By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
Although I have written in the past about media prostitutes – figuratively and literally – and media hao-shiaos (fakes), I could not forgive myself if I could not give my takes on my just read book Who‘s Looking Out For You written by U.S No. 1 talk show host Bill O’Reilly of Fox News Channel about how media elites became biased on their calling.
As a media practitioner, who did not even have a BS in Journalism or Mass Communication, for sometimes, I saw how the local elites exchanged notes if not ingratiate with the power-that-be while they enjoy the ambiance of some bars of high end hotels and restaurants.
Media colleagues in Pangasinan treat me with stories how they spent sometimes with high level government functionaries in some five stars hotels imbibing expensive liquors and eating the sumptuous food Imperial Manila can offer and going home with oodles of monies in their pocket. Expose, these practices would be scandalous on the parts of the government and the media networks in the United States, to see head of their version of Bureau of Custom, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Departments of Interior & Local Government and of Public Works & Highway, or the Philippines National Police indulging to a “Bacchanalian Feast” with these susceptible members of the Fourth Estate.
A high police official told me how gambling lords in a region shell-out P3 million a month for brothers in the broadcast industry in the metropolis just to buy their silence not to pounce on the illegal games that give a windfall not only for the millions of pesos a month for the police but to politicians.
"And that's only from that region, how about the monies these brothers received monthly from other regions through out the country?" he posed to me.
And, son of a gun, I am not yet talking here about the tens of millions pesos pocketed by major TV and radio anchormen for their silence from the billions of pesos of racket perpetrated by Janet Napoles with Filipino congressmen and senators.
Who said media profession is a thankless job?.
Some media guys like the late Filipino columnist non-pareil Max Soliven did not have to resort to the callousness I mentioned about some media colleagues. Max could be seen sipping coffee or red wine as he had that animated talk with some “lobbyists” from Lockheed (to sell some C-130 military transport planes), General Dynamics (for a squadron of F-16 multi-role jets for the militarily weak Philippines), Israel Aircraft Industries (maker of built all-weather, multirole combat aircraft based on a modified French Dassault jets for a cash-strapped country), or British Firm GKN Defence (now part of BAE Systems) ( to sell by making in Subic 150 Simba armored personnel carrier for the Armed Forces of the Philippines) where Max could do some PRs in his most sought articles at the Philippine Daily Inquirer and later Philippine Star.
Here’s O’Reilly on Media Elite: “Since all the networks news organizations, including Fox , are run by huge corporations, and these enterprises are loath to criticize each other or themselves, you don’t see consistent, incisive coverage of the damage that many media operations are doing to the children of this country. On the newspaper side, many of the editors are so steeped in ideology and political correctness that it is impossible for them to make any moral judgments on social trends. Unless, of course, the trend is spiritual or pro-life or something that runs against their ideological beliefs. Then the papers will let you have it”.
He cited that on March 30, 2004, the U.S.A and Britain attacked Iraq, the Gallup Poll people asked this question: Do you approve or disapprove of the United States' decision to go to war with Iraq? The answer:
Approve: 76 percent; Disapprove: 20 percent; No Opinion 4 percent.
"Overwhelmingly, Americans backed the action against Saddam. Yet on the same day, March 20, ABC News and NBC News devoted a substantial amount of their evening newscast to both domestic and foreign war protesters. CBS did not, completely ignoring them on the Rather. World News Tonight with Peter Jennings spent four minutes and forty seconds reporting on war dissent. NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw topped that; it spent four minutes forty-five seconds on war protests and another one minute thirty-five-seconds on war objections by some Democrats. Neither Jennings nor Brokaw spend one second on the 76 percent of Americans who thought the war was the right action to take".
If America has that kind of media practitioners, how are the members of the Fourth Estate in rambunctious province of Pangasinan - where motorcycle riding tandem killers soar lately – fare?
As the 2016 local election is fast approaching, many members of the media become PR and apologists of high budget politicians – whose big dough becomes the magnet.
“Kamusta ang media ngayon sa Pangasinan? Alam ko kumikita sila ngayon ayon sa source ko sa circle ninyo,” a bigwig from the Land Bank of the Philippines quipped to me when I bumped recently with her.
She knows that PR monies now are everywhere since titans for the top posts in the province have been saber rattling. The funny or scornful about these guys are their audacity to be willing recipients from the two rival camps. Jesus Christ, some of their colleagues who are not beneficiaries just turned pink in envy or turned red in contempt as these folks go to the banks and belt their off key song: “I have two hands, the left and the right….”.
“Tingnan mo ang mga diario ngayon sa Pangasinan. Puno ng malalaking photo ng mga gubernatorial bets sa front page headline. Ano sa tingin ninyo, kubra ba dito kubra ba doon ang labanan ngayon,” a veteran scribe posed to me by showing to my face different kinds of local weeklies as host to these journalistic malfeasance.
Son of a gun, this is media brinkmanship at its best or worst!
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too firstname.lastname@example.org).