Radio and Politics: Myopia of the Beat System

The national election is half a year away and of course the political furnace is getting hotter everyday. Nothing new about this. We Filipinos do everything with extreme passion and commitment, and to my mind, with over zealousness and emotionalism [i’m thinking about those who suffered strokes and died while watching Manny’s fight, or the cheesy outburst during Cory’s funeral [unbelievably OA, but that’s us; so, i’m suspending my disbelief actually.]

Here in my present locality [that is, Cagayan de Oro City] the stage has been set, battle lines drawn, and the political temperature definitely on fever mode. How do i know this? Media of course. It has been a forgone conclusion that politics cannot exist without media and vice versa. What troubles and even outrages me at the moment however, is the manner in which media [radio specifically] prostitute itself to forward a political group’s agenda. I was taught that the press is basically a ‘fiscalizer’, an arbitrator and thus, must remain neutral at all cost. But this is not what’s happening with local radio stations. Take for example stiff competitors Bombo Radyo and RMN-dxCC. It is very sad to note that each of these broadcast media is taking sides in each political pole–the former for the ruling administration and its party, the latter for the opposition and the political foes of city hall. They do not seem to realize how ridiculous they sound allowing themselves to be groaning aunts, interviewing, back slapping and singing praises at, their favored politicians while hurling accusations based on unconfirmed data and minus the benefit of evidence, against these politicians’ opponents. They do not even have the courtesy to allow those they accuse with a chance to defend themselves [if one wants to hear what the other camp has to say, he has to switch to the other station.] Worse, anchors of these stations do the mudslinging and encourage the malicious intrigues themselves! And I don’t hear the KBP, the supposed to be regulating body, nor the CDO Press Club saying or doing anything to check these people up. This is clearly an abuse of the trust that we listeners bestow on the media. If we cannot count on them to lead us by showing an objective stance on crucial issues where we have a stake and could stand to lose, how are we supposed to make intelligent choices during the election?


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