Now the wokes are complaining about social media personalities like Toni Gonzaga who interviewed former Senator Bongbong Marcos (BBM) in her YouTube show last week. Initially, they wanted to hold Gonzaga accountable as a “journalist.” Traditional media is biased in their favor which is why they don’t call them out. But if the interview is not to their liking, then the journalist is held accountable.
During the Marcos years, pro-Marcos Pinoys would tune in to the government-owned Channel 4. You had Ronnie Nathanielsz and Rita Gaddi Baltazar as the main anchors. It was GMA-7 which began the trend of independent public affairs programs. Viewpoint and later on Straight from the Shoulder. The discussions were lively but there was no hostility on the part of the anchor, unlike now when they can be condescending. Karen Davila, Christian Esguerra and Mike Navallo are guilty of this. It’s not surprising because they’re with ABS-CBN. The basic tenet of objectivity is no longer observed. The bias is meant to be shown. The goal is to influence public opinion. The only loser is the public because those who have adopted the role of a mercenary will not exercise his profession in a manner which puts public interest as the priority.
The late Louie Beltran had the knack of asking the most difficult questions of his guests without them taking offense because there was no malice on his part. For example, if Beltran was interviewing BBM, I’m sure he would bring up the issue of martial law in the proper context. Marcos Jr., wasn’t an elected or appointed official at that time so it would be in the context of a son whose father was the President. It would be different if Beltran was interviewing Marcos Sr. because he was the President and the public would want to know what is his opinion of the decision he made at that crucial juncture in the country’s history.
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But most important is to allow the public to make their own judgment and for the media personality to not be the judge. This is what journalism, in its purest form, is all about. There is no excuse for the criticism of Gonzaga because she is not a journalist. Her vlog is not a public affairs program nor does it follow that format. Like all Filipinos, she has a right to freedom of speech. Technology has made it possible for every individual to air their opinions publicly. There is no harm in that. There is also no “good” versus “evil”. There are only opinions.
Maturity and civility dictates that we should be respectful of each and everyone’s points of view but it is the Opposition that have been guilty of lowering the level of discourse by not sticking to the issues and making unfounded accusations. This is why we leave ourselves at the mercy of propagandists because we afford them the opportunity by being uncivil and immature.
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