The Power of the Media24.04.10
Aired on April 24, 2010
Narration by Baben Lumapas
THE POWER OF THE MEDIA
There was a time in the history of Philippine politics when only families with great wealth and wide political influence contended for power at the national level. Only a handful of families had the resources and the connections to forge hundreds of alliances at the local levels and maintain the political machinery necessary to run national campaigns.
Well, the rules seem to have changed. And the media is largely to blame. As we’re witnessing in the current presidential elections, it is now possible for candidates to grab a substantial share of potential votes by running the campaign the way one sells shampoo or mobile phones on TV.
We have observed the increasing influence of media over the past twenty years, as several entertainment celebrities started running for office and winning big time. Politics was no longer the exclusive domain of society’s elite. Politicians were reduced from highly respected people with larger than life personas into celebrities you watch on TV. Eventually, the lines between politicians and entertainers were blurred. Soon, celebrities crossed-over effortlessly from entertaining to politicking, using the media to their advantage.
Unfortunately, in this crazy media game, the playing field is still not equal. Influence may have shifted away from a few elite families to a larger number of other celebrities. But access to power is still relatively limited to those with money. All the other candidates who are not so endowed with resources or a strong brand image are at a serious disadvantage.Yes, media can be a great tool for political influence. But until the use of media by candidates is regulated effectively, it will favor only the candidates with billions of pesos to spend. It will be the favored tool of the new elite — of media savvy celebrities-cum-politicians — who wish to market their way into power. And it will be one more hurdle to hinder the qualified but poorer candidates from being voted into office.
So again, the challenge for us is to NOT be swayed by those with power, money or fame. Man may look at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart. We too should look past all the hype and glamor to prayerfully vote for those who are truly qualified in character, conviction and conduct.
Portions written by Caloy Diño, Director for Domestic Broadcast –FEBC Philippines and ISACC Fellow on Media