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Thumbs up, thumbs down for Aquino’s TV Patrol tirades

President AquinoCommentary

By Ellen Tordesillas

THUMBS up to  President Aquino in setting aside tact and taking to task Noli de Castro's dubious role as journalist.

Thumbs down  for once again whining about media not reporting his idea of good news, as if media is an extension of  Malacanang.

This is a portion of Aquino's speech that directly hit De Castro even if his name was not mentioned:

Noong Oktubre ng nakaraang taon, may isang reporter kayo ang nagbabalita sa NAIA 3. Ang sabi niya, sa puntong iyon, tumaas ng dalawampung porsiyento ang passenger arrivals sa paliparan. Magandang balita, at higit sa lahat, fact po iyan.  Sa kabila nito, nakuha pa pong humirit ng isang anchor n'yo at ang sabi po niya, and I quote,  "Nasa NAIA 3 ka kasi; kung nasa NAIA 1 ka, doon malala." Sa loob-loob ko po, anong kinalaman ng ibinabalita sa NAIA 3 sa NAIA 1? May nagsabi po bang ayos na ayos na ang NAIA 1? Kung mayroon man ho, hindi kami. Nakaligtaan niya atang mahigit 30 anyos na ang istrukturang ito.

Napapaisip nga po ako: 'yung nagkomento nito, hindi ba't anim na taon ding tumangan sa renda ng gobyerno? Sabihin na po nating minana lang din nila ang problema; 'di hamak mas luma naman ang ipinamana nilang problema sa amin. Anim na taon ang ipinagkaloob sa kanya para tumulong sa pagsasaayos ng mismong inirereklamo niya. Pero ngayon, tayo na nga ang may bitbit na problema, tayo na nga ang tutugon dito, pero, masakit nga ho, may gana pa tayong hiritan ng nagpamana?

Naalala ko rin po nang na-recover ng NBI ang isang banyagang bata na nakidnap. Ang ganda na po sana: Nakakuha ng tip ang awtoridad, kumilos sila, at na-recover ang bata. Masaya ang mga magulang na kapiling na muli nila ang kanilang anak; masaya ang bata na kayakap niya ang kaniyang ama't ina; masaya ang awtoridad na maayos at matagumpay ang operasyon nila. Mukhang ang hindi lang masaya, ito nga pong anchor natin na nagawa pa uling humirit na baka raw na-set-up lang raw ang rescue operation, at binayaran lang talaga ang ransom. Kahit anong pilit ng reporter na malinaw ang operasyon; nag-surveillance ang mga taga-NBI, at talagang natiyempuhan nilang walang nakabantay sa bata, pilit pa rin po nang pilit ang anchor. Sabi nga ho ng nanonood kong kasama, "Naman." Kami pa po mismo ang magagalak kung makakapaghain kayo ng kapirasong ebidensya ukol dito, at kung mayroon nagkamali, usigin natin ang mga nagkamali.

Noli de CastroMay naitutulong po ba ang mga walang-basehang spekulasyon, lalo na kung lumalabas ka sa telebisyon at sinusubaybayan ng sambayanan? Kung nagbabangkaan lang tayo sa kanto, hindi problema ang mga walang-basehang patutsada. Pero kung alam mong opinion-maker ka, alam mo rin dapat na mayroon kang responsibilidad. Sana po, sa tuwing sasabihin nating, and I quote, "magandang gabi, bayan," ay totoong hinahangad nating maging maganda ang gabi ng bayan.

ABS-CBN lowered the bar of broadcast journalism when they returned former Vice President Noli de Castro to their  early evening  news, TV Patrol. The main reason could have been the ratings war.

As Gloria Arroyo's vice president, he was silent on the many anomalies that riddled the Arroyo administration.  He even came to the aid of Arroyo when she was shaken by the  Hello Garci expose.

What did he say or do when all the anomalies  - fertilizer scam, NBN-ZTE deal, North Rail, etc. etc. were coming out in media?  Nothing.

It's hypocritical of De Castro  to be commenting on other irregularities when he was silent of the many scams when he was near the center of power.

In fact it's so awkward  everytime TV Patrol  carried a report on Delfin Lee of Globe Asiatique.  As Arroyo's housing czar, De Castro could not have been ignorant of that huge anomaly. What did he do to stop that? If  he really didn't know anything about it, then he was guilty of incompetence and neglect of duty.

But Aquino's   attempt to be meddle with media's editorial judgment is a big turnoff.

He said, "Kung gabi-gabing bad news ang hapunan ni Juan dela Cruz, talaga namang mangangayayat ang puso't isip niya sa kawalan ng pag-asa," he said.  "Ilang turista kaya kada buwan ang nagka-cancel ng bakasyon dahil sa araw-araw na negatibismo? Ilan kayang kababayan ang nawawalan ng pagkakataong magkaroon ng kabuhayan dahil sa bad news na ito?"

Reporters do not classify news as  "good" or "bad." Their responsibility is to make sure that their reports are accurate.

As long as the report adhere to the basic rules of journalism —truthful,fair, written without any hidden agenda or conflict of interest,  didn't put innocent people in harm's way, the reporter is accountable for it — it is good.

What is not good is a inaccuracy. Any report that is not truthful is not good.

Tourists don't cancel plans because of news reports. People don't lose their job because of news reports.

Tourists don't come because of many things —poor infrastructure, inefficiency, incompetence, etc. etc.   And it points to one thing: leadership.

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