If indeed Faleomavaega made these statements to a talanei.com correspondent, then by all means it is a pity the correspondent did not ask him about his miraculous full recovery from his unidentified illness, since the public is increasingly asking questions about his lengthy, apparent disappearance from public view. But if these stories are based merely on press handouts, the photos are file photos and none of it was identified as such then Radio KHJ-FM/talanei.com would be guilty of perpetuating the fraud that all is well and normal with Faleomavaega and it is business as usual.
Whether Samoa News also will continue to carry on with this seeming charade remains to be seen, but at least they had the integrity to run a story based on our questions saying they had the same questions. KHJ-FM, on the other hand, has continued to ignore these questions. It is most surprising considering the station's news director is a well-respected, professional journalist who served a number of years ago in the prestigious position of president of the Pacific Islands News Association. PINA most definitely would frown on any publication carrying on a practice that is as deceptive as using fake quotes and unrelated photos. It is just bad journalism and we would think the news director would not want questions raised about journalistic integrity that has been hard earned over a lengthy career.
We repeat what we have said before: all news outlets should refrain from publishing any stories that are no more than press handouts from the delegate's office that suggest business as usual until that office answers to the media's and the public's satisfaction the status of Faleomavaega's health:
- What felled him here in November? Was it food poisoning, as some reported?
- Was it a stroke, as some--including us--have speculated?
- Did he nearly die at Tripler, as has been suggested?
- Where was he taken from Tripler and when?
- What kind of rehabilitation is he undergoing?
- When is he expected to return to full duty?