Shoot the messenger!

Watching the news on TV and reading the newspapers used to be enlightening experiences. I remember up until about two years ago, I would always make it a point to watch the news before going to bed at night (of course, it was a practical thing to do then because the news was always on at 10pm; unlike today when the late night newscast is on at the ungodly hour of 12:30 am or sometimes 1:00 am, depending on how heavy the commercial load of the TV station is). I still read the newspaper at breakfast, although quite frankly, I think my newspaper is one of the reason why I have hyperacidity.

Today, reading the newspaper and watching the news on TV are almost always unpleasant experiences. It is not just because the news is often bad, or gross, or both; but because more often than not, the treatment and reportage borders on sensationalizing, editorializing, and the titillating. I am sure the media people are ready with their standard defense: do not shoot the messenger. In other words, they do not make the news, they just report it. What nonsense! Anyone who actually believes that deserves to be stuck in warp where the television set features no one else but Cristy Fermin.

The media actually creates a spin on everything that happens and packages the news according to the dictates of their bosses, their sponsors, their political beliefs, or simply, their mood for the day. This explains why ABS-CBN is always critical of the government, PTV4 is always all praises to the government, and why GMA7 (fighting to keep the lead) tends to please everyone - and I do mean everyone.


What got me thinking about this is the fact that today, newspapers can not agree on why Ramos, Drilon and Sotto had a clandestine meeting a few days ago. According to the Inquirer, an alliance is shaping up among the past three presidents (Ramos, Aquino and Estrada) to topple down the current President. Hohummm... this is the problem in this country, past presidents do not fade away, they want to become presidents for life (and this is sadly true for all Filipino organizations including professional organizations). The Manila Standard Today says Ramos is not going to take up any of Estrada's causes (and I believe this is the logical thing to do - many people may be against GMA, but many more are anti-Erap). The other newspapers simply gave the story the usual cursory item - and stayed away from speculating. Of course, the Inquirer always speculates.

But one thing did get my attention. Practically all newspapers reported that Ramos has an axe to grind against GMA because she did not speak out against the no-elections proposal before January 1.

I think this is truly the root of the problem in Philippine politics: whenever someone takes on a different opinion or point of view, we automatically look at that person as an enemy. Why can't we all just agree to disagree? What is with this giant sense of amor propio that compels people to break away or lambast those that disagree with them? This is very Darth Vader: if you are not on my side, you are not my friend.



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