It’s been a month since Big Corporate Media network ABS-CBN went off air and life goes on for most Filipinos. For that matter, life goes on under the “new normal” which, as it turns out, is a “normal” that does not include ABS-CBN. Whatever “service” ABS-CBN had supposedly been delivering to Filipinos under the guise of their being “in the service” of said people (their mission statement) turns out to be not essential to life after all. So much for its starlets’ social media tantrums. All that circus really achieved was to further highlight how much ABS-CBN content subtracts from the national intellect with every second that it is allowed to be broadcast by its dishonest producers.
Imagine the damage to the Filipino psyche that could have been avoided had ABS-CBN been kept under the close watch of people whose job it is to nourish the minds of future generations of Filipinos. Instead, an entire Lost Generation lived on a diet of Wowowee, It’s Showtime, and Pinoy Big Brother to grow up to be the celebrity-worshipping hero-addicted hollowheads that went on to dominate an entire national narrative.
Fortunately, Filipinos find themselves at a crossroads. The “plight” of ABS-CBN, specifically the desperation its management exhibited in a scramble to save their corporate hide, had thrown under a harsh light the vacuous — even poisonous — nature of what they had been “serving” the Filipino public all along. A flurry of showbiz appeals to emotion led by their top starlets all but fizzled out after a brief bright blaze. All that is really left is a CEO who, after playing all his flaccid emotional blackmail aces, is now left to face the music of his and his executive team’s failure to mitigate, when they had the opportunity to do so, a risk that had materialised to the colossal corporate crisis we see today.
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The only people who are actually reeling from the shutting out of ABS-CBN from broadcasting via public frequencies is its CEO Carlo Katigbak and the shareholders he is directly accountable to. And the Filipino masses who supposedly “needed” ABS-CBN? Perhaps they flinched a bit after being deprived of their daily dose of Kapamilya rubbish. Unfortunately, they have bigger problems to contend with nowadays. The only difference is they will have to face those life challenges without the opiate of escapism that Kim Chiu or Coco Martin shoves down their throats.
Philippine Media — like the Government — cannot be reformed. Why? Simple: the Media industry is made up primarily of privately-owned or publicly-held business enterprises that compete for public attention (just like the Government is made up of politicians competing for essentially the same asset). Yet therein in that last statement lies the solution. For it is in the nature of the public attention that Media giants — and our politicians — compete for that determines the content that they produce. Indeed, Filipinos have it in themselves to bring Philippine Media down to its knees. In this instance, they only need ignore the sad flailings of a once-formidable agent of mass stupidification.
Why cry over ABS-CBN then when it now collapses under the weight of the banality of its own habitual dishonesty? There are more important things to worry about; a “new normal” that is waiting to be embraced and a lot of valuable lessons that one has no choice but to learn coming out of an unprecedented crisis. Sadly, ABS-CBN with all its power and wealth in its heyday did nothing to to equip Filipinos to do any of that.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.