Government TV covered Teodoro most, ignored bottom dwellers

Written on March 18, 2010 – 1:41 am | by mediaandelections |

THE CMFR MONITOR OF MEDIA COVERAGE
OF THE 2010 ELECTIONS

BROADCAST DISCOURSE ANALYSIS
(For the Period Feb. 9-26, 2010)

Scope

The programs monitored were 24 Oras, Teledyaryo, and TV Patrol World. The programs 24 Oras (GMA-7) and TV Patrol (ABS-CBN 2) are the leading early evening newscasts in the country. Teledyaryo is aired over government-owned station NBN-4. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) analyzed the programs from Feb. 9 (when the  national campaign officially started) to 26.

CMFR analyzed the above programs’ reports on the presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial, and party-list elections. Reports about the elections in general, such as the country’s preparedness to undertake its first nationwide automated polls in May, as well as election rules, were  included in the monitor. Reports exclusively about local elections were not.

The news programs reported the presidential elections  most. As in print coverage of the first three weeks of the campaign, most reports about the vice-presidential and senatorial candidates were  limited to short soundbites about various controversies or reactions to these by party spokespersons in behalf of their presidential candidates.

The party-list elections were given minimal  coverage on TV.

About four in every 10 Teledyaryo reports on the presidential elections were about administration bet Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. However, it ignored  other candidates in the coverage.

In its coverage, Teledyaryo also showed bias in favor of Teodoro.


Number of reports

From Feb. 9-26, less than a third of the overall coverage of these three programs was devoted to the presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial, party-list elections and general issues about the campaign and upcoming elections–299 out of a total of 1,028 reports/items, or 29.09 percent. Many reports were not just on one category (for example, the presidential elections) but also on others (such as the vice-presidential or senatorial campaign) at the same time.

1 Number of Reports

TV Patrol had the most number of election-related reports (107) followed by 24 Oras (98) and Teledyaryo (94). However, in proportion to their news holes—or their total number of reports aired during the period—Teledyaryo aired more election-related reports (35.74 percent) than TV Patrol (30.66 percent) and 24 Oras (23.56 percent).

Clearly, the programs reported the presidential elections  most (164 times). General issues about the elections (such as fears of election fraud and election-related violence) took the second spot (131 times). The programs devoted almost equal coverage—if not far smaller compared with that of the presidential elections— to the vice-presidential (79) and senatorial elections (71). As in print coverage of the first three weeks of the campaign, most reports about the vice-presidential and senatorial candidates were  limited—over televeision,  to short soundbites about various controversies or reactions to these by party spokespersons in behalf of their presidential candidates. The parties’ platforms or views on policy issues were hardly discussed.

Issues related to party-list elections are not important, at least based on  the TV coverage in the first three weeks since  the national campaign  started.  The party-list elections were given minimal  coverage on TV (19 out of 299 election-related reports or 6.35 percent).

Placement

More than half (162 reports or 54.19 percent) of the election-related reports were treated as among the day’s biggest stories and aired during the programs’ first half. About four in every 10 reports (42.81) were aired during the second half. A small number (9 or 3.01 percent) were “banner” or lead stories.

2 Placement

Subjects

Many reports were on more than one candidate or group as news subjects.

The Nacionalista Party’s  Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. was the most covered presidential candidate with 74 reports (18.69 percent). Following Villar were administration candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro (59 reports or 14.9 percent) and the Liberal Party’s Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III (49 or 12.37 percent).

Former president Joseph Estrada was the fourth most covered candidate in terms of the number of reports,  although he was the top candidate in terms of airtime during the same period monitored (36.29 minutes; See “TV news devoted more air time to Joseph Estrada during the first weeks of the campaign”).

Villar, on the other hand, was not far behind Estrada in terms of airtime (34.51 minutes). Although television devoted the most airtime to Estrada during the period monitored, he got fewer reports than Villar. During the period monitored, Villar was a staple of primetime news, reacting to his rising survey ratings and/or responding to various controversies such as his excessive campaign spending, his seeking of endorsement by celebrities and religious groups, and his alleged involvement in the C-5 road extension project controversy.

Other candidates were the subjects of fewer reports: Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon (39); evangelist Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva (35); Ang Kapatiran Party’s and Gordon’s nephew John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes (33); and Sen. Ma. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal (31). The least-covered candidates were economist Jesus Nicanor “Nick” Pelas (23) and Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan’s Vetellano “Dodong” Acosta (11) who was later disqualified by the Commission on Elections after the period monitored.

During the period monitored, Teledyaryo completely ignored candidates such as Gordon, De los Reyes, Perlas, and Acosta. About four in every 10 Teledyaryo reports (39.62 percent) on the presidential elections were about Teodoro.

Some reports tried to move beyond the usual diary-type, straight-news reporting of the campaign. One example was a 24 Oras report last Feb. 10 which tackled the Hacienda Luisita controversy, an issue that has been consistently linked with Aquino, including the stock distribution option that was offered to the farmers in 1988 in exchange for land ownership.

