, June 17, 2024

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Media's Strange Nose for News

  •   4 min reads
Media's Strange Nose for News
A Rant by Vincent R. Pozon

Failing industry flailing wildly

You have to hand to media outlets and their warped sense of what should be published. Well, not really warped, more like a preference for the exaggerated and the yellowest of journalism.

With readership flagging, the products of legacy news outlets have become so sensational, it’s no longer yellow, it’s sick sludge.

("Legacy" seems so appropriate a term. I just saw a photo of several newspapers spread out on a table and I wondered how many GenZers have subscriptions or have stopped at newspaper stands and browsed).

Amongst all the bills filed by legislators, be they veteran, comebacking or rookie, by the laughable or the legal luminary, (wait, with Drilon gone, who's the legal luminary?) the one bill to rename the airport hogged the virtual headlines early on. Of course, it’s politically-triggered; it's the sort of bill that crawls out of the swamp so authors can proclaim allegiance to the reigning swamp bullfrog.

If this country has a fault in its national psyche, or in its conscience, or sense of what is right and wrong, we can lay most of the blame at the feet of media.

THIS IS DESPERATE – man with the same name of a movie star gets arrested, and this... this is news. /Philippine Star

Let’s give today’s brand of news a name, say, “Desperate”.

The wounded tiger is a dangerous beast, wrote Arthur Golden. And media is wounded. But it's clout is so faint and fading, they're hardly dangerous. They're just flailing wildly trying to attract more readers/viewers. They manage to get people to react to their social media posts, get them to carp and complain and have dogfights in the comments, but nobody's clicking through to the articles. Journalists are competing with young vloggers who have the power and enough disregard for etiquette to rock the boat. Here, for instance, is a vlogger proudly saying he has more clout than regular media:

"Do you think you're more powerful than the mainstream media (who are) following the campaign? He replies, shyly at first, "I think so." After which he explains why he does think so.

VLOGGERS know their power.

Not like it’s a slow news day everyday

Today's media 'flavor of the week' is that asinine and “practically toothless" anti-ghosting bill that wants to make the guy or girl who is too polite to say 'I don't want to see you anymore' a criminal. The bill is more meddlesome, more overreaching and more intrusive than bishops wanting to peep into bedrooms to see if you're using condoms. And guess what — every news outlet is lending it space on its pedestal.

It seems all the editors of all the legacy news outlets think this anti-ghosting bill is more important than Legarda's "one-tablet, one-student" proposal, Villanueva's "End of Endo", Hontiveros's "Divorce bill", "free dialysis for seniors", "anti-hospital detention act" and the "Sogie bill". The only bill more imbecilic and obscene is the one advocating charter change so the president can have a term lasting a decade.

Media has this predilection for the wicked and the miserable, and they don't seem to want to change.

Media's bias for the bad

Media will froth at the mouth about one Filipino worker on death-row somewhere in the world. Let's not even get to whether he or she is guilty or not, basta they will raise the national blood pressure with hourly updates and a countdown, fly to the hometowns of the condemned to ask relatives "how they feel" that their relative is about to be guillotined, while insinuating that whoever is emperor in Imperial Manila is not doing enough, and they will talk about nothing but.

Vice President Binay flew to Malaysia and, while still there, happily announced that three Filipinos were spared the death penalty after his efforts to have them pardoned succeeded. The news organizations yawned, gave it the equivalent of, say, three likes on Facebook.

Yes, we know journalists are ruled by commerce, but then this isn't entertainment. Or is it?

You want to sincerely fix the country? Fix media first.

After a year of college, Koyang entered advertising, and there he stayed for half a century, in various agencies, multinational and local. He is known for aberrant strategic successes (e.g., Clusivol’s ‘Bawal Magkasakit’, Promil’s ‘The Gifted Child’, RiteMED’s ‘May RiteMED ba nito?”). He is chairman of Estima, an ad agency dedicated to helping local industrialists, causes and candidates. He is co-founder and counselor for advertising, public relations, and crisis management of Caucus, Inc., a multi-discipline consultancy firm. He can be reached through vpozon@me.com.

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