Monday, July 06, 2009

News "High Light":

On Michael Jackson and the News Media*

Today's media has once again proved its character of being celebrity-centered. When Michael Jackson's death was confirmed, American media outlets were in a rush to get the latest buzz dealing with stories on what triggered the death of the pop legend. They were eager to scrutinize the premises of the late icon including their initiatives prior to police investigations. They even demanded to get the statements of Jackson's family on specific issues which were beyond people's concern. I must agree that one of the most publicly recognized profiles of today's media is telling what the people wanted to know (or should I say, what the people wanted to hear). All of these, the luminaries say are grounded on the public's right to know, right to information and right to be informed principles -- these concepts were overstretched, were given extreme interpretation that they no longer suffice the real concept of journalism for the people but rather journalism to gain greater media mileage by way of advertisement-catch and household ratings.

Martin Bashir, a British news correspondent, filmed a documentary entitled "Living with Michael Jackson." Bashir fronted MJ with a commitment to air his story and nothing more, but in its official airtime, MJ and viewers were surprised to see the fabricated and twisted story of Jackson. This surfaced issues on childhood, career, music, relationships the controversial Neverland Ranch, child molestation cases, facial surgery and other matters of personal life. It was only proven then when a take two entitled, "MJ: The Videos You Were Never Meant to See" was aired, this time using the "savior" camera of MJ himself which captured the details of Bashir's interview including conversations when Bashir's camera crew was off. This documentary served as a rebuttal to the alleged first manipulated film. It was further revealed that Bashir cut and spliced most of his interview clips to favor his projected storyline. Not to mention his pleasing statements on the actual interview, which were turned into harsh words in his documentary. Without a doubt, this example showed the downlay of legitimate news to favor scoops which will arouse public interest -- doing it the unethical, sensationalized, unprofessional way. Lessons from which must be learned and applied.

Jackson's superstardom plagued with wins and controversies up to his sudden death merely shows how news media has become an instrument to either denounce or promote personalities and events. Too bad for it, that it seems that this kind of media treatment is favored by the people, as what TV ratings show. There are many stories to ponder on, especially the stories which are not given ample space in the realm with greater opportunity -- the worthy stories of the marginalized and the oppressed. Responsible journalism is the provision of objective and fair information which will help shape socio-political consciouness and opinion; foster an enabling environment to perform the public's citizen-critic duty and maintain the essence of press freedom as a hallmark of genuine democracy -- by these we are assured that the "right to be informed, right to information and public's right to know" clauses are properly staged.

*a manifestation of bourgeois journalism

No comments: