Inanities begging to be slammed
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-07-05
Philippine media have the regrettable predilection for making the unimportant important and the important unimportant. The result is a badly informed citizenry. Among the major causes for our Information Gap is that media here do not challenge outrageous statements by public officials when these are uttered.

The more prestigious and responsible media in the world would not allow the inane or glaringly false statements of public officials to be ventilated sans the corresponding challenge. Theirs is an attitude of — for that kind of rubbish, there are media you can tap but not ours. That’s not censorship because it was disseminated — albeit with the other point of view of the reporter or contending party. That’s good editorial judgment.

Just recently, there were two cases of the most inane statements made by two public officials that were disseminated by television, without as much as challenging the speakers and holding them accountable for uttering inanities. TV primetime newscasts have limited airtime and we must wonder how they still manage to ventilate inane public statements.

One was this recent case of Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno who, along with 22 Manila councilors, tried to make it appear as if Manila Mayor Fred Lim threatened their lives. After Lim commented that they (Moreno and his supporters) have acted with impunity as if they will not die, Moreno and his 22 went to the police station to have Lim’s statement registered as a grave threat.

Lim was right in reacting that it was all cheap political gimmickry. What Lim said in Filipino meant that Moreno and his supporters have been acting with wild abandon and in so doing they transmit the impression that they will not die and eventually be judged by our Maker. Lim said this in Filipino, not English, so there’s no reason Moreno can claim that he didn’t understand the figure of speech. Moreno was angered by the removal of hundreds of alleged ghost employees that he and the councilors had hired.

It didn’t surprise your Chair Wrecker that Moreno filed that grave threat complaint. During the 2007 elections campaign, Manila Councilor Bernie Ang invited Moreno to a dinner with some friends and me — for us to get a better appreciation of the so-called rising star of Manila politics. To sum up the meeting — there was absolutely nothing to appreciate. The fellow was inane! You couldn’t discuss concepts of governance with him. All he could offer were anecdotes, which are designed to make him look good.

The other inane utterance that was asking to be slammed was that of Bayan Party-list Representative Teddy Casino. Casino commented on the announcement of the Department of National Defense (DND) plan to purchase South Korean made jet fighters. Casino’s point wasn’t so much on the quality of the South Korean fighters but that the purchase could be another scam in the making. The statement of Casino reveals the deep agenda of their group, believed to be a front of the communists, to undermine the government.

At this time when there has not been a single major scandal hounding the President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) government after two years in office, what gives Casino the right to raise a corruption alarm on this planned jet purchase? As a legislator, he may be within his right and scope of duty to be vigilant and expose shenanigans. However, he has no business trying to make it appear that the generally perceived clean P-Noy administration is about to steal from a deal that has not yet been consummated.

How the Reds and their front organizations manage to get media mileage, especially on television, is a wonder of wonders. There’s no shortage in this country for more credible resource persons on any given topic so how come a group that’s suspected to be a national security threat is able to get carte blanche on TV? Is it possible Red sympathizers have infiltrated some of our media?

In the current row with China, media here almost increased the animosity level for their irresponsible reporting of the ramming of a Filipino fishing vessel off Pangasinan. The initial media reports made it appear that an official Chinese ship did the ramming incident. In fact, the area where the incident happened is very much outside the disputed Scarborough Shoal. Considering that this could have supplied China with a reason to bring their aggression to an increased level — we can only brand this type of reporting as unpatriotic and irresponsible.

This isn’t a time for sensationalism. Reckless sensationalism could incite China to attack us and we don’t really know if the US will come to our rescue. What could happen here is the sensational annihilation of our Armed Forces.

Media here, including columnists and commentators, should be extra careful in reporting on the row with China because this is now a highly sensitive national security concern involving bilateral relations with a major economic power we would want to trade with. Broadcast media should lead in this because they operate out of public franchises.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

Home | As I Wreck This Chair | High Ground | Career Brief and Roots | Advocacies | Landmarks Copyright 2006 The Chair Wrecker by William M. Esposo