Go figure. Certain media outlets like Rappler.com, and its cadre of “online journalists”, for example, seem to have first crack at “reporting” stories about administration “achievements”. The biggest media conglomerate in the country, biggest broadsheet and online news site, and the most popular mass entertainers all seem to exhibit a palpable bias towards the Yellow ideology of the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan in the way they deliver their content and “craft”. Even erstwhile respected foreign publications like BusinessWeek now seem to be part of this propaganda infrastructure.
Not surprisingly, the way media and information dissemination is organised commercially and bureaucratically in the Philippines seems to now closely parallel that of the National Socialist (Nazi) regime of German dictator Adolf Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s. This uncanny parallel can be best appreciated by checking out the following excerpt from the book Age of Propaganda (Pratkanis and Aronson, W.H. Freeman & Co. 2001)…
Having learned from the Allied efforts in World War I the value of an organization capable of coordinating and delivering effective propaganda, Hitler established an apparatus of his own. This orgaization was privy to all the dealings of the Reich and had the responsibility of selling the government’s actions to the masses. To head up this organization, Hitler selected as his Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, the son of a lower-middle-class Catholic family from a small town in the Rhineland. Goebbels served as minister of propaganda from the time the Nazis came to power in 1933 until he committed suicide (after first poisoning his six children) near the end of the war. To get a flavor of what Nazi propaganda was really like, let’s look at a few of the persuasion tactics used.
One of the first, and most important, tasks of the Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda was to gain control of the mass media and to attract the attention of the masses. In the United States, Hitler and Goebbels hired public relations firms in an attempt to secure favorable press coverage of the regime. In Germany, Nazis controlled journalists and filmmakers through a mixture of punishments and rewards […]. The Nazi regime made certain that it was the primary source of news and easily accessible to certain journalists. This treatment was extended to include foreign correspondents thus putting U.S. reporters in a quandary: Report news unfavorable to Nazi Germany (such as the treatment of Jews) and be expelled or sanitize the news and be able to continue reporting.
The Nazis gained the attention of the masses by making their propaganda entertaining. For example, Nazi posters used eye-catching graphics such as bold print and slashing, violent lines as well as attention-getting headlines. Radio news programs were often packaged as entertainment, featuring famous singers and celebrities. The 1936 Olympics, which were held in Berlin, were used as a vehicle to promote the image of a strong “Aryan” nation and to build the self-esteem of the German people. During the Olympic games, foreign correspondents were treated like royalty and given tours of the “successes” of the regime; as a result, many U.S. journalists filed stories stating that previous reports of attacks on Jews were either unfounded or greatly exaggerated. With such complete control of the press, radio, theater, cinema, music, and the arts, the essential themes of the Nazi party were repeated and repeated.
[Photo courtesy My Calbayog Diary.]
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Coming back to the Philippines, much of the traditional media complex of the country is already under the control of oligarchs who owe much to the Aquino-Cojuangco dynasty. Even long before the 2009-2010 presidential campaign of current president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III, the foundation for the awesome propaganda infrastructure of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan had already been lain. When the dust cleared in the aftermath of the 1986 “People Power” Edsa “Revolution”, the embryos of what are now two of the largest media outlets in the country — the monolithic ABS-CBN Network and the Aquino family newsletter, the Philippine Daily Inquirer — stood tall as “heroes” and went on to become the biggest beneficiaries of this “revolution”. Its owners continue laughing all the way to the bank — not a bad deal in exchange for the small utang-ng-loob (debt of gratitude) they owe to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan.
The only greenfield left for the propaganda machine of the Yellow Mob to take control of was social media. Interestingly enough, as the battle for the ouster of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona loomed in the horizon in late 2011 and early 2012, Rappler.com popped up out of nowhere pitching itself as a “social news network“, a concept that even Rappler “thought leaders” fail to convincingly define clearly to this day.
As expected, as soon as the site was plugged and humming, Rappler â€œonline journalistâ€ Marites Vitug fired one of the opening salvos on the Opposition when she trumped-up what was then the controversial issue of Coron’s being granted a doctorate degree by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in a â€œreportâ€ she published on the self-described â€œsocial news networkâ€ site. Vitug’s rather revealing overzealousness in what turned out, on closer scrutiny, to be sloppy investigative reporting on her part all but brought to light the question of who the financial backers of this new “social news network” could be — a piece of crucial information that, as far as we know, Rappler.com has so far been silent about.
The rest, as we know now, is history.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.