5 Ways The Local Media Is Destroying The Philippines

“When will you ever stop attacking the media?”

“What did the local media ever do to you?”

“Don’t be such a killjoy!”

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“You’re just jealous and bitter!”

“Why can’t you just let people be happy?”

I’m pretty sure that a lot of you will be saying these exact same words after you finish reading this article. Of course, I’m well aware that I have a good number of detractors out there and I can already feel them fuming at me as I write this. Look ladies and gentlemen, if you think I’m going to stop just because you keep crying and screaming like a bunch of spoiled brats who didn’t get what they want for Christmas, you are seriously deluded.


Now, before I go on, let me make it clear that this isn’t really about ruining anybody’s fun. Indeed, I also believe that everyone has a right to their own happiness, granted that they aren’t infringing on anybody else’s happiness. You see, while there’s nothing wrong with having fun, having fun while hurting someone or allowing someone to be hurt is never a good thing. I will go out of my way to say that cruelty and apathy are never fun and that they are the two true ingredients of evil just as harmony and discipline are the two core components of good.

Also, I know some of you will call me out again on my preference for anime and videogames. To be honest, yes, I know some of them aren’t really a good influence on children either. But you have to remember that anime and videogames have evolved over the years and, as a matter of fact, continue to evolve to this day, producing different genres and niches for their consumers while providing new insights to those who choose to enjoy them. Unfortunately, for the last two decades, Pinoy shows have changed very little and, if they actually have, most of it is definitely not for the better.

So, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to be butthurt again?

They Distract Us From REAL Issues

This is the biggest offender so I’m putting it forth first.

See, the problem occurs when a lot of us care more about local celebrities and their private lives rather than more important issues. For instance, any of you remember Daisy? Okay, I remember when people wept and threw all kinds of tantrums when word got out that Vhong Navarro got beat up because of an old flame. Granted, I’ve been beaten up before and I also believe that Mr. Navarro deserves both justice and compensation for what happened to him. However, where was everyone when a poor little girl was tortured to death in a snuff video that was sold to a global audience. In the end, was it because poor Daisy was just some street child? So was poor Daisy not worth the attention of the Filipino people because she was just a “nobody”?

Of course, again, I have to remind myself who I’m addressing here. Screw the islands of the West Philippine Sea and give them to the Chinese as long as you have AlDub, eh? Screw the Lumads and the rest of Mindanao and let the rebels maim, kill and burn it all as long as you can hear Vice Ganda’s cruel jokes, right? Screw poor little girls like Daisy and let them be brutally raped, tortured and their limbs get hacked off as long as you can watch Manny Pacquiao’s next fight, am I correct?

They Paint Everything In Black And White

The whole argument about Aquino vs. Marcos can be traced back to the typical Pinoy’s “black and white insanity”. This is when one assumes that one side is either all good or all bad without considering both the merits and demerits of a given person or faction.

Granted, this is good for programs made for children like children’s cartoons and educational shows. However, I can’t help but notice that nearly all local shows are almost always heavily polarized. They depict the protagonist as almost always good and incorruptible while at the same time showing that the antagonist is always cruel and evil. They never make the characters question their own motives and actions nor do they encourage audiences to think for themselves.

This results in a society that is largely blind to the idea of “grayness”. Of course, no one is really perfect and that there are always people who are more evil than others but sometimes, it would be a good idea to question one’s own decisions from time to time. Being flawed and often broken human beings, much of what we do may sometimes have unforeseen consequences. I think that there are times we need to think if we are seriously hurting others with what we do and, even if we’re doing it deliberately, do they really deserve what we’re doing to them.

They Make Us Dumb

One thing I will say is that big names in anime are often well-researched unlike a lot of our local shows which are all too often shallow and loaded with “unfortunate implications” which I will elaborate on later. Take the kind of depth found in the comic and anime Silver Spoon which was created by Hiromu Arakawa who has earned a name for herself by being the creator of the internationally acclaimed Fullmetal Alchemist. Being born to a family of farmers, Ms. Arakawa goes to great length to realistically detail the lives, joys and challenges of farming in Japan while squeezing quite a bit of humor and adventure to go with it.

Now, let’s take a look at our local shows which offer very little aside from the “kilig” of romance and “gigil” of revenge. As a personal detail, I can tell you all that I have a background in nursing and, when I saw a show that claimed to be a “medical-themed” program, I was so disappointed I wanted to vomit at the time. When I first saw the trailers, I thought that Pinoy TV was finally getting somewhere but, when I finally got to see the thing, it was clearly a ripoff of foreign medical soap operas and it was apparent that few in the cast and crew understood medical terms and procedures. In the end, it was just about another love triangle with the only deviation was that it took place in a hospital setting.

They Make You Think Being A Victim Makes You A Saint

Look, I know we’ve all been victims somewhere in our lives. However, I need to stress that we can never be winners until we stand on our own two feet and overcome the challenges that stand in our way. No, there’s nothing wrong with being a victim unless you plan on being a victim forever.

Indeed, the common teleserye in the Philippines encourages one to be weak and passive instead of going after one’s own passions and dreams. They seem to insinuate that all you really need to do in life is sit back and look pretty and everything will be done for you. There are relatively few shows where I see that the hero is a self-made man or woman. They rely all too much on what’s called a deus ex-machina which is a plot point that can either be a thing, person or even an idea that solves everything for the protagonist.

Instead of encouraging viewers to take a stand against bullying or the unfairness of our society, our media instead seems to insist that a hero will always come out of nowhere to save the day and all we really have to do is sit back and watch everything burn instead of taking action for the greater good.

They Are Loaded With Unfortunate Implications

When people with mental illnesses are shown on local TV, they are always made out to look like dangerous people who are evil or are possessed by the devil. In real life, people with mental illnesses are all too often people who just need help. Also, few mental illnesses are permanent and can usually be cured through therapy both psychological and chemical. Unfortunately, from what I often see on local TV, mentally ill folks are evil people and should be avoided as they are either beyond help or their conditions are a punishment of God upon them.

Another thing I notice is how we just love stereotypes and how local TV seems to encourage this flawed mindset. Note for instance how gay people are often depicted as flamboyant and obnoxious people who want to wear the clothing of the opposite sex even though there are some who are comfortable with their identity and just differ from the norm with their sexual preference. Worst of all though is how we often equate dark skin with ugliness and, in many of our shows, the heroine starts out as an “ugly” child with dark skin but becomes beautiful through miraculous or questionably scientific methods which is signified by the lightening of their skin.

[Photo courtesy PhilStar.]

33 Replies to “5 Ways The Local Media Is Destroying The Philippines”

  1. Mr. Grimwald,
    Yes I do get a little sick and tired of you and how you write your articles about the PH newspapers and other PH media. But not for the reasons you mentioned.
    I like to think what tasks and duties it is of newspapers. Newspapers should inform me about whats happening in my own country and about global news. They should do that in an unbiased way.
    Now if for any god damned reason I will start to disbelieve and distrust what my newspaper is writing about, I will stop reading that newspaper and start searching for better (sources) newspapers (be it online or offline).

    For me its very simple. PH newspapers have a “hiddden” agenda. They will write and publish what they like (in a same fashion you do here. With only that difference that I am not saying you are not telling the truth or maybe even twist/bend the truth a bit).

    All I am saying is this: If I doubt my newspaper or all newspapers, I have to find sources that I think are credible. Now pls inform your readers in that fashion or start your own trustworthy newspaper in the Philippines. The minute a newspaper will lose its readers, it will go bankrupt. Do I need to say more?

    For those who do believe everything what newspapers write and publish: peachy and swell. There is no law against stupidity.

  2. Whatever you see on tv et al are simply the reflection of the greater population. That’s what they want so they get it. If you look at it from afar it looks like a snake swallowing its own tail.

    1. oops correction please… it’s not what the greater population desire…nope that’s so wrong… it’s what the media hegemony of 2 competing networks pushes to the greater public to compete for profits.. and what the business industry feeds.. which should be regulated by the gov’t that is run by money hungry politicians.. who suffers the most?.. the youth, which is the promise of the land according to my teachers in elem… open their eyes to this world.. such a pity.. all because a few people want to enrich themselves.

      so please .. a snake swallowing is own tail??… pls look further beyond joey… nakakalungkot na nga… I’m feeling you don’t live here in the Philippines for you to say that.

      1. oh please. tell that to the birds. take a look at the movies tv programs and the rest of the crap that’s spilling out into the very offices we’re working on and tell me the networks aren’t simply conforming or giving in to the DEMANDS of the audience. so if you can tell me who’s to take the accountability between the abysmal taste of the audience or the networks giving in to these demands is the day i won’t use the snake eating its tail analogy.

