Hyperventilating over a doomsday scenario
Media of course has its handy excuse for doing cartwheels to cover the minutest detail of how the militants and the government are preparing for the showdown: the public needs to know (apparently the public is that perverse, we want advance information on how they intend to clobber each other in the streets). Clearly, ABS-CBN intends to devote full coverage of the expected May 1 mayhem and they have started justifying their intent in their latest sermon on the role of media featuring Maria Ressa, Chari Villa and Luchie Cruz, the gist of which can be summed up in six words: we are always correct, of course.
I can understand the preoccupation on how the latest Supreme Court ruling on CPR will play out on May 1. But analysis is one thing, prophesizing, nay, anticipating mayhem is another thing. Excitement is still another thing. Based on the treatment and spin being given to the various reportage, one gets the impression that media is not merely interested in how proponents of a particular position see how things will turn out; but more on how bloody it can or will get. Note how the reportage has been focused on doomsday scenarios. Media is skating on very very thin ice on this one and I hope that some semblance of social responsibility (other than just reporting things as they happen as the three ladies of ABS-CBN wants us to believe) seeps in soon.
I understand media's role as chronicler of events. But I don't get the "passive unbiased witness stance." Who are we kidding?
Let's remind ourselves of one tragic incident in the eighties that continues to baffle me to this day. The incident happened one Sunday afternoon at Luneta during a rally of the Marcos loyalists. One Coryista (unfortunately I have forgotten his name) was pursued by the mob of Marcos loyalists and beaten to death while media covered the lynching, down to his last breath. Too many TV cameras and mediamen supposedly doing their social responsibility, and no one raised a finger to help the dying guy. No one, not a single one, remembered that they were citizens too watching another Filipino die a violent senseless death. They were just there as media.
I am not asking that media do not report on what is happening or that it gives a positive spin to events. I just wish that media tempers its excitement - because quite frankly, an event where and when Filipinos hurt each other can never be a cause for celebration. I just want to see an attempt to balance the doomsday scenario reportage with, for example, appeals for sobriety from some cooler heads, or features on possible consensus points, or just plain tempering of their frenzied hyperventilating.
Or perhaps this is what passes off for news reportage nowadays?