Put the big names on TV

What’s the ‘cult of the celebrity’ got to do with it? Fulbright scholar and MU journalism PhD student Edson Tandoc gives another take on Kabayan and Korina’s sudden return to broadcasting:

Former vice president Noli De Castro returns on Monday to the primetime news program that served as the perfect springboard for his short-lived political career. He is showing up with Korina Sanchez who is also fresh from a year-long hiatus from daily-grind news work for her husband’s ill-fated vice presidential bid. De Castro and Sanchez are joining former congressman Ted Failon in ABS-CBN’s flagship news program TV Patrol.

It is surely a dream team. ABS-CBN is bringing together three of the biggest names in local broadcasting. Not everyone is happy, though. These celebrities are tainted by their past and present political links—and news is supposedly objective.

Well, news has never been objective. It is not usually overtly subjective, either. Some are not comfortable with the idea of hearing political news from an ex-future president or from the wife of a possible 2016 presidential bet.

This is a casting coup indeed—a move obviously motivated by a desire to catch up in the ratings game considering a serious threat from a former network employee. Put the big names on TV and viewers will be glued. It is not the quality of news coverage that matters. This unfortunately shows a low regard for the audience—a move that does not speak well of the profession people depend on for information. But if it is true that viewers are obsessed with celebrities than with substance, who is to blame, then?

Republished with permission
Original: edsONline


Inquirer article shows bias, twists truth

by Jean Paul Zialcita

Michael Lim Ubac’s Inquirer article “Clinton: More babies a boon to Filipinos” (13/11/10 p. 1) begins this way:

Former US President Bill Clinton sees more babies as an advantage for the Philippines, whose exploding population is projected to reach 94 million by the end of the year.

What’s the word “exploding” doing in that sentence? The word presents us with the opinion that having more babies is a bad thing. Writer’s bias, clearly. Remove “exploding” and read the sentence again. No more partiality. Replace “exploding” with “growing”, and the sentence becomes a statement of fact rather than an opinion.

I don’t think news writers have the necessary qualifications to judge whether or not our population is “exploding”. Hence, it would be best to confine language such as this to the opinion pages, where biases are presented straightforwardly.

Another case of bias in the same news item can be detected in the following:

As highly industrialized nations grapple with the economic and social costs of an aging population, Clinton noted that “you [Filipinos] have a huge population, which is [something] positive, and you have massive natural resources.”

Golez capitalized on that statement to hit back at his colleagues advocating the passage of the long-pending reproductive health (RH) bill that upholds maternal health and seeks to provide couples an informed choice on various methods of family planning. [Emphasis added]

The bill is described as one that “upholds maternal health”. How can any decent person object to such a bill, right? So, when Golez is said to be “[hitting] back” at colleagues who are pushing for the passage of the bill, he ends up appearing…well…indecent.

I’m sure Golez is all for enhancing maternal health. Everyone knows he’s pro-life. If he’s against the bill, it’s obviously not because it upholds maternal health. But the sentence, as it is constructed, tells us otherwise.

Mr. Zialcita is a professor of political science at UP-Diliman.

A short history of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics

THEY hallowed it at the National Press Club of the Philippines in 1988.

Now adhered to by many media organizations (including journalism schools), the Journalist’s Code of Ethics is fruit of the NPC’s decades-long pining for a written set of standards in Philippine journalism.

According to NPC founding member Manuel Almario, “[in 1987] many [members of the NPC] were already losing sight of the real purpose of the club, which is to advance the [journalism] profession for the benefit of the people.” In a few month’s time, the NPC’s ethics committee was already drafting the Code.

Almario led the group, which first reviewed codes of ethics of foreign media organizations. With him in the committee were then Dean of the UP Institute of Mass Communication Georgina Encanto, PCIJ‘s Ma. Lourdes Mangahas, veteran journalist and academician Renato Constantino, and lawyer-journalist Atty. Luis Mauricio.

After being subjected to rounds of scrutiny and consultation, the Journalist’s Code of Ethics was finally ratified during the April 30, 1988 annual convention of the NPC. The Philippine Press Institute also approved the Code.

Indeed, the ratification of the Code marked a “great milestone in 20th century Philippine journalism.” Twelve years thence, Filipinos are still in want of constant adherence to it among their media friends.


Zamora, J.D.N. (2008). “Clubbed to Death? A Historical Study of the National Press Club of the Philippines from 1986 to 2007.” Unpublished thesis, University of the Philippines – Diliman.