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Hypocritical vultures

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dominique.cimafranca@gmail.com

DAVAO CITY — I have to hand it to broadcast media: the networks really know how to milk a situation for what it’s worth.

After their extensive live coverage of the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis which may have possibly –quite so very possibly — brought it to its bloody end, they’re now spending airtime to ask out loud if they might have done wrong.

Would that this public hand-wringing were truly sincere!

But from past history, whatever lessons may be learned from this tragedy will go conveniently out the window when the next scoop comes a-knockin’.

It’s not like this is the first time something like this has happened. Three years ago, a deranged man held his own wards hostage in the same area under similar circumstances. Since no one died then, I suppose there weren’t any lessons in media coverage worth learning?

And to cap off this dubious achievement, said deranged person became the subject of several interviews while the latest crisis was ongoing.

And now they talk of guidelines and rules: that perhaps, just perhaps, a news blackout might work for the best in critical situations.

But really, what’s new here? Didn’t ABS-CBN impose a news blackout when the Abu Sayyaf abducted their star reporter Ces Drilon? Didn’t they ask the same of the other news agencies? Since no ABS-CBN reporter was held hostage this time, I suppose they didn’t think a news blackout worth considering?

If only the broadcast media would come out quickly and decisively with a statement of regret, with a firm resolution to act responsibly in the future.

But no, what we get instead is an extended drama of self-justification drawn out, it seems, for the things that truly matters to the network: airtime, coverage, viewership, and self-promotion.

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