Mass entertainment in the Philippines should be controlled to prevent further dumbing down of Filipinos

No Filipino will disagree that one of the biggest problems the Philippines faces is the quality of thinking of its populace. This is specially critical in a democratic society where popularity is power and specifically in the Philippines where leaders are elected by popular vote.

What is interesting to note is that the institutions of family and education are often singled out as disproportionately responsible for the sorts of citizens produced by Philippine society. To be fair, it is hard to argue against this. People spend their formative years and acquire much of their values within the families they are raised in and within the schools where they spend most of their waking hours growing up. As such, most of the calls to uplift the quality of the country’s citizenry is directed at families and schools.

Consider though that any initiative to improve something should include getting rid of factors that contribute to degrading it. In the case of people, implementing strategies to make people smarter should include a clear plan to eliminate factors that contribute to dumbing them down. Clearly, the biggest factor in the Philippines that dumbs down Filipinos is the entertainment industry. Something needs to be done about this.

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The late Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz wrote back in 2006 how serious a threat to national development the Philippine entertainment industry poses in the course of reaping enormous profits from its mediocre products…

The Philippine entertainment industry is not only a vast wasteland, as television has been described in America, but a vicious instrument for the abatement of the nation’s intelligence. The shows it offers for the supposed recreation of the people are generally vulgar and smutty, usually with some little moral lesson inserted to make them look respectable, but offensive nonetheless. On the whole, they are obnoxious and unwholesome and deserve to be trashed.

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. The leaders of the entertainment industry are supposed to be responsible people but they have evaded their duty to elevate the taste of their mostly unthinking supporters. They have instead cheapened them into a mass of automated individuals whose ultimate joy is to roll up in the aisles at the lewd jokes of potential senators.

Indeed, it does not make sense to fill a pail with water if it has a big hole at its bottom out of which the precious fluid flows to waste. It also does not make sense going to the gym everyday if you feast on sweets, soda, and mounds of rice every meal time.

A scene typical of what is featured in most Philippine noontime television programs

In other words, Filipinos cannot progress if their minds are stunted by bad movies and bad television. Under this light, it is easy to see that there is cause to apply drastic regulation to the sort of content being pumped out by the Philippines’ big media networks. There is something wrong with a business model that allows easy exploitation of stupidity — a business model that the operators of the top entertainment channels of the Philippines employ with impunity. They are no different to Big Tobacco. Indeed, it took decades before society came to the realisation that smoking was not only uncool but downright deadly. How long will it take for society to come to the same realisation when it comes to the crooked mass entertainment they routinely subject themselves to?

One need look no further than the topics routinely reported in social media “trending topic” reports to see the effect of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Philippines’ entertainment industry.

Topics ‘trending’ on Filipino twitter feeds attest to the Philippines’ intellectual bankruptcy.

Indeed, many “thought leaders” look to “fact checking” as the silver bullet to combat the proliferation of “misinformation”. There is, however, strong evidence to show that there is a deeper root cause that needs to be addressed in order to uplift the nation’s thinking faculties. As long as people prefer to live in the fantasy world of batang yagit melodrama, canned laughter, and slapstick humour served to them by their entertainment networks, any amount of “factual” news reporting will neither change the way they think nor enable them to make more sound choices.

Filipinos need help — help in making the right choices and help in selecting what their minds consume. Mass entertainment is the opiate of the Filipino masses. It needs to be severely regulated in order for its ill effects to be mitigated. It is not surprising that media giants like ABS-CBN and the GMA Network often pander to the “cause” of “media freedom”. This is because media freedom is their license to continue feeding Filipinos crap. License is a privilege granted to licensees by authorities that are responsible for ensuring the best interests of the public are upheld in a free market. It’s time the Philippines’ authorities on mass media start doing their jobs.

28 Replies to “Mass entertainment in the Philippines should be controlled to prevent further dumbing down of Filipinos”

  1. “Don’t you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There’s one marked ‘Brightness,’ but it doesn’t work. ”


    I think if you look at the real mission statement of GMA and ABS CBN . It will be something like this:
    GMA ” We have to be more baduy than ABS/ CBN!”

    ABS/ CBN ” ” We have to be more baduy than GMA”.

    The problem is mass media is a reflection of the audience they want. Michael Jordan one said ” Republicans buy sneakers too.” The baduy are the market for the products on pinoy commercials. Hence baduy is the main ingredient in pinoy programming. I am not saying baduy does not exist elsewhere in the world but baduy makes the pinoy mass media world go round. There is no CSI – Manila because no one could write it and no one would tune in. Baduy is what pinoys aspire to. Not intelligence or dignity. It is evident in anything said / published in Tagalog. It is embedded in the language and the culture. That is why people believed the battle cry of a nil achieving senator that went ” walang corrupt , walang mahirap”. They forgot the last phrase of that slogan “…walang batas”. Sorry intelligence is not valued in this culture.

    1. I guess that answers the centuries old question…

      Who Is the Man of Lawlessness? (2 Thessalonians 2)

      As for measures to “control” the downward spiral into the abyss of intellectual bankruptcy, there should be some kind of “stupidity tax” slapped on entertainment media resembling “sin tax” for alcohol and tobacco.

