HOW NEWS IS FORMED
There was a specific line in the movie Spiderman which may describe modern day media reportage. It was a dialogue between the editor of a newspaper and his reporter. Their verbal exchanges began thus.
“What do you mean this hooded thing is doing the public a favor!!!?” the editor blurted out. The reporter snapped back meekly, “But sir, he is making good in his crusade and the people must know the truth.”
The editor hurled back, a crumpled report on his hand and declared, “You have made him a name because he is good, now make him bad!”
No wonder, our newspapers would contain snippets of good accomplishments made by some obscure personalities, until the public notices merits and distinction. Reporters would haunt tail and stalk the performing asset and public adulation follows. Behind the trailing reporter is another correspondent, the investigative and snoopy kind. He is fishing for bits of information that would lead to the weakness, perceived flaw, drawbacks, even stain in the past of the person so that when he achieves a certain degree of prominence, an information on any defect, imagined or otherwise, will make headlines and as commerce dictate, newspaper would sell like the proverbial hot cakes. Thereupon, media can have its cake and eat it too!
This happened to Al Capone, a small time, street corner gangster who gained notoriety due to his deadly exploits. Because of reports about his charity and mysterious gang land operations, he became an urban legend. Not long after, with a name already introduced in society pages, government moved in and charged him, not for murder, because his lawyers were quick to the draw, but for tax evasion, because he had a poor auditor. He was subsequently charged and incarcerated. He died in prison as a non entity while serving time. A few years later, he would be featured in a block buster film and the film producer along with his media outfit would have the last laugh.
Locally, there was this street urchin who would regale pedestrians with his acrobatic tricks and when as soon as he would be able to draw public attention, he would strike and snatch everything that fancied him, from wrist watches to shoulder bag, then run until he would be lost in the sea of humanity.
A newbie tabloid reporter, who was then passing through, was intrigued with the juvenile and made a feature about the exploits of the youngster. Journalists from other papers joined the fabled exploits and named the teenager as “Ben Tumbling.”
Ben Tumbling’s deeds and daring acts became a staple in tabloid. It was picked up also by mainstream newspapers. His feats were almost overblown until law enforcement units were formed just to neutralize a kid who served as embarrassment to them. Weeks past, newspapers were selling like discounted pizza, until the imagined happened. Ben Tumbling was cornered and slain. Here was a case where a lowly felon got prominence bordering on exaltation by the masses until he reached the end of the line and was taken down.
Feeling obscure? No recognition? Let it be.
Lest one may aspire to be an urban legend one day, let him observe first how news is formed.
“Pasisikatin ka muna, tapos titirahin ka na nila.” (“You will be made as a toast of the town first, and later you will be toasted.”)
Therefore, beware of the ides of media.
Posted on September 14, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged current-events, government, hot cakes, human-rights, law enforcer, politics, public perception, society, transportation, trivial concern. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.