Politics and the 24 Hour Media Culture: The War of the Words

by Caela

Throughout the years, we saw how the face of politics evolved in the face of globalization and the 24 hour scrutiny of the media. The politics of the 21st century is as much about presentation as about policies and platforms. It became necessary for politicians not only to be running under good policies and platform but also on propaganda; charisma, grace under pressure, communication skills, the ability to put up with 24 hours a day and seven days a week scrutiny, and the ability to play the politics of the international stage became indispensable qualities. In the wake of the 24-hour media culture, everything is on the record: every word, every bill, every controversy, every move or setback or progress, every decision and indecision is scrutinized or criticized.

Masters of communication, charisma, presence, centrism, action and conviction, they are the new breed of politicians dominating the international political stage. The wake of 24 hours of coverage has placed politics and politicians in the eyes of continuous scrutiny no longer merely in the areas of policies, leadership kills and decisions but on their personal life as well. Never in the world’s history had both the private and public lives of public figures became more public and open to scrutiny by the press and publicly dissected by publications, blogs and online forums. And yet, never in the history of the world were the tough questions often placed to one side and that the media’s commitment to truth is tainted by its biases as character-assassination, slander, mockery, moral pissing and criticism becomes its most favorite sports. Thus the ability to deal with the media had been an integral — if not essential — part of the qualities needed to succeed in today’s politics.

They say the battles of World War II were fought not in battle fields but in secret rooms by mathematicians, cryptographers and cryptanalysts. I guess it is now fitting to say that the real wars of our age are fought in newsrooms and broadcasts. During World War II, the most important weapon was secret communication (cryptography). Now, the most important weapon is public communication (mass media). The war in Iraq may have been won militarily but lost in the newsrooms and broadcasts as citizens of the Allied Forces repeatedly called upon the resignation of their leaders and withdrawal of their troops. And most Governments of the Allied Forces have lost their case for the justification of the war not against its people but the liberal media.

Today’s media no longer demands us to ask the important question but rather makes us listens to what they think we should think, imposing views and opinion to the general population. And we all seem vulnerable against the glint of their pens, the flashes of their cameras and the powers of their microphones — they can build and destroy reputations in an instant, turn the population against any law or office or belittle and discredit any progress being made. And as lawmakers cast around for shield against their power, the Right of Reply Bill emerges. Yet even if it seem that this can easily be won in the august halls of the legislative bodies, we see the fight being taken into the newsrooms, newspaper pages and blogs.

>>Right of Reply Bill in the Philippines
>>Read the Unified Statement of the Philippine Press

Politics and Media share a lot of things in common and the rules in surviving both camp is tough. And the stark difference is this: one group asked us to place them there, elected as either our leader or representative or both, while the other made their own way there. But both claim to represent the people’s trust and interests.

In this time and age, who are the real bullies who taunt and provoke but cry oppression when taken to the task of their cruelty? Who will stand up to their convictions in the face of being at the receiving end of their own weapons? Who often take the consequences of their actions calmly and responsibly and who are often kicking and screaming and making lame excuses?

One Response to “Politics and the 24 Hour Media Culture: The War of the Words”
  1. A well meaning troll says:

    Very well said.. I come from the Philippines and have heard of the proposed right of reply bill.. and the some of the arguments of its critics.. I’m surprised that there are very few non-media or non-politicians actually airing their opinions about this bill.. or even debating about it online.. Neither the News Media or The Government have full control of the Internet.. It’s good to see someone sharply pointing out the flaws of Media alongside Politics.

    I support neither the Politicians nor the Media in this issue..

    Politicians should be focusing on passing bills that promote the economy and the nation.. a global economic flux is looming and they’re passing a bill to protect their reputation and to filibuster via media??

    And the Media has progressively grown more rabid and somewhat cunning.. Sure they’ve also printed the letters from the affected individuals or follow-up articles, but it’s usually printed in page 99 of section Z, or some other remote part of the paper readers cannot be bothered with.. The Media will espouse, discuss and air talks about Ethical Media.. but really, will junking this bill render and keep Media Ethics as something merely academic?

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