It’s almost unreal. According to a breaking Manila Bulletin report, ABS-CBN has signed off and has gone off air in compliance to a cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) after the network’s license to broadcast expired yesterday. It was lights out following its final TV Patrol broadcast.
Opposition groups were, as expected, quick to denounce this development as (what else?) an “attack on press freedom”. “Social news network” Rappler issued its usual slanted reporting on the subject suggesting that ABS-CBN was essential to the dissemination of important information related to the raging COVID-19 pandemic…
Media organizations also questioned the “untimely” decision and urged the government to keep ABS-CBN open, as Filipinos need updates about the coronavirus pandemic.
…perhaps selectively forgetting that there are many other media organisations and “thought leaders”, not to mention the state broadcasting agency itself, already providing ample reliable information on the subject. Is ABS-CBN News “reporting” really that special as to be regarded as a big fat pillar of the country’s information infrastructure as Rappler “reporter” Ralf Rivas makes it out to be? Many Filipinos would beg to differ.
One would be hard-pressed to put up a eulogy to ABS-CBN painting it as a paragon of virtue. It makes most of its money off low quality unoriginal entertainment programs that have long known to contribute to the intellectual bankruptcy of Philippine society. The late Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz referred to the entertainment industry within which ABS-CBN skimmed off the lion’s share of profit as a “wasteland” in an Inquirer editorial dated the 16th June 2006…
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.
Indeed, the industry deserves to be trashed. The shuttering of ABS-CBN in a sense fulfills a long overdue need for a hard reckoning. Philippine media would have been in an excellent and unique position of power to influence Filipino thinking by uplifting it to a level befitting that of a true 21st Century society. One would expect the exceptional power wielded by an enormous corporation like ABS-CBN to be used to strengthen independent thought and eradicate the comfy poverty of originality so deeply-burnt into the fibres that weave the very fabric of Philippine society.
Suffice to say, ABS CBN did not step up to that role it had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fill.
To be fair, like any other for-profit private enterprise, the management of ABS-CBN owes its loyalty wholly to its shareholders. This was made clearly evident in the lengths its management took to circumvent the law, even going as far as engaging the “services” of the Philippine Senate itself tapping the influence of one of its shareholders there, Senator Grace Poe, to lead a dishonest “senate inquiry” into the matter of its fate. This despite the obvious conflicts of interest considering that a web of family ties and relationships past and present form a matrix of interconnection between Poe and the embattled media conglomerate. Indeed, ABS-CBN is not just a broadcast and media network, it is a political network in and of itself.
Taking all these facts about ABS-CBN into consideration, any suggestion that the corporation is some sort of Messiah figure to the Filipino people and, as such, a “victim” of some imagined government crucifixion comes from the hopelessly addled minds of so-called “thought leaders” whose thinking hadn’t evolved much since the 1980s.
What is it exactly that Filipinos are losing if ABS-CBN goes dark forever? People should think about the answer to this question using clear heads not bent to the perverse narrative of partisans who remain rabidly loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan (a.k.a. the Yellowtards). What Filipinos are actually gaining from the closure of ABS-CBN is an opportunity to quit mediocre and unoriginal entertainment products cold turkey. More importantly, they will see a newly-leveled playing field in the important practice of broadcast news.
The future looks bright and Filipinos should embrace this change and the chance to build new and better things now that ABS-CBN no longer stands in the way of innovation in Philippine mass media
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