When the Inquirer.net grandstanded on its front page that popular presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will be making the late-April 2010 issue of Time Magazine, did the Inquirer.net Editor not do his homework and overlook an analogous February 1987 cover feature on Newsweek Magazine? I picked up that image from a post on PinoyExchange.com; admittedly not the most reliable of sources but it seems authentic (I ran it through several filters and no telltale signs of Photoshopping could be discerned).
My point is quite straightforward and can be expressed in one insightful question:
So what if Noynoy Aquino is featured on the cover of Time Magazine?
Perhaps Filipinos can be credited for not harboring any real malice in the way we consistently practice degenerated versions of what are otherwise elegant fields of endeavor. That is because we possess neither the wherwithal nor the deep insight to be in control of anything for that matter.
Filipinos never actually do things on purpose because we never really approach things with a purpose.
Journalism is one of those fields of Pinoy endeavor that is devoid of purpose. The perverted way Filipinos practice democracy is already a world-renowned given about us. But the phrase “Philippine Media” still invokes misguided romantic notions of a “free press” standing up against the goliathesque bogeyman of totalitarian suppression of free speech. But what is the real purpose of the Philippine Media? Is it to build understanding or to pervert information? The answer to that question would seem to be consistent with what I’ve always considered the Philippines to be — a mere accident of history; an unfortunate agglomeration of islands and tribes that is a legacy of colonial global mercantilism that owes its existence not to any real collective purpose applied by its people.
The Philippine Media in the perverted way that it “serves” the Filipino people may not mean any harm. In fact it is just out to make a buck. There is no shame in that, specially if you own ABS-CBN shares. But then it does do harm. And it does so without any particularly noble sense of place or purpose in the overall scheme of things. It just is and it just does. That in essence is what we now should be vigilant about. As the last vestiges of the romanticism that is a legacy of the Laban rhetoric of bygone years wanes, the only thing left standing tall out of all that today is the false heroism of the Philippine Media. Its turn to lie under the microscope of public scrutiny has come.
[JPEG images of the cover of the 16th Feb 1987 Edition of Newsweek International can also be downloaded here in big and small versions]