Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Is there anybody out there who can tell me the news without selling me anything?

A few years back a giant broadcasting network prohibited its news anchors from endorsing products outside their network time. So most of the anchors, who probably made a killing endorsing canned tuna, brandy, and the like, grudgingly obliged. A popular couple left the network, moved to the rival network, and sued the old network for illegal dismissal. Last I heard, they lost the case. But I thought for a while that this entire episode in Philippine television was a triumph of ethics. Advertising is advertising, and news is news. If you have news anchors doing advertisement, it blurs the divide, and you run the risk of the public being led to believe that their product endorsements are news.

Of course, I was dead wrong. It was a triumph of network business bullies, instead. It appears that what they are doing now is worse. They are injecting advertisement directly into the news. This morning this lady reporter doing the traffic news tried to sell skin protection products while appearing to be doing a feature on traffic reporting. Before her segment went on air, the studio anchor introduced the traffic girl, and said that the reporter had something important to say. I popped up the volume a little, because I wanted to know if the number coding system was suspended today (it is). Then she went on air, telling us how she starts her report, where she stays during her Edsa Kamuning report, the difficulties in doing the traffic report, and concluded that, because of the heat, she had to use this skin protection lotion. I asked myself what the ...?

Another segment was introduced by the news anchor about a reporter who was in the bus terminal in Araneta Center Cubao, Quezon City. She started with the report on the people in the terminal and concluded with the PLDT Goldmine promo, which gave a chance for people who recruit PLDT subscribers to earn cash commissions and PHP 1 Million in a raffle. I shook my head, and decided it was time to blog this.

Last night, I was watching the early evening news of the same network, and I overheard an entire segment about what was happening in the telenovela being aired by the network. Since when has telenovela plotlines been news? Of course, that's an advertisement of the telenovela (which is probably heavy with advertisement itelf).

So indeed what might be happening now is that the network is cornering the endorsement business from the advertisers with such a clever scheme: putting the advertisement directly into the news. Too bad for the anchors, and too bad for the public.


bambit said...

that's primetime news for you. you can be sure that the top two networks will be into the thing tooth and nail. i have my own gripes about primetime news too, i'd like your opinion if you have the time to drop by.

marvin said...

Primetime TV news is so sick.You can tell very well tht they're just in it for the money.

Major Tom said...

Hi Marvin,...This is one scathing observation of our media right now. It's been going on like that for sometime now and it had to be a lawyer to really notice it and highlight the seeming incongruity. Not too mention is the double standard practiced by some station, allowing some of its news talent to peddle alcohol while preventing others to harp some detergent products.

saltnsteel said...

gabby lopez and f. gozon sat together during the media nation 2 seminar in tagaytay last month. all tv, newspapers and radio were represented. both promised to air more news and less trash, gozon more than lopez. i guess both lied through their teeth.
and i had such high hopes hearing them, dammit.

jove said...

The power to switch channels is STILL in our own hands. Get that remote and surf... you'll be surprised,there is still hope. I once told somebody, support channels with news programs that try to adhere to what is right and ethical, because if people won’t support them, sooner or later, they will have to go the way of the others who rate but are not necessarily okay.