      If only this article came out back in Noynoy’s senate years, he could have simply cited it to have at least one bill to his name by now.

      His clean-slate legacy in Congress will always be remembered. Let’s add one more face to P500!

  2. Most of the mass entertainment shows in our country are : song and dance ; and gift and money winning shows that cater to the “beggar mindsets” of Filipinos. …This was the reason, some years ago, there was a “near riot”, in the lines of “would be contestants” in a ” giling giling Show”…there were casualties , because people wanted to get ahead, to be in the show and become contestants and to win prize money…

    Our Soap Operas, in the TV , are senseless and idiotic dramas/melodrama…. They are written by “brainless writers”, who cannot even had a clue of what a story is all about.

    In industrialized and advanced countries; there are : TV narrative shows of : historical events; scientific achievements; technological advancements; historical people achievements; etc…all these shows are informative and can help the audiences improve their knowledge…they are all available in many TV channels…

    There are shows for children; for young adults; for the middle age and for senior citizens.

    What I do is use the “You Tube” in my computer…and try to search what subjects I want to learn….they are all there…from medicine to psychology to physics to chemistry to rocket science to sociology…etc…If you are interested in music…all kinds of music are there….politics and political science subjects are also there…in “how to do things subjects…they are there…

    It is now the Age of Information Technology…Use your computer and the Search Engines of the Information Technology tools, to gain knowledge….Those idiotic shows in the TV, will only “hostage your mind”, and you will remain dumb and dumber… I call them :”The Yellowtard era shows”; but they call them: the shows are for the “bakya crowd”…but, if you want to remain in the “bakya crowd mindset”…it is your own damn fault , use what the Information highways can now offer !

  3. The 80’s & 90’s era was way better than today’s Philippine TV at that time we’d seen primetime shows from the US like Knight Rider, The A Team, Mcgyver, The X Files, Baywatch, etc. & Most of Pinoy shows at that time showing many slapstick comedies like John & Marsha, Buddy & Sol, TODAS, Iskul Bukol, etc. I’d missed those days but now take a look at what we’ve seen on ABias-CBN & Kanguso Network it’s full of Koreanovelaa, soap operas, Tagalized Hollywood movies & don’t forget that they also reporting some nonsense news reports on drugs & criminality in our country that looks bad to our country’s image!

    I wish that Philippine media of today should be heavily controlled by our gov’t & have a public-private partnership on our country’s media industry in order to have a huge industry revamps like showing more educational shows, creating an ethical primetime series & limiting nonsense & whimsical stunts & publicity on Philippine local shows & this is what it is done today in the city state of Singapore since the time of Lee Kuan Yew.

    1. It only works because Singapore is small and LKY (God bless his soul) does not need to kowtow to Uncle Sam’s idea of “democracy”

  4. Mass Media IS controlled in the Philippines. No foreign corporation is allowed anywhere near it. That’s not to say that foreigners necessarily produce better content – TV entertainment worldwide is pretty dire – but what’s currently being shown in the Philippines is far worse than the global average.

    The reason for this is very simple: the dumbing-down of the masses is a tried-and-tested tool for retaining power. The stream of mind-stunting programming is 100% deliberate. It complements the mind-stunting drivel that kids are exposed to in school.

    1. Who cares about “free” TV when we have cable and streaming???

      Instead of chasing eyeballs in the shrinking bandwidth afforded by non-subscription programming, why don’t our media giants angle for the much wider market afforded by Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ & Apple TV to name a few…

      Not only does it allow for better and less cliched narratives, it will definitely sell the Philippines, its sights and talent to the world much better than any expensive tourism campaign

      1. Peter: all that would be good … if people were inclined to watch it. But I suspect the dumbing-down campaign has already done its work. Unless the trash were removed entirely, I just can’t see Pinoys voluntarily tuning in to the Discovery Channel, or enjoying more highbrow plotlines (which they probably wouldn’t even be able to follow).

        As you’re probably aware, radio spectrum is licensed to each individual licensee by an Act, which by definition means that the licensee meets with the approval of government (and presumably has to continue to meet with their approval in order to hold onto their bandwidth). The only possible conclusion is that the government desires dumbass programming. While it’s technically possible for people to work around that limitation via the internet, I wonder how many people are actually prepared to pay for the privilege? Presumably, it’s those who are most in need of edification who don’t have the money (or the inclination) to do so.

    1. @wanderer:

      Television can be used for learning…there are TV Networks that feature : world history, sciences, technology, civilization advances, advances in medicine, technological advances, etc…

      The Philippines should avail of Satellite TV Networks, with various TV Programming channels. The Satellite TV Network ca be accessed , anywhere in the world…even the remotest part, of the world…The government should subsidize this TV Network; so that it will be available to ordinary Filipinos.

      Anybody can use his Computer in Tandem with this Satellite TV Network, to get good and important information….you can even earn your college degree in foreign countries, thru the “on line computer college courses”…

      Maybe , an intelligent Filipino guy from the remotest barrio can earn a degree in one of the Ivy League universities in America !

  5. HAHAHAAHA this is rich benign0 especially since your blog is also devoid of quality thinking!
    You run your mouth with no evidence.

    Maybe we should also REGULATE your blog since it is filled with FAKE NEWS!

      1. LOL! What about concepts like the free and open market ? Where people can decide what they want? You know like the one you so espouse ?

        There were calls to properly FACT check , monitor and regulate information/news on Facebook which is a bigger threat to society. Yet you were all against it. Because your so called “blog” doesn’t adhere to journalistic integrity.

        Who is going to “heavily regulate” the entertainment industry? You? The Catholic church? What defines which is “intellectual”?

        Admit it you are just a raging HYPOCRITE who is inconsistent!

        1. Benigno,

          Journalist or not or say you are just a social media blogger but it is not really the point, but how you are trying to persuasively influence the minds of your readers by your blog that is the real deal which is suspicious, just like how you accused the mass media of dumbing down the Filipinos. You are no different and no better than them. While they have their own agenda, your agenda is to be a fault finder of the liberal party like the Aquinos, Robredos and their allies. I don’t think your blogging is just a hobby for you since you always write and post every week in this website since 2009 and always updating facebook page of GRP. Since you are a fault finder of the Aquinos and liberal party and a redeemer of the image of Marcoses and Arroyos, I surmise you are a paid hack of Arroyo since Getreal was established in 2009. You are also dumbing Filipinos down because you are promoting hate culture. Since 2009 you never criticized Arroyo, even though her administration had no substantial achievements to speak with. You only cherry pick to fight to death against the Aquinos while redeeming the image of Marcoses as the saviours and not the Aquinos.

          Indeed, you are under the payroll of Arroyo that is why you write to have the attention of your audience to convince them that Aquinos and liberal party are evil and Arroyos and Marcoses are saviours to the Filipinos and that includes Duterte now.

          I don’t understand why you even care writing always about Filipinos when you don’t really like their culture, food, hobbies, attitudes, etc. Isn’t that stupidity? Normally, if a person doesn’t like something they will avoid it and just stick to just something they like that is worth their time. But you are opposite. If you are not mentally deranged then you are definitely a paid hack! If you are a normal person, then just leave Filipinos alone. Leave us alone and just stick your noses to the culture of other nationalities where it suits your taste! Filipinos don’t need your opinions. Get real. We can deal on our own problems without your ideas and opinions. Your opinions on your blogs are not even very much specific. Solutions need concrete and specific details to solve major problems which most of your articles here are lacking. If you haven’t realized that then I am convinced you are not normal.

      1. This blog was flagged in the list of FAKE news sites by the Catholic church.

        benign0 is just a paid marcos hack trying to revise history for gullible millennials.

        1. The world’s first FAKE NEWS is on the Holy Bible. No doubt about it, so those Catholic priests love to spread Fake News thru reading on Holy Bible and fooled to their people for many centuries.

        2. No doubt about it, to be believable and credible, Mrericx should be man enough to answer the question why?!

          Obviously, the Holy Bible is not the Catholic Church, the Book is not exactly the Organization and it doesn’t take a great load of genius to know this fact which escapes the mind of Mrericx like a sleeping shrimp carried away by the current.

          Another obvious thing is that Mrericx cannot justify his claim why he said that the Holy Bible is fake news because he will not be able to pinpoint from it exactly, even with just one verse or passage, what he deemed to be considered fake. How can someone who obviously has never read the Book even declares what is fake news? He simply does not posses the intelligence to do such.

          Undoubtedly obvious also is that the Bible is for smart thinking people while Mrericx clearly is not! You will have to be smart to appreciate it.

  6. The Duterte government did try to, sort of, control or regulate the MMFF in 2016 by disallowing the perennial basura movie entries of Vice Pangit and company and then injected some Indie and Experimental films in the Festival list. That was the first and last time they did that and then till now it’s back to where it used to be. Even websites such as MSN, Yahoo and others (online Newspapers) are infested with headline stories of celebrity break-ups and viral-kuno celebrity photos, videos and tweets (competing with news of national importance) that they do almost appear to be subtle advertisements for the network’s stars.

    Indeed, it’s something that the government has to address, they need to come up with something like the BBC programing.

  7. Here’s what you guys need to understand: Filipinos celebrities are deliberately put on the spotlight for a reason. Didn’t it occur to you that this is being done on PURPOSE? Sinasadya ito. ABias S-CBN and GMA put out crappy movies and TV shows in order to dumb down Filipinos. They also remake old Filipino TV shows, and make a Filipino version of a Mexican telenovela or a Koreanovela. ABS-CBN and GMA all care about brainwashing the youth. They target the young generation nowadays. Hollywood does the same thing. Why do they keep remaking movies all the time? It’s to indoctrinate the next generation. It’s all about indoctrination under the guise of entertainment.

    My family has TFC but I don’t watch it as often as they do. I hate the shows and they’re all cringy. It’s the same crap over and over again. Hindi na nagsawa mga Filipino.

  8. Passive entertainment also makes people dumb. Some features on your “Smart” gadgets are making you dumb…
    Pay attention and you’ll see what’s going on.

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