Quote of the Day

“When politicians can predict confidently which events and comments will ring reportorial bells, media professionals are deprived of opportunities to exercise their own judgment.”


Lifted from Gurevitch, M., & Blumler, J. (1990). Political communication systems and democratic values. In J. Lichtenberg (Ed.), Democracy and the mass media (pp. 24-35). New York: Cambridge University Press.

The media and the demigod named Willie

The media, old and new, have been understandably harsh on Willie Revillame, a former has-been television host who found a resuscitated career through variety shows that combined sleaze and dole-outs. He again earned the ire of many people, including those from the same business where he belongs, for making fun of a boy who was macho-dancing while on the verge of crying. Child abuse, critics say. What made things worse was Willie’s remarks that the boy had to endure shame for some money for his poor family. That spoke of his concept of public service.

Of course Willie thinks the brouhaha is unfair. Critics are just jealous, he points out. It is really easy to hate him. He owns mansions, holds parties on a yacht, and drives the most expensive cars. The poor worships him, a man notorious for how he treats women. The vicious media attacks, surprisingly not from his former television station, may already be excessive, considering that the incident is not as bad as his previous misdemeanors.

It is not entirely Willie’s fault, however. The same media system that despises him is the same system that gave him demigod status. His show is not a rarity in local television. The system tolerated, if not promoted, mendicancy. The system promoted, if not facilitated, the creation of human pseudo-events like Willie. What we are seeing now is something expected but overdue: The media system is a self-correcting ecology. But for a system composed of people who command great power, the farce should not have gone this far.