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Aug 22

Ethics in the media

You can read the full text of a recent speech by Teddyboy Locsin here: ABS-CBNNEWS.COM

Among his more pungent thoughts:

I would hazard that the mass media keeps committing ethical breaches because it is so intimately a part of the society it mirrors. The general moral decline of society is not a development that the media can arrest but a fate it must necessarily share. Media has never risen higher than the public it panders to — except on those rare occasions when it rises to the level of patriotism; such as the Propaganda Movement that drove out Spain; the campaign that committed the US to our independence; underground press that kept alive the spirit of anti-Japanese resistance and the anti-Marcos martial law struggle when the media rose above its nature to become not a mirror of society but an object of its respect.

People tend to lower their ethical standards because they look at morality not as an absolute criterion but as a national mean: if the majority of the people have low scores in upright living, then the national passing score must be lowered. The bad don’t sink in moral terms without dragging everyone else down with them — especially when, by being bad, they seem to materially profit.

That leads to my second conclusion. The tendency to adopt a flexible or “de goma� set of norms partly springs from the fact that everywhere they look, people see the gatekeepers, the rule-makers, violating the norms more egregiously than all the rest, whether it is a priest playing with the sacristan, the politician playing fast and loose with the rules he makes, the public official engaged in plunder, the journalist, publisher and editor who best exemplify the corruption they denounce.

All of these elements, while working separately, together contribute to the massive national rot they should be fighting against rather than adding to.

This process of building up rot has gone on for decades and has resulted in the steady lowering of the national bar of morals.

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