      2. Here, try to get out of that ‘audience is the victim’ bullshit you seem to advocate and see a more detailed analysis of the problem here where I took this quote:

        From that perspective, it is clear that Filipinos have not earned the right to exercise full freedom in both the production and consumption of media. The results of the foolish thinking that Filipinos are entitled to that right are evident today — in the utter intellectual bankruptcy, scarcity of originality, and dearth of imagination that characterises the Philippines’ cultural landscape.

  3. Mr. Grimwald,
    as you know I live in one of the world’s richest countries. But pls dont think my country has only highly intelligent people. My country also habors stupid, low-educated, naive, ignorant people. But do I care about them? No, I dont. If I do care about them, it will cost me 24/7 to re-educate them. Sorry, but I have far more important things to do. In every rich country, you will always have “losers” (the unlucky ones, the poor ones, the un-educated ones, the naive ones, the ignorant ones, the un-privileged ones). Accept it and pls focus yourself on those who are strong(er) and better informed.

    No matter where we live, we always can distribute a country in the famous 4 categories:
    a) elite
    b) upper class
    c) middle class
    d) lower class.

    That distribution will never go away, no matter where you (and I) live.

    1. Robert, is there something in your country that doesn’t apply to all, like laws and government services? And say, your country being rich, what is your major complaint against your people and your government (if there’s any)?

      1. @Sick_Amore,
        All laws apply to everyone and everybody. No ifs, no buts. And believe me they are upheld in my county more than I wished for. Almost everywhere I go, there are CCTV cameras. So there goes my privacy. My car is monitored almost every kilometre that I drive on any given highway/freeway/turnpike.

        My major complaint against my fellow countryman is stupidity, naivity and ignorance and those who still think and believe that god creates humans and god decides about life and death.

        Real life event:
        A family comes to a doctor in a hospital. The doctor knows one member of the family only has to live for not more than 6 months (give or take a few months). Now this family comes from muslim/islam origin. So the brightest of the bunch, approaches the doctor and ask him if she can have a private word with the doctor. To cut this story short: A dutch doctor is not allowed to tell his/her muslim/islam patient he/she is about to die within x-months. Why? Only allah decides about that, so they still think. It always makes me laugh and cringe. So the doctor cannot speak the verdict straight in the face of the muslim man/woman. It must be conveyed by a relative of the patient.

        (I hope that Mr. Grimwald – being a god-fearing nurse) – dont support the muslim way of how to bring a bad-news conversation to a patient).

        Everybody has to wait equally long for his/her new passport (about 5 days or so) and the price to renew is the same for everybody.

        But like in most other countries, it will benefit me to whom I am connected and if I can afford a high end lawyer.

        My government is very much into rules and regulations. I consider most or all laws very good for everybody. You dont have to abide to them all. If you dont like to have an abortion then dont use that freedom. Its a choice you have. And the law will protect you even when you not choose to have an abortion. Your individual human rights are protected by the law and the government. And your next door neighbour wont kill you for it. Not bec your neighbour will go to jail over killing you, but bec he/she doesnt care/mind what you choose.

        But when I fart, I have to pay a penalty/fine (not literally of course but that is how some rules feel). Next thing what might be considered to become a law is to ban smoking in one’s own car or even one’s own home/house.

        I dont really complain about what other people do (bec basically I dont care what they do). But they could have lived a much better life, if only they ….
        Worrying and complaining about it, wont change a thing and it costs me negative energy.

        1. All laws apply to everyone and everybody. No ifs, no buts. And believe me they are upheld in my county more than I wished for…

          My government is very much into rules and regulations. I consider most or all laws very good for everybody.

          Sad to say, Robert, your country is the exact opposite of ours. Most of our laws are also good for every body the problem is there’s no strict enforcement and the people as you know also know lack the discipline and our justices procrastinate in bringing justice to a crime where wealthy and high officials are concerned. Even poor people got away with a crime if they are able to give a bribe.

          My major complaint against my fellow countryman is stupidity, naivity and ignorance

          Like marius said, the problem lies in the proportion. Yours must have carried the 10%, ours is the 70-80%.

        2. Sick_Amore,
          I am afraid that group (80%) will only grow and become bigger (I hope I will be wrong).
          And the government and media loves it.

          That is why people like Grimwald should focus on those 10-20% in such a way that they wont relegate to that other group (80%).

          Pls stop putting your hopes on the government and the media. They know their target group.
          Or start your own media outlet and do things better. Go into politics and stop all the “evil” from within. But sitting here on a fence and preach wont help a thing. Your country needs change. And change wont come from writing. It will only come from taking action (non-violently).

          And mind you, going to school (starting from Kindergarten) in my country is not for free. Getting contraceptives is not for free in my country. Getting a treatment in a hospital is NOT for free (no matter how rich, no matter how poor). Doctors and nurses dont come work for free. They also graduated and put a lot of knowledge, effort and time in their job/work. The only thing that is free is the air that you breathe.

        3. Sick_Amore,
          “Sad to say, Sick_Amore, your country is the exact opposite of mine.

          I am striving for perfection. All I hear people from your country saying, is: “I am not perfect, I do have my flaws. Accept me for who I am.”

          Pls explore and go to the core. Reduce it to the smallest piece.

        4. I am afraid that group (80%) will only grow and become bigger (I hope I will be wrong).
          And the government and media loves it.

          That is why people like Grimwald should focus on those 10-20% in such a way that they wont relegate to that other group (80%).

          That made sense, Robert. I think it’s for that reason why Ateneo’s brand of activism at the latest gets criticized by the writers and commenters here. The university’s faculty and their students are supposed to be part of the movers and shakers of our society and yet they are acting like mere victims of the lost era with their anti-Marcos activism.

          I’ve nothing against Grimwald so I can’t share your opinion of him. I can see he’s taking time to write, to share the truth and unmasked the propaganda that the vast majority would readily believe, in a way challenging the readers to be more critical, analytical and have a better option, is doing a public service in a way he knows. It’s up on us readers what we take out of his article but to tell him what to write is as good as putting words to his mouth.

        5. Amore,
          Pls let me try to make things more clear.

          – This is not Mr. Grimwalds first article about the same topic;
          – The PH media are only interested to sell those programs bec of the ads revenues. Those ads/commercials will only sell when a program has many viewers; This works in the exact same way in my country.
          – A TV program will be stopped airing when the number of viewers decline; hence the power lies with the viewers.
          – I personally cant take it to watch mindless programs all day; can take it for maybe an hour but thats it (maybe when I am really bored).
          – those who are low-educated dont understand the more complex TV programs (in my country) so those programs only attract the “happy few”.

          In short: start your own media outlet (like Murdoch) or try to get the viewers away from watching certain programs (or turn off your TV completely) or just accept it. My choice? The latter.

          “… in a way challenging the readers to be more critical, analytical and have a better option,…”
          “Truth be told” , I never read one article written by Mr. Grimwald where he critizes his own religious belief system. Probably either bec he cant (he doesnt know where and how to begin) or bec he is afraid to lose readers/visitors (You see the analogy?).
          BTW: I never read one article about religion (RC) where it has been criticized. Correction: where the followers/herd has been criticized for following blindly. So probably that is also a taboo (losing viewers/visitors/commenters?).

          What Grimwald is doing, is wasting his time. Who does he reach? Those 80%? I dont think so.

    2. Robert, the problem is that a country can carry 10% of stupid, low-educated, naive, ignorant people. When the proportion reaches 70-80%, that country is in big trouble. Somehow, you have to stop that 70-80% causing more damage while the other 20-30% attempt to rebuilt the country. That’s quite a challenge.

      1. Marius,
        To solve it (wow that is a big word) we have to know the origin/cause of that naivity, stupidty. Is it religion? I mean why do poor people have the biggest number of kids (in general)? Oh and pls spare me your babbla talk that they are not able to buy contraceptives (or get it for free even) or that they werent able to go to school. Why couldnt they go to school? Everything has a cause. Reduce it to the core, melt it down to the smallest piece. When I stick my penis in a vagina, I know it can lead to a pregnancy. What more do I need to know?

        If and when I am born into a poor big family, I will blame both my mom and dad of doing irresponsble deeds. So, I will NOT respect them. But in your country, that is a big taboo.

        Maybe you have to start teaching people to stop effing. Media and government is of later concern. Go to the core.

        Now just suppose you and I live in the same street. And I see you fare far better than I do. Wouldnt you think, I will start to copy your every move, your behavior? Bec I want the same as you have (a better, a more comfortable life). Not out of jealousy or envy but just bec I see myself fighting to keep my family and myself just above water.

      2. Now, why will all my proposals not work in the Philippines?
        Because we (the Filipino) live in a collectivistic society and in a dysfunctional overwhelming religious culture.

        I cant copy all your moves bec that means I have to first kill all of my 5 kids. Bec in the past, I made wrong decisions which cant be undone anymore.

        Oh you want to dedicate all your life to help the needy? Peachy and swell. Good luck but it wont work.

        I am not intelligent enough to solve that big number (80%) or even give suggestions. I would make well damned sure that I myself wont become a member of that 80%. That would be my mission statement in life. Selfish? Maybe. I rather stay on this side of the fence and I fought hard for it.

  4. Okay.. Grimwald being vigilant and at the same time having time off with anime and video games

    versus. Me being vigilant and at the same time having time off watching aldub

    i do not see any difference.. except now i know that you think of yourself very much superior than others

      1. just how do you know i am missing the article’s point?

        i do not need to argue on the article. but maybe he can consistently use the tainted ones (kris, vice, pacman, etc).. i think it is just not right to belittle others based on their own interests.. so where did you get your name?

        even (insert any) haters can write a nice article

        i visit GRP because it often gives the non-mainstream point of views i can use and even educate my friends.

        ..and just discovered a grimwald fanboy

  5. Another problem is that in most countries what’s on TV imitates life.

    Here, life imitates what is on TV. So the influence is even greater.

    It’s like, to see is to believe and since I have a TV, I believe everything.

    No wonder a whole generation of Filipinos have become uneducated idiots.

    Thank media!

    1. You are blaming the messenger (TV, radio, newspapers). You should blame and accuse the people who are copying. Again go to the core and ask them why they copy what they see. They do the same – BTW – ith the bible/church. I never hear you blame the bible (the RC church). So in your intelligent mind, the media is to blame and let go of the church. Thats what we call – n my country – hypocritical.

      1. What you say is like telling a 5 year old not to believe in Santa Claus. It’s just not possible.

        And yes, I am blaming the messenger, because I witnessed what the Philippine TV programs were like 30 years ago.

        You do not.

        P.S.: We are not talking about religion here and I blame the church for their shit all the time, as I am an atheist. Religion is a different pair of shoes.

        1. Jim,
          The church, media and government are all the same. They are here to get you (opium for the people). You can try to take away the opium (church, media, government) but that wont work. So that leaves only 1 (one) variable in this equation. For me, we are talking about the same (but old) shoes. The people are indoctrinated and brain-washed by all three. Those 3 need each other and that is why there will never be a real seperation of state and church in PH.

          But hey, its your country.

  6. Media is more powerful the the church, the president, the education system and the parents who should be guiding the youth.

    Time spent talking heart-heart with your father pales in comparison with time poured on TV viewing.

    Media is free dope – numbing viewers’ brains, rendering them useless citizens for nation building.

    Whoever controls media controls the populace. In conclusion, the most powerful institution in PH is GMA7/Inquirer. The editor will decide who wins this coming elections.

  7. LOL, why do you think this is different in other countries. hell in America we have everything from the Paris hilton show to the Simpsons to the learning channel. Question for you which show did I just mention that set records for television watching in America? It is the same everywhere. The job of media is to make money, because after all it is an very big business.

    1. The difference is that poor people do not have access to better shows, because they are all on cable TV. So many can not choose what to watch. They can only switch the bobo-box off.

  8. Youre so right getrealphilippines. Hope future leaders would pay attention to this underlying, disregarded, progress impending root cause in this country.

  9. The Local Media is being used by self serving politicians, like Aquino and Mar Roxas, to dumb Filipinos voters. So that , everyone will become YellowTard. And, they will always win elections, and be in power.

    Can you see, even a whore, like Kris Aquino, the sister of Aquino, can become a role model of the young people. Nonsense people, like Boy Abundia, can become the “wisdom of the ages” people, in the media. Dumb Teleseryas, are the foremost favorites of Filipinos.

    No wonder, we are the basket case country of Asia…

  10. I noticed, a lot of comments here in GRP keep saying “you’re missing the point”. So,
    can you guys maybe put a two-liner at the bottom of every article? (just a suggestion)

    And about the article, I agree. TV is free dope indeed. Can’t stop my mom from watching those addictive soaps and Vice Ganda. 🙁

  11. Oligarch/elitist-controlled media monopolizes the country by dumbing down the minds of the Failipino masses, with mind-numbing programs that make them “starstruck” for the aristocratic life.

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