Supporters of embattled ABS-CBN are going about their expressions of “solidarity” with the media giant the wrong way. They are framing their “cause” as one about its employees losing their jobs because of an “attack” from an “evil dictator”.
The facts, however, tell a different story. The case being built by the government against ABS-CBN makes use of legal arguments. The administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte represented by the Solicitor General’s Office (SGO) is doing things by the book. And, ultimately, the fate of ABS-CBN is in the hands of representatives in Congress — people who won an election for the privilege of representing the Filipino people’s interests.
Supporters of ABS-CBN, on the other hand, have the interests of Filipinos at the bottom of their list of priorities. At the top of their priorities are the interests of the network’s shareholders, its thousand-odd employees, and that of a channel that has a long track record of dishonest “news reporting” biased towards their partisan agenda. More importantly, the manner with which they are pressing their demands involves calls to action that lie outside the frame of the law.
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ABS-CBN supporters, rather than argue the case before the government are, instead, waging a propaganda campaign to demonise it. This is, in essence, a campaign to get what they want using tactics no better than a child throwing a temper tantrum.
The notions that there is some sort of “fight” to be had and that “press freedom” is “under attack” have long been discredited and are ideas irrevocably perverted by extreme partisanism. You’d think the Opposition would have learnt this important lesson by now — that the Laban (“fight”) rhetoric and the idea of press freedom “under threat” are kisses of death on their chances of winning an election in the near future. Filipinos regard these manufactured issues with eyes rolled up to the sky at best.
One of the pillars of the ABS-CBN persuasion campaign is appeal to emotion and its darker tool, emotional blackmail. Because ABS-CBN makes most of its money off low-brow entertainment, it has ample “talent” to propagate this mind poison with the likes of celebrities like “DJ Chacha”, for example, marching to that tune.
Hindi alam ni sist ang salitang empathy. Hay. https://t.co/GrlUY9IPUN
— DJ Chacha (@_djchacha) February 21, 2020
Appeals to emotion, of course, don’t win cases in court. To be fair, they move political bodies such as Congress and win political exercises such as elections. However, the 2019 elections that saw the key Opposition coalition suffering a catastrophic loss proved that they are woefully ineffective at that game. It is indeed baffling that they continue to expect different results while doing the same thing over and over again.
The kiddies populating the lame protest rallies organised by the Opposition’s top “thought leaders” should pause and observe as the grownups take charge of resolving ABS-CBN’s problems. Already, authorised officials of the firm are issuing less inflammatory statements and reaching out to the right people and work within the system to sort this mess out. This is how things are done in a mature society — where due process is observed and intelligent conversation is carried on. There is less room for the hysterics of a discredited “activist” clique and lots of opportunity in adult conduct. It’s time Filipinos and their politics grow up — for the sake of ABS-CBN and others like it that run afoul of the law.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.