It was crab talk at the two-day 16th National Press Forum of the Philippine Press Institute at the Traders Hotel. President Aquino, who was the keynote speaker, was the one who started it when he began his talk with a childhood anecdote about Filipino crabs:
"Ayon po sa kuwento, narinig ko po sa aking ama, sa loob daw po ng isang bar, umiinom ang isang Amerikano. Pumasok ang isang mangingisdang Pilipino na may dalang timba na puno ng alimango. Ibinaba niya ito, at ang sabi po ng Amerikano: "Buddy, your crabs are about to escape." Tiningnan lang po ng Pilipino. Ang sagot ng Pilipino, "Don't bother and don't fret; they're Filipino crabs. Before they get out, they'll be pulled back in." Walang raw pong makakaangat, kasi lahat sila naghahatakan pababa. Habang pinipilit ng ilang kababayan nating makaahon, siya namang sipag ng ilan na hilain siyang pababa."
All throughout his speech, he was whining about media not highlighting the accomplishments of his almost two year administration. He said it seems that foreign media care more about Philippine national interest citing the Newsweek report of Philippines standing up to China on the conflicting territorial claims and Time Magazine's article saying, "The laggard of Asia is recovering the dynamism it had in the 1960s."
He cited specific reports which he found inaccurate and one was the erroneous tweet of Edu Manzano (he didn't mention Edu) that he was on a date with Korean radio and TV host Grace Lee in Greenhills when the truth was he was presiding a NEDA board meeting.
The President didn't mention that Edu immediately corrected the tweet. He went on to say about a broadcast network picking up the wrong tweet.
"Pero ano ba ang umugong sa media? Na nakipag-date daw ako. May nagkusa man lang po bang kumuha ng panig namin bago ito inere? Ang network pong nagbalita nito, may reporter na bahagi ng Malacañang Press Corps. Sana na-text man lang nila ang kanilang reporter at pinatignan at inutusang dumungaw sa bintana para tingnan kung umalis ba ang aking convoy. Kung hindi naman po, sa kabilang bintana, puwede namang tignan kung nandoon ang mga sasakyan ng mga secretary ng ating gabinete. Mukhang mas ganado silang bumanat muna, at noong nalaman nilang nakuryente sila, saka na lang sila humingi ng pasensya. May patutsada pang siguro raw ay magaan ang trabaho noong araw na iyon kaya kaya kong mag-date.
"Kayo po lumagay sa sitwasyon ko. Napakahirap ho ba n'ong may reporter kang embedded, nandoon supposed to be, tatanungin mo lang, "Nandiyan ba o wala?" Hindi na pwedeng, o hindi na kailangang tanungin—basta "ere na natin ito." Nasaan na kaya iyong kunin ang magkabilang panig?"
Isn't there no other media inaccuracy of national interest that he had to cite this as an example?
Aquino is acting like a spoiled brat. Doesn't he realize that, in general, media has been good to him considering that his first two years have not really been outstanding.
The late Salvador P. Lopez, journalist and statesman said it best about media's role in societ: "Basically, the journalist is required to inform the people — and to inform them correctly and consistently and (as is often demanded) courageously with the end in view of enabling the people to properly understand what goes on and impelling them to act on situations and problems more than as mere individuals but as a nation."
It is not media's role to make the government, even though how popular, look good. The government has the resources to do that. He has Press Secretary Heminio Coloma, Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang, Spokesman Edwin Lacierda And many others to do that for him.
Crab talk continued on the second day of the forum. Wally Panganiban, director for media affairs of Coca —Cola Export Corporation said, who said that said more than the crab mentality, he is more concerned the culture of indifference which he said is the root of the culture of impunity that is what many are complaining about.
Rather than heaping the blame on media Panganiban, said "The media we have is the media we deserve."
"All of us, the informed, uniformed, misinformed and wrongfully informed PUBLIC, are responsible for the state of the Philippine media that we find it in today.However, the bigger responsibility falls under those of us who are properly informed," he said.
He said it is s incumbent upon those, the informed, to challenge the media-" demand for a better, more responsible and truly accountable press that will provide timely, relevant, and accurate information that will empower, the rest of us who are uninformed, misinformed, and dis-informed. "
He also challenged the business sector.
Panganiban said Ad spending for the year 2011 as compiled by AC Nielsen amounted to P 190.02 billion ($ 4.41B).
He asked: "How much did these advertisers shell out to support media development programs by the UNJP, CMFR, PPI, KBP, PCIJ, VERA Files and other media development groups?"
Panganiban asked the sad question:"Could it be that they do not see any problem with the media at all? Or could it also be because in one way or another the advertisers too are INDIFFERENT to the plight of Philippine media?"