As the election draws to a close, the situation is getting a bit too tight for Filipino voters and their candidates. There are others who are already expecting a defeat — after the much anticipated (or dreaded) religious endorsement was announced — but will nevertheless continue to fight on. But there are others who are quick to claim victory and pounce on the chance to mock those who they think will lose. The latter constitutes the group of people who miss the point of the whole exercise.
The Philippine media is largely to blame for this kind of behaviour from both groups. From day one, Noynoy Aquino’s name has always been on the front page of the Philipine Daily Inquirer, a publication that is widely read and circulated. Noynoy’s whereabouts are always being highlighted too on television, whether it’s in the news or through Noynoy’s sister Kris Aquino’s free plugging via her friend Boy Abunda.
Consider the following headlines in the Inquirer.net today, the 7th of May:
What the heck? Sentro ng Katotohanan anchor Arnel Endrinal has started calling the Inquirer.net an “Aquino campaign newsletter“! What is going on in the Philippines nowadays? Is there nothing of importance now to report on other than how the Aquino-Roxas tandem is doing in the surveys or how dominant the Liberal Party is compared to the other “less favourable” parties? No wonder the voters are getting more and more convinced each day that it is already a sure win for Noynoy Aquino. In light of all these reported “developments” Noynoy is probably thinking, “Why do we need to have an election in the first place? We all know that I am going to win. And If I don’t win, the bloody demonstration in Thailand will be nothing compared to what I am going to organise.”
Indeed, Filipinos who live their lives in misery don’t really get airtime on TV. The lives of the rich and famous like Kris Aquino and her love life is always guaranteed broadcast even if it’s nothing of consequence to everybody. I’m pretty sure there will always be some guy who got run over somewhere in the city or some life-impacting outrage happening elsewhere which they can report on. But seeing all this, one’s gotta ask: Is Filipino life so cheap that human drama among the ordinary and average is not worthy to be part of front page news anymore? What about the 40% increase in the Meralco bill everyone is complaining about? Is there no one investigating that? Philippine media is devoting so much space and time on the election that none of the politicians want to do real work nowadays, only publicity stunts. It seems that The Philippine Daily Inquirer and its online version remains today just another tabloid newspaper that sensationalises events some of which haven’t even transpired yet. You decide if I’m talking crap, here’s another headline from the 16th April: “Election failure to favour GMA.” First, the election hasn’t transpired yet and second, why do they presume to be so knowledgeable about what’s going on in Gloria Arroyo’s mind?
Speaking of failure of elections, what the heck is happening to the voting machines? Why are they testing the machines only now, on the last few days before the election? Another columnist is talking of a disaster scenario following last Monday’s technical glitch on the machines. Is this in preparation again for us to accept that a manual vote count is necessary? How convenient when one considers a history rich with evidence showing how so easily manual vote counts can be manipulated or are so prone to human error. Who’s in charge here? Is it the Comelec or the Media? It seems that what the Comelec is saying always get misinterpreted and spun into a doomsday scenario.
Perhaps the Inquirer.net has too many opinion writers and less of the writers who just report the facts. Even those “journalists” whose job it is to just report facts manage to report them in ways that reflect their opinion.
The dysfunction of Philippine society has never been more highlighted until now during these elections. Thanks to Noynoy Aquino, there are more Filipinos who now realise that there is something uniquely wrong with us as a people. This is evident in the fact that there are so many new commenters in Antipinoy.com who are so disillusioned with the events that are transpiring in this year’s election. Thank you to the folks in Media who give us ample material to write about. Just them being themselves already gives us a lot to work on.
More and more Filipinos are starting to see that one of the key culprits that account for the dire situation our society is in is the Philippine media. The Philippine media has the resources to control the show in the country. Not the politicians nor even the religious organizations wield so much influence. If you are a politician with no real connections within the Media boys’ club, you will not get favourable airtime. Religious organisations, for their part, simply back the candidates who according to the Media — again — are likely to win. It is all about the media folks. Philippine media control the shows that contribute to the dumbing down of the electorate. Their shows do not encourage people to think for themselves. They are controlling our lives or are trying to. The government itself needs the media to tell the people who to vote for.
On the 10th of May, it’s best not to read the newspaper or watch the news on TV. They might make you believe that Noynoy Aquino has already won the election that hasn’t transpired yet. So why bother with them. You don’t come out of exposure to Philippine media the least bit better informed about anything. I can assure you that all you need to know is the name of the candidate you are voting for — and that name is not Noynoy Aquino.