3 Presidential Candidates

Among the vice-presidential candidates, Loren Legarda was the most covered candidate (24 reports) while rival Manuel “Mar” Roxas occupied the second spot at 19. Their ranking in terms of reports was consistent with their ranking in terms of airtime. Like some of the presidential candidates, TV programs gave scant coverage of the lesser-known candidates. Teledyaryo did not report anything about vice-presidential candidates Bayani Fernando, Jose “Jay” Sonza, and Dominador “Jun” Chipeco Jr. during the period monitored.

4 Vice Presidential Candidates

Compared with the coverage of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, the coverage of the senatorial candidates—all 61 of them—were scant, and when it occurred, perfunctory.

Most senatorial candidates were covered primarily for their reactions to various controversies—usually involving their presidential candidates. More often than not, their stand or opinion on various issues was hardly solicited at all. A Feb. 19 TV Patrol report proved one worthy exception when it adequately focused on reelectionist Juan Ponce Enrile’s position on the per-pulse billing rate for cellular phones. Teledyaryo’s Feb. 25 report about a law authored by another reelectionist, Sen. Lito Lapid, also reported the law’s salient features.

5 Senatorial Candidates

There was some coverage of the controversies involving party-list groups and their candidates, especially those accused of being administration or opposition fronts. Some groups, such as Bayan Muna, were also reported for filing disqualification cases against certain party-list groups that are allegedly dummies of Malacañang.

Beyond the controversies however, not much coverage was given to the programs, if any, of the 187 party-list groups currently running, or whether they really represent marginalized sectors. Substantive coverage of party-list candidates was absent.

This lack of serious coverage about the party-list elections, an appalling trend in the coverage of previous elections, is at the expense of an electorate, the majority of which still does not know about the party-list elections.

According to the January 2010 pre-election survey for party-list group preference by polling institution Pulse Asia, nearly seven out of 10 Filipinos are “unaware” of the party-list system—even if the survey was conducted just four months before the first nationwide automated elections. The Pulse Asia survey found  this low level of awareness despite Filipinos’ having voted for party-list groups five times since 1998, when the party-list elections were first introduced. Pulse Asia added that the current level of awareness of the party list system is the lowest so far among the group’s surveys on the issue since early 2004.

6 Partylist groups

Themes

As in the coverage of previous elections, most TV reports focused on the campaign of the candidates—their latest campaign sorties, their strategies, and day-to-day activities (116 times). Aside from being repetitious, this logbook-type of reporting does not help inform the public about the issues  in these elections. Neither do they even come close to suggesting the reasons why the electorate should vote for a candidate.

Issues such as the rules and regulations of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on campaign spending or political advertisements were reported 51 times.

7 Themes
Development/policy issues were reported 36 times during the period monitored, but were insufficiently discussed. Such reports often merely mentioned that the candidates, especially if in debates or special programs, “discussed” issues related to development or policy (such as peace and order, the economy, and agriculture) without substantively explaining or airing even the main points of these candidates’ “discussions” or their positions.

8 Most Reported Devt Policy Issues
The three programs also reported other issues. Among the most reported were the endorsement by celebrities of various candidates  (14 times), the citizen journalism initiatives by ABS-CBN 2  (reported in TV Patrol seven times), and efforts by various media organizations (such as ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7) to educate voters on this year’s elections and to help assure its integrity and transparency (seven times).

9 Most Reported Other Issues


Sources

The most covered presidential candidate in terms of reports, Villar, was also the top source of information on the presidential elections with 30 reports. He was closely followed by Aquino (27), Teodoro (27), and Estrada (25).

10 Presidential Candidates as Sources

Legarda and Roxas were the most quoted vice-presidential candidates as well.

11 Vice Presidential Candidates as Sources


Backgrounding

About three in every five reports during the period monitored (182 out of 299 reports or 60.87 percent) provided some background information on the issues they reported. About 38.47 percent (115 reports) lacked background information. Two items did not have background as they merely flashed the faces of candidates onscreen.

12 Background

Slant

An overwhelming majority of the reports was neutral. Out of 299 reports, 234 (or 78.26 percent) were considered neutral. Only 48 reports (16.05 percent) had a positive slant, while  18 (6.02 percent)  had a negative slant. Teledyaryo had the highest number of slants in terms of frequency (31 positive and eight negative slants) and in terms of proportion to the total number of election-related reports (41.05 percent)

13 Slant

Teledyaryo unabashedly showed its bias to administration bet Teodoro (13 times).

14 Positive Slant

Villar received six negatively slanted reports from all three programs (2 in each)  while Aquino received three negatively slanted reports from 24 Oras (one) and Teledyaryo (two).

15 Negative Slant

Download the report here (in Word or PDF).

CMFR Monitor of the News Media Coverage of 2013 Elections

Given the special nature of the 2013 campaign and elections, the media’s role as credible and critical sources of information and analysis during the election season bears watching. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is monitoring the news media coverage of the 2013 campaign and elections in the context of both the special circumstances in which they were taking place, and the opportunity for improved and meaningful reporting and analysis the exercise offered to the Philippine media. 

CMFR has been monitoring media coverage of Philippine elections since 1992, and in every instance has made recommendations towards the improvement of media coverage. These efforts have not been unrewarded. Changes in media coverage incorporating some of the recommendations of the CMFR monitor in 2004 were evident, for example, in the media coverage of the 2007 elections.


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