Monday, August 11, 2008

Painting the wrong picture

So the heat forces me to wake up early and I got to catch the news portion of ABS-CBN's morning show. Joey de Leon is again in trouble for opening his mouth and this time the offended party is the National Press Club.

De Leon currently has a problem with "Balita" entertainment editor Dindo Balares over the performance of a recent "Eat Bulaga" show abroad. Not covered in the linked article but mentioned in the news report is the fact that De Leon made a joke about his lola killing journalists. Which got the Press Club started as they're pretty sensitive* on the topic of dead journalists, the Philippines being the top spot to find one.

De Leon apologized and, in a sane place, that should've been that.

But no. The NPC (with help from ABS-CBN, I guess) is dragging this out. And I would've ignored it if not for a statement De Leon allegedly made that the NPC rep referred to.

Joey said there was a difference between journalists and press people.

I agree. The people De Leon deals with write for newspapers but have the journalistic skill and ethics of your neighborhood tsismosa. They are referred to as "journalists" only as a matter of courtesy (or convenience) and have none of the training or the dedication associated with, say, the PCIJ.

That, too, goes for some of the journalists who have been killed.

Whenever the "scores of dead journalists" factoid is mentioned in international reports we have this romanticized image of the guy in the moro hinterlands risking his life to bring us a story. The dead journalist we admire is the small-town radio commentator who goes up against the corrupt governor and is gunned down by goons.

But for every hero like this there is the columnist who asks money for positive write-ups, or the investigative journalist who gets paid to shut up, or the editor whose paper spouts pure propaganda. They don't deserve to be summarily executed, but neither do they deserve the title of "journalist" that the NPC seems too eager to confer.

* I'm half-hoping they do take legal action against Joey. My irony meter needs calibration.


mojacko said...

so true. some of those hacks are the personification of "pinabili lang ng suka, naging writer na" :p

missingpoints said...

But I think we need to differentiate between the showbiz writers (who are merely incompetent) and the corrupt journalists (who are a kitten short of evil).