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?
SEEMS like it’s still too early for former Vice President Noli de Castro and Ms. Korina Sanchez (wife of former Sen. Mar Roxas) to go back to TV Patrol.
Mar Roxas’s vice-presidential defeat in the May elections still seems to be an open wound for his supporters, (perhaps) including the ex-senator’s wife. And memories of De Castro’s presumed support for the unpopular former President (now Pampanga representative) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still lingers in many people’s minds, including mine.
Can they really report — or even read — news without us raising an eyebrow in suspicion regarding their supposed impartiality? Especially now that President Noynoy Aquino is still on his first 100+ days in office (and already hounded by various controversies), Sanchez and De Castro seem to be candidates for case studies on conflict of interest.
Imagine the day when TV Patrol reports about a stubborn Mar Roxas election protest as well as the role of the former vice president in the controversy-infested administration of former Pres. Arroyo.
Now the question arises: Is this why former ABS-CBN news head Maria Ressa left? She has been identified as a staunch opponent to a Sanchez-and-de-Castro comeback until her last days at ABS-CBN. In an Inquirer interview some time after Pres. Aquino’s election, Ressa was quoted as saying, “[Their return is] a case of conflict of interest… There is a need to transition. There is no quick fix.” She also added, “A good rule of thumb is to follow the government’s policy: If you ran or if you campaigned, you have to take a year off first [from broadcasting].”