In my previous piece, I have related how the media had affected me for almost two decades already. Now, I would show how and in what aspects I would like to influence the media. First, I hope the said institution becomes a better watchdog of those in power. I’m not saying that they are not reporting about government malfeasance right now. It is just that there is a tendency among journalists to devote all its time on a single issue at a particular time then completely forget about ti a few days later. For example, no one remembers Jun Lozada and the NBN ZTE deal right now.
Everyone is fixated on the investigations regarding the World Bank mess. When the media stops its reportage on an issue, the latter’s salience before the public’s minds wanes. Clearly, the Agenda Setting Theory of the mass media is at play here. If the media won’t be able to constantly remind the public of these corruption issues, no sense of accountability among our government officials would be nurtured. As Mike Enriquez liked to say, journalists should tell these crooks that “Hindi naming kayo tatantanan!”
Another thing I would like to note is the obvious preference of the big media networks to showbiz gossip. A significant portion of our nightly news programs had been allotted to showbiz gossip. Recently, ABS-CBN had even put up a daily showbiz news show – similar to “The Insider” and “Entertainment Today” in the United States. I understand that people need some form of relaxation especially during these difficult times but I guess no one would dispute the fact that we don’t really care whether Boy Abunda and Vicki Belo finally make peace.
Although I watch these kind of shows every now and then (do I have a choice?), I know that these networks are just feeding us with crap. They are idiotizing the masses. It is my prevent wish that the media devote more time informative programs. For example, there are a lot of issues that the masses have to understand.
The media always mentions the global financial crisis and climate change in their reports but the masses is still having a hard time making sense of all of these. It is because the media haven’t bothered to explain the significance of these issues to them. Why? Because the networks think these issues are too complex for the masses to grasp. I guess it is the media practitioners’ (sorry for the term) responsibility to tell the public the significant issues – the topics that they need (not necessarily want) to know.
Part of the reason why the public seems to be apathetic towards the scandals besetting the present government is that a lot of them haven’t figured out why the issue is important to them personally in the first place. Amidst all the political shouting matches and mudslinging, the media had failed to bring its audience to the bottom of the issues raised.