Aquino slams news delivery during TV network’s bash

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02:28 AM July 29th, 2012

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July 29th, 2012 02:28 AM

President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Why greet viewers a “Magandang gabi, bayan (Good evening, nation)” when you’re dishing out bad news?

President Benigno Aquino III on Friday night lashed out at executives, producers and staff of ABS-CBN’s “TV Patrol” for highlighting the negative in their early evening news program during the show’s silver anniversary celebration at the Manila Hotel.

Mr. Aquino was particularly alluding to the program’s news main anchor, former Vice President Noli de Castro, whom he criticized for what he called his skeptical, out-of-place snide remarks about otherwise good stories by the field reporters.

Mr. Aquino said that in October 2011, the program aired a story about a 200-percent spike in passenger arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

‘Good news’

“This is good news. In spite of this, one of your news anchors managed to comment, and I quote, ‘Nasa Naia 3 ka kasi; kung nasa Naia 1 ka, doon malala (That’s because you’re in Naia 3. If you were in Naia 1, it’s terrible there),’” he said.

“It made me wonder, what has the report about Naia 3 got to do with Naia 1? Has anybody said Naia has been fixed? If someone did, it’s not us. Perhaps he has forgotten the structure is 30 years old,” the President said in Filipino.

“It got me to thinking: Didn’t the commentator hold the reins of government for six years? Let’s say they only inherited the problem. But what they passed on to us is a much older problem. He had been given six years to help fix the problem he’s complaining about. And now that we’re dealing with the problem, we still hear comments like that and it hurts,” the President said.

Praise for ‘TV Patrol’

Mr. Aquino spoke before a crowd of ABS-CBN executives, led by chair and chief executive officer Gabby Lopez, president Charo Santos-Concio and news and current affairs division head Ging Reyes as well as officials and staff of “TV Patrol” in the hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion.

Mr. Aquino started off on a light note, recalling how as a youngster, he used to tune in to “Radyo Patrol” for instant news especially when the power had been cut off by a storm.

He praised “TV Patrol” for its courage and determination in bringing news and information to the public, especially in times of disasters, for the past 25 years and being the source of accurate reporting “when there are doubts in the minds of the public about certain issues.”

But for most of his speech, he zeroed in on De Castro’s remarks on some of the stories, including last month’s rescue of an abducted Burmese boy by the National Bureau of Investigation and the dialogue between Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas and public transport drivers on the transport fare hike.

Burmese boy rescue

The rescue had all the elements of a good story: The authorities got a tip, and they acted on it, rescuing the victim and the boy was reunited with his parents, Mr. Aquino said.

“Everybody was happy except our anchor who managed to remark that maybe the rescue operation was set up and that a ransom was paid,” Mr. Aquino said.

“No matter how the reporter explained the operation—that the NBI conducted its own surveillance and that they had chanced upon the boy without anybody guarding him—the anchor kept pushing his point,” he said.

“Surely, while patrolling every nook and cranny of the country, you’d stumble upon a positive story that could be a source of inspiration and hope for our countrymen. It’s doubtful that if you air this news, the TV and radio sets of your avid listeners would go on fire,” the President said.

He clarified that he was not asking the network to project a good image of the administration but to present a balance of good and bad news.

First posted 4:53 pm | Saturday, July 28th, 201

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