The Fifth Estate?

IMG_8359.PNGDon’t get me wrong. I have the highest regard for the Fourth Estate (News Media) and its role of being the watchdog of government, the vanguard of truth and the catalyst for positive change.

But when some in the news media do not live up to the public’s expectation of accuracy, fairness and impartiality, then I begin to question whether the Fourth Estate has betrayed our trust or worse, is past its time.

There should not be a liberal media or a conservative media. There should only be the news media.

In this age where citizen journalism is taking the reins of electronic communication, we can only expect the Fourth Estate to do an even better job of asserting itself on a role in which it has the best expertise, or so we think.

How we wish there would be more of the likes of the Boston Globe news team as portrayed in the film, “Spotlight,” and less of the Edward Snowdens or Julian Assanges.

Wouldn’t it be nice if “investigative journalists” like Raissa Robles or the staff of Rappler were our source of #LeniLeaks, rather than the Thinking Pinoys, the Sass Rogando Sasots or the Mocha Uson Blogs?

Why should the Inquirer, ABS-CBN and GMA News wait it out before they finally devote some space or airtime on significant news that The Manila Times, Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star have headlined days before, just because it has something negative to do with politicians or personalities they favor?

And why on earth would some in the news media spend so much time complaining about having less social media followers or engagements than non-journalist netizens instead on focusing on the real work they’re supposed to be doing?

It’s time for the news media to have a reality check. Newspaper subscriptions and television news viewership are not going to reverse its downward trend until the news media realize that their Fourth Estate is now threatened by the Fifth. And do something about it.

One just needs to watch today’s Donald Trump press conference where he basically dismissed the questioning from one of what used to be the most respected cable news network.  Maybe he’ll even appoint Julian Assange or Edward Snowden as his press secretary. He thinks he doesn’t need CNN or any news media that would be critical of him.

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