of good news and good deeds and good grief!

I woke up early today and decided to tune in to channel 11, once known here as QTV under the GMA-7 media network. Since they reworked it into a 24/7 news channel of sorts (on free TV! Genius!), it has been  a relief for someone like me who just wants to see useful and non-mindless content while I consume 20-minute meals and who doesn’t have cable TV at home.

But what I saw earlier disturbed me. It was past 8am so all the early morning news magazine shows in the other channels have finished, and I found out that DZBB airs their AM radio programs on TV as well during this time. I tuned in and found veteran radio personality Mike Enriquez interviewing a youngish policeman, already serving for 15 years, who was invited over to present his story of how he returned a wallet he found somewhere. The wallet contained Malaysian, Singaporean and Philippine currency, obviously from an OFW whose address was traced all the way to Iloilo, with the help of GMA-7’s regional stations.

While this is all well and good, it somehow got me thinking about how media always hypes up such good deeds done by people, especially the police. In a country hopelessly mired in corruption and with a police force tainted with wrongdoings, such acts of kindness are indeed good to feature as news. It’s just sad that such a thing — returning a wallet and a policeman not stealing,  which should be part and parcel of a policeman’s basic duty — should be taken as an exception to the rule. Hm.

This made me flashback to 2004 when I started working full-time for an NGO but my college friend working in GMA-7 news at that time invited me to be part of a new show she was holding as executive producer. The show was supposed to highlight the good news, I guess as a counterpoint to what has always been highlighted in all news telecasts, be it during primetime, lunchtime or the early evening telecasts. (I declined the initial offer but after my NGO stint, I joined them anyways when they decided to reformat the show. But that’s another blog post.)

Well, I can’t blame them. News has always focused on looking for the sensational, the big deal, the scoop, and those things always tip towards the negative scale of things on earth. Now why is that? I guess people have differing opinions and definitions of what is “newsworthy.”

But that was not really the focus of my morning muni-muni. During the course of the interview, Enriquez was discussing to the policeman how they don’t give out rewards or something and that the policeman was saying that’s not his intention in doing the good deed or something to that effect. He said he just wanted to do what’s right, and be an example to his kids. Fair enough. Then Enriquez joked to his radio staff that they should also have something for the policeman as their reward, like at least give him some food or coffee, to say the least, for the trouble of coming over to the radio station some MRT stations away from the policeman’s Makati post. Yes, the cop also took the MRT train going there, he said. More points for heroism, this guy.

But to punctuate his point, Enriquez said that even if they don’t give out their own rewards or something, all guests (or perhaps those who guest there who did good things? He didn’t clarify.) take home one thing from them — a copy of the Bible. As in Christian Bible, maybe entitled Good News Bible or I don’t know which version. And then, as he was handing over the book to the cop, he proceeded to say something nice about how rewards are good in the eyes of God blah blah blah. Sorry for the inaccurate quote but seriously, when he pulled out that tome, I just went to automatic disengage. As to why, well, that’s for another blog post na lang.

I don’t understand why such a good deed need to be tied up directly with the good book and the good word. Not all good stuff are Christian-oriented and I was actually wondering about the policeman’s religion. What if he was Buddhist pala, or turns out to be Muslim, or whatever. Such is the automatic assumption of Catholics that everyone in this country must be worshiping the same kind of divine being. News flash: not!

radio killed the video--oh wait, they co-exist now. (at the dzup booth/july2010)

But I am particularly surprised that this kind of “good news spreading” would be done as a media routine. This alienates people in a way, and also making some people drawn to it as well, depends on which side of the cross they prefer to stay. Hm, if there is such a concept — and I emphasize the word “concept” — of the separation of Church and State, shouldn’t there be a concept such as the separation of Church and Media as well? I’m just saying.

Media as an institution should be able to represent all kinds of people from all walks of life, because their audience includes all kinds of people from all walks of life. If the equation is that simple, then there should be no privileging of one holy tome over another. Let’s see them give out a copy of the other holy books next time. You think that will happen? Of course not. From what I’m guessing, probably that radio show’s hidden sponsor is that publisher who prints those Bibles. Yes, I know we can’t easily shake off religion from several contexts in our culture — even if it obviously doesn’t belong there (like hello RH bill!) — but I think the Bible-giving shtick is just way too much. Too much for a morning telecast. Or maybe too much for a Filipino agnostic like me.

I don’t know. You decide. For now, I’ll just tune out.

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~ by leaflens on April 27, 2011.

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