May 17, 2016
Reviewing Campaign Coverage
NEWS MEDIA plays a significant role in the campaign period. News and commentary, investigative reports and factual accounts contribute to the positive or negative projection of a candidate, the manipulation of public perception and the formation of opinion.
Earlier monitors pointed out weaknesses, the absence of vital information about candidates for the Senate where now new faces have edged out tried and tested politicians. Virtually unknown to the public, these won on the basis of ubiquitous campaign ads.
Journalists did not apply investigative skills to validate claims for or charges against a candidate. The few exposes were dependent on leaks and the sources found by other opponents.
Generally, reporters were satisfied to simply record the heated exchange of opponents.
The four monitors of election reporting focused on nine newspapers and three TV news programs (ABS-CBN 2’s TV Patrol, GMA-7’s 24 Oras, and TV5’s Aksyon). Unfortunately, these did not include columns nor did it capture the biases which ran rampant in a number of public affairs programs, and talk-show hosts.
Neither could we cover the positions taken by key political bloggers and the vicious manipulative effect of the social media. These were significant inputs that the voter had to sort out in choosing a candidate. Unfortunately, CMFR did not have the means to its review beyond May 9.
TV news and most news accounts generally maintained a measure of neutrality in their reports. Different candidates were subject of negative reports based on developments and revelations which placed them in bad light, but these were not consistently
against one person. 2016 did not see any collective position by the major organizations against a candidate as the community did against Joseph Estrada in 2000.
CMFR found mainstream media coverage strikingly tame, if not banal and outright boring. Print reports resorted to “he-said, she said” leaving it to the candidates to criticize, cuss, or threaten one another with potential suits.
Dominated by reports from the campaign trail, the daily feed from the field failed to provide helpful information about the candidate. Campaign teams were largely invisible. Embedded media clearly failed to get more face-time with the candidate, which they could have used to get deeper into issues. The news convention did not reveal aspects of administration and management which clearly reflect strengths and weaknesses…[Read more]
TELEVISION RATHER than social media was the main source of public information on election-related developments during the 2016 campaign and elections. It was not only due to television’s still having the longest reach (90 percent of the population) of all the media compared to that of the Internet, to which 46 percent of the population has access…[Read more]
CMFR HAS monitored election coverage since 1992, publishing reports in 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2010. Deeply troubling issues in 2016 compelled a close monitoring of media coverage.
First, JejomarBinay seemed an unstoppable force in 2015 as he projected his run despite _ Senate hearings into charges of corruption. Second, the son of Ferdinand Marcos seeking the second highest post reflected the nation’s still unresolved judgment of the dictatorship and Martial Law…[Read More]
No Religious Vote
LAST MAY 1, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) released a “pastoral appeal in the spirit of our love of God and country”. According to the appeal, “The Catholic Church has never asked any political candidate to seek its endorsement, but the Catholic Church has always demanded of Catholic voters…[Read More]