Pissed off with the barrage of unreasonable criticism, one of P-Noy’s New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to disregard commentaries of the fault finders. Minding the criticism of the hopeless, P-Noy said, distracts him from attending on some other problems of the country, so better ignore them. For a moment, P-Noy seemed oblivious of the role played by the media which is “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” a precept to keep the powerful on their toes for power abuse and misuse. Unreasonable criticism is part of a healthy democracy. Yes, noises can sometime annoy. It can be a straw that can break a camel’s back even, but that’s one of the job hazards a President get. If one doesn’t want the heat, then don’t stay in the kitchen, so they say. No one who occupies the Malacanang Palace escapes from criticism.
P-Noy’s observation that there is “a cottage industry already of people who make a living out criticizing him” rang true. “Envelopmental Journalism,” a brand of journalism which involves the use of envelope stuff with cash to pay journalist or media practitioner – hence “envelopmental” – to sway their write up to favor their client is an ongoing practice in the Philippine’s media. The “AC-DC”, the offshoot of “envelopmental,” an acronym for Attack Collect – Defend Collect, where the journalist get money from the two opposing clientele also thrive and kicking.
Imagine if these unscrupulous journalists, staff the tabloids and broadsheets, do TV commentaries and broadcast their opinions on the radio, this can sway public opinion catered to the hidden agenda of their benefactor – an individual or a group of people whose political and business interest in the schemes of things are at stake. With the teeming efforts of these unscrupulous journalists, their opinions or writings or commentaries induce collective behavior. People with media exposure are like lump of iron. Each atom is like a tiny compass that can point its magnetic needle in a particular direction. Individually, each atom is free to choose its own orientation. But with focused theme jelled in the write-ups, opinions, articles, commentaries of AC-DC journalists with “envelopmental” influences, the magnetic force push all atoms to align their needles into one direction – towards the achievement of the goals of their benefactor.
During the 2013 Senate Hearing of Janet Napoles, Sen. Miriam Santiago asked Ms. Napoles if she knew the PR man who scout journalist to obscure the PDAF (Pork Barrel) controversy which involved the oppositions, and hyped the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Project) to throw bad light on the P-Noy Administration. Sen. Miriam Santiago’s question to Ms. Napoles corroborated P-Noy observation that a cottage industry which aim to throw in unreasonable criticisms is a fact of life and it is part and parcel of how democracy works.
However not all people exposed to the media fall prey to the wares sold by these unethical Journalist for hire. There are newspaper readers, for example, who can discern if what is written has the ring of truth. One can read columns of the Manila Standard, the Daily Tribune and the Manila Times, and one can probably sense the skewed and colored slant the writers of these broadsheets propagate.
In order not to get swayed, reader must asked: What’s the background of the writer, the biased he or she espoused? Does the writer have integrity and good reputation? Does the writer present a balance approach and a good presenter of facts?