The whole narrative encapsulating the ideology of how President Duterte should act in public is the current fashion statement of the contemporary Filipino media agenda. In fact, this ‘agenda‘ has been spiced up by the country’s oligarch-owned media companies highlighting the latest ill-portrayed show of a curse-filled speech by the President calling out both ABS-CBN and Philippine Daily Inquirer (Inquirer.net) for its ”lies” and for reporting “slanted” articles about him.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) however also issued an equally searing response to Duterte describing his words as “rant”, maybe because they can’t take it, which is “incoherent” and “foulmouthed”. NUJP’s Secretary General Dabet Panelo further asserted in his statement:
“Sir, your curses and your threats cannot and will not prevent us, the community of independent Filipino journalists, from fulfilling our duty to inform the people as best we can of what is happening to our country, whether you agree with what we report or not,”
The President’s infamous string of cuss words is nothing new. In fact, even before he ran as a President, he showed no signs for a keen sense of ‘modesty’, which seems to be a sensitive subject for Filipinos, in some of his speeches. It shouldn’t come as a shocker if he pulled out another speech filled with cuss words to call out the national media for their style of reporting. Heck, he even cursed religious groups in the country, so what gives? However, Inquirer.net defended their legacy and took it to social media, which by the way earned some corrections from De La Salle University’s political science professor Antonio P. Contreras, to show the country that it has gained a lot of awards for its ‘honest’ undertaking in the field of information dissemination.
Now take the case here in Ormoc from an EV MAIL writer who used a different logic to hammer how he sees the current Philippine President’s latest media debacle. In his article, Marcos tried to explain the ‘complementary’ relevance of both the media and the government by attempting an exegesis of the latest media-government brouhaha.
“Media’s public role of news dissemination and reporting the various activities of the government and its officials for the general information of the people play an important function in a democratic society which cannot be dispensed with by the government, even by its highest official.”
Given that the above statement is perhaps right in an ethical sense of rationalism, then the fact that there’s nothing that could assuage the obvious damages of how these oligarch-owned media portrays certain politicians in a different pastel –especially in the case of President Duterte– could not be argued because, again, the obvious tone of their articles to create an image in a blank canvass is more subjective than what it intends to be. So to say that the opinions of these latte-sipping “journalists” could not be dispensed, well, the President just did it and using Ted Marcos’ logic, the President himself is a ‘Republican’ so he could dispense any news he deemed slanted which have been propagating from the Philippines’ ‘Democratic’ society.
Limited Sense of Parliamentism
In Marcos’ article, he added that:
“The importance of media in a democratic society is underlined by the term “Fourth Estate” identifying it. By the very nature of its work, media is considered adversarial in its relations with the government and its officials. But it is a necessary part of the media men’s work so that they will not be considered paid hacks of government.”
For all of what it intends to, the use of the word ‘adversarial’ counters Marcos’ statement that it is “necessary” for newspaper companies to be adversarial so they will not be considered paid hacks of government. I’m going to have to assume the fact that Marcos has a limited sense of Parliamentism here. Why? The fact that he thinks it is rather necessary to be adversarial just to not be considered a paid hack of the government is a dead giveaway that he’d rather write subjectively and will be willing to throw his identity as a writer rather than to write objective articles to help his readers mould an atmosphere where they could think properly and to help create a society of free-thinking people o the plight of breaking intellectual malleability. It sometimes scares me when I see people writing like Marcos where they’d rather defy the whole concept of objective journalism to save their own graces. To give Marcos an example of a newspaper company that doesn’t fit into this “adversarial” category he bemuses rather oddly; the renowned The Manila Times will surely make Marcos fall from his seat since the purpose of TMT’s existence speaks as clear as day: Truth. No ‘complementary‘ relevance to show which side is better and no ‘adversarial‘ arguments to prove which between the government and the media is the alpha. Objective journalism is just the legacy TMT have that will always make Marcos think twice before he decides to write something that will question how deep he is as a writer.
Le Grand Raison d’etre
Objective writing is just not a practice in this city. Obviously, EV MAIL is politically inclined to the Gomezes and to expect a fair sense of political individualism and a unique sense of self-reliant establishment are both a faraway thought for the newspaper business. As for Mr. Ted Marcos, a little isip-isip may come in handy especially when one gets emotionally glued to stories that damages the country and its, as he puts it in his column, democratic society.