Bullying one, bullies all


Whatever we think about ABS-CBN, Rappler and the Inquirer, whether it’s positive or negative, the one thing that makes one shudder is the fact that these outlets are now on the verge of near extinction. Several factors affect these outlets in different and differing ways.

Inquirer is being hit by a technological shift with the way people get their information. The paper tries to parlay this by slowly shifting itself from just a mere source of information to a shaper of opinion. Thru its banner headlines, Inquirer is still tops when it comes to influencing public policy, never mind what Manila Times claims. People are still concerned with how they are being perceived thru the Inquirer.

Rappler on the other hand, is suffering the same way as the Inquirer because of its wrong business model. Instead of hiring more people experienced in broadcasting, Rappler continues to hire former newspapermen whose expertise is writing good stuff, not on presenting it the way the people want it. Rappler is an Inquirer in disguise. This is disconcerting with people because it is an Inquirer reinvented by technology.

ABS-CBN 2’s case is entirely different though. It is surely not at the level of an Inquirer, but surely it’s sensationalization of the news has been in overboard fashion since the nineties, and thus, because of this, it has earned the ire of many, not just Duterte.

Whatever we say or think about ABS, the controversy that now threatens its very existence actually threatens not only it, but to us all. For the second time, ABS-CBN stands to again disappear from our teevee screens not because it aired highly immoral material, or promoted immorality, or promoted religiosity, or promoted nothing more than trash the way its prime noontime star does with his or her festival films.

We may curse ABS for its treatment of news or for allowing kids to think that having pink wigs or having man-to-man relations normal, no. We may not like how they stretch the boundaries of reason with Probinsyano or demean a departed king with a hard working yet failure of a wannabe, pseudo action star. No.

ABS-CBN has earned the ire of Duterte who thinks he is King. Not because ABS mocked him during the 2016 presidential elections or promoted false news about his plebeian birth.

Come to think of it, so what if ABS does all that. We are still a democracy and ABS can do all it wants provided that it does not trespass the bounds of what the law thinks is good televised material.

ABS is being crucified because a pseudo King dislikes it and he thinks he was swindled by the media outlet. How can that swindling happen when ABS did not even got a broadcast order and no order to air Duterte’s commercial material was issued. We all know that a travesty happened when an outlet failed to air a material which someone requested that it be aired. No such thing happened.

Yet, ABS did nothing or said something out of respect to the President. Even now when this President already exhausted all his lively putanginas and cursed the heavens and vowed sending thousands to their deaths because they looked like zombies, ABS-CBN’s lips are still.. sealed. The fact is, no one among those publicly maligned by this President ever uttered one bad word against this pseudo street toughie. Maybe they think that Duterte is the person whom he says he is, and they feared for their lives.

What they don’t know is that this person who now wears the Presidential hat in an ignominious way, is far from the person whom he fantasizes with. Atty. Homobono Adaza once shared a story of how this Duterte failed to appear in a gun duel with a veteran journalist whom he once dared to a gunfight in Davao. Or how this Duterte did not even had the gall to fire his bosom friends who now raid the public coffers in a frequent Marcosian fashion.

When a person say something definitely quite crass, many times he does not mean it. He just want the attention focused on him. And when that happens, there is something wrong with this person, mentally of course. We all know what mania that is.

Seriously, whatever we think of ABS, there is simply nothing that we can think of that justifies its demise from our screens. It has not violated any law, pays its taxes in a prompt manner, generates employment, even though it has an anti-worker rights bias, and knows it audiences very well.  How many MTRCB violations did ABS heaped? Two. How many xxx rated films it aired? Probably none. Of course, it is entirely different if we are referring to Vice Ganda’s trash films that gave the multi-media company several billions.

No. ABS-CBN stands to lose twice in three different generations just because one person wants its head. Imagine how stupid this sounds? Tell me just one country whose president utters a despicably Hitlerian bent while professing to be the penultimate Democrat.

How dare these people use their political positions to get concessions from ABS? How dare these politicians threaten a media outlet with these ? Did these people realize that they are doing the people a great disservice when they actually bully a media outlet?

Duterte and his ilk want nothing more than make us toe the line or else. Who gives him his powers? It is us, the people. What he is doing is creating the necessary conditions for us to accept that his bullshit is ours, that he is fighting for our interests and what he is doing, we stand to benefit from it?

Are we going to benefit from an entirely muzzled media industry? Are we, the people, going to benefit talking and discussing just one idea of change from a man who profess to hate getting good grades? What standards are we going to follow now when the very one who leads us promotes mediocrity and that solutions are simply going to be always based on gut feel, not reason.

Accusations on ABS-CBN may actually yet be true and yes, franchises are not given rights, only privileges. Our government has all the power not to grant such a privilege.

Yet, withholding such a privilege just because of the whim of a pseudo bully is horrendous.  A withdrawal of a privilege is of course, essentially capricious. Not renewing a franchise is of no sin–it becomes one when the basis is simply personal.




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