I find it rich the way members of the Philippines’ community of “journalism” professionals could be so precious about what is and what isn’t “journalism”. That is in considering that very few of them can be considered to be exemplars of journalism practice to begin with.
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Fascinating. So now, a visit by an avid supporter is defined as journalism. (The comments can really be so interesting. People, please note that i do not care about your political affiliations. This remark is about how we perceive the role of journos, and curiously, how people think they can and should do away with media. You can glean that from many of the comments here. So I do not care if you are pro or anti Digong. But if you presume to lecture me about journalism, be sure you know what you are talking about or you are likely to get nailed. Oh and people, please keep your comments respectable)
It seems mainstream Filipino journalists are still butthurt over being kicked out of Duterte’s office. Mocha Uson, on the other hand, who runs a successful blog focused on raunchy material, was one of Duterte’s social media promoters and, not surprisingly, the subject of much derision from so-called “civil society”, a social notion the old-guard of Liberal Party supporters and the broader community of “Yellows” (those who remain fixated on the old glory of mid-1980s “people power” sentiment) have, for so long, been exceedingly presumptuous enough to claim total monopoly over. The degree of Filipino journalists’ butthurtness seems to be directly proportionate to the size of the sense of entitlement and moral ascendancy they cultivated over the last 30 years.
Unfortunately for old-school “journalists” like Lingao, nowadays comprise a different age. Over the 30 years since Philippine media was “freed” from the so-called “dictatorship” of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos, news reporting in the Philippines has degenerated from being a dignified beacon of sober information dissemination to the entertainment abomination that it is today. Gone are the days when Harry Gasser would deliver a sober seven o’clock report over RPN Nine’s NewsWatch. Today, it is now difficult to tell public service content in Philippine media apart from noontime game and variety shows. Filipino news programs today are a sad style affront to news reporting all over the world. They are sense-assaulting spectacles of colours and sound effects; the equivalent of the jeepneys that are a blight to the sleek understated modern public transport provided in other countries.
Then again, who’s the one quibbling over what “proper journalism” is to begin with? The fact that Lingao would battle Uson for turf in the landscape of “journalism” betrays a deep insecurity over the relevance of his profession today. For starters, did Mocha Uson even profess to be engaging in “journalism” in inteviewing the President-Elect? If she didn’t, what’s Lingao getting his panties all twisted about?
Suffice to say, Philippine corporate media has pretty much lost its ascendancy to inform Filipinos about pertinent issues that affect their lives. The ethics surrounding the noble duty of uplifting the collective intellect of the nation quite simply is incompatible with the profits-driven corporate goals of many mainstream media outlets. Instead, mainstream media have, in the last several decades, distinguished themselves as a tool for the “abatement of the nation’s intelligence” thanks to its focus on mind-dulling Filipino entertainment products over less-profitable public service content.
As a result, corporate journalism has had to compete with entertainment programs for eyeballs. The result is an even bigger disaster. The line between public service content and bald entertainment in Philippine media has become tragically blurred with the need for obnoxious bells and whistles extending to the delivery format of broadcast journalism. Of this “entertainment”, Isagani Cruz writes in a seminal Inquirer article…
The indiscriminate audience eagerly laps them up because it has not been taught to be selective and more demanding of better quality shows for their pastime. In fact, the easily satisfied fans have been taught the exact opposite reaction — to accept whatever garbage the industry offers them and, to add insult to their injury, to pay for it too.
It is in this context that Duterte now thumbs his nose at Philippine corporate media and its pompous cadre of traditional “journalists”. He can do that because there are now lots of players who will step up to fill the void. Indeed, the new players in 21st Century information dissemination no longer derive credibility from credentials or employers but from reputation and street creds painstakingly built in the digital jungle where they thrive. Indeed, it is in this very jungle that mainstream “journalism” lost its creds. That’s a reality folk like Lingao need to deal with. In this jungle, there are no personalities — only ideas and information.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.