The days of mainstream media, or MSM, are gone with the nature and development of social media and the ability of a content creator to create news on an hourly basis. And these developments have pushed more transparency and accountability to leaders, officials and politicians because any second someone can just post things in the public arena and drill it to trend.
Note: This column originally appeared in The Manila Times on December 3, 2019.
Fake news is a “form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media (print and broadcast) or online social media.” Fake news is “written and published usually with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest, or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership. Similarly, click-bait stories and headlines earn advertising revenue from this activity.”
The days of mainstream media, or MSM, are gone with the nature and development of social media and the ability of a content creator to create news on an hourly basis. And these developments have pushed more transparency and accountability to leaders, officials and politicians because any second someone can just post things in the public arena and drill it to trend. These would need a straight answer from the individuals concerned, who are in the so-called eye of the news. The only problem with that is if the communicators are not proactive and are too late to respond, the event or individual is framed, leading to a crisis of epic proportions.
The more heat, the more emotional, the more traction is made. The intent is to rile the base and to start a pick-up fight online. The push-pull is seen in every news arc that is maliciously peddled. Take the case of a journo who throws a jab at every framing authored. The insult is in-your-face and invites everyone to react. The best solution to such a push is a non-response, but some would fall into the trap. The art of pivoting has not been practiced and head-on responses have always been the way to go.
Because of fake news, misinformation and alternative truths, propaganda is easier and spinning need not be carefully planned, unlike before. Then, everything had to be laid out, horizons planned, scenario-building completed and exit strategies mapped out. Today, the only thing one needs to do is to spread the virus and pollute the channels and voila, the swarm exponentially encompasses the landscape of news. That is what happened in the days leading up to the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
From the cauldron design and price to the uniforms to the now famous kikiam to the check-in to assigned hotels to the vehicles that ferried athletes. There is the fake Biñan football stadium, the fake makeshift press center, the use of the Nepal sports facility as the Aquatic center and the PH flag as a cover mantle, among others. Much has been said. And in the rampage to destroy the pre-opening, some of the MSMs went berserk and became reckless. Good thing Filipinos today are discerning, they see through the fakery and call them out.
Social media guidelines have been issued in relation to the SEA Games coverage, covering the postings of journalists in their official capacities and their personal postings in the “first-person, diary-type format.” This is a welcome development to distinguish what is official and what is personal. Surely, the journalists would know the difference. Journalism ethics need to be reviewed since broadcasters and reporters are no longer just personalities; some are celebrities and to that extent the priming has changed. The gray line between reporters and celebrities has blurred.
The fact checkers are silent (gone?), proving that their roles have been compromised. And with the “always on beta” social media applications, netizens are now picking up the slack and are becoming vanguards to make the collective shout-outs, a truly self-regulating, user-based approach. This is a good development the light of some media practitioners becoming propagandists in the real sense of the word. Imagine the country being depicted as a “war zone.” The label has been made against the country which has extended the very freedoms they enjoy. The sad part is that the map of the country is now the dart board and with the practice sessions, the board is riddled with holes to the detriment of Filipinos.
Good news does not sell in this country. Bad news is a multimillion industry and during political campaign season, it can be a billion more. It becomes an engaging enterprise when a leader is elected outside of their class and the leader is a charging bull intent on changing the terrain completely. The gatekeepers got sidetracked.
The groundswell will continue. The inflections will not revert to traditional media and print will see its bright days about to end. Convergence has pushed everyone online. Adapt or die is the mantra on acceleration, even in governance. As has been said time and time again, “tapping into the power of social technologies isn’t about mastering the latest shiny technology; it is actually about having a clear idea of the relationship individuals want to form.” Plato remains succinct to this day: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS