Dearest Top Two Newspapers of the Philippines

I wake up everyday for coffee and your newspaper. And just today, you had me almost choking on breakfast. What was going on in your HEADquarters that you chose to tell us stories of the politico turned Romeo and her enamored Juliet or that the President’s more-famous-sister is fleeing from overt sexual advances. For a front page? And, with the entire width of your newspaper wasted on a stunning picture of cooing lovebirds, skirt fluttering with the wind, misplaced in beach paradise. Or that the other prime newspaper also remembered to waste space on the warring couple in good times, and of course, with the backdrop of beach paradise. Come on! You had your pick among so many compelling, life-and-death, and pressing stories! There are over 3000 people fleeing Sabah! And isn’t it simply heartless (no pun intended) to position underneath picture perfect, in bold black, your headline that 8 Filipinos were charged and could die in Malaysia? Or pray tell me why I need to be apprised of more-famous sister’s domestic problems? If you were desperate for something a little more exciting, you could have opted for the Pope or Obama in Israel! Anything but “Total Eclipse of the Heart” or “Please Stay Away.” Yes, please stay away.

I wanted to laugh because really, I thought you were trying to play one (oh two) big jokes days before April Fools’. But I don’t want to just snicker, be smug and go about my day, especially since you already ruined breakfast. Because if these are the news of our times, there’s something gravely wrong with our country. Is that the image of this nation? That we hunger for stories of forbidden love or an ex husband’s sexual advances? Just because they are famous? You spell, in a big way, the cultural spirit of this nation: who we are as a people. You are a mirror for the Zeitgeist, the spirit of our times. What ever happened to pride and excellence in reporting? Do you reckon Filipinos so lacking in dignity that we would rather revel in stories about Romeo, the opportunist and poor Juliet, the victