been spent explaining, interpreting, or clarifying many of his controversial statements.
They have also blamed the media for taking Duterte’s words “out of context,” accusing them of bias, and even suggesting that they use “creative imagination” in handling the words of the Bisaya president. (READ: 'Creative imagination' under Duterte, or interpreting what he says)
Example? Remember during one of his tirades against critics of his war on drugs, Duterte threatened to leave the United Nations. Two days later, he declared that it was a joke – after Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr said the statement was made out of extreme disappointment and frustration.
The "seriously, but not literally" line of Andanar is not too original, it turns out. – Rappler.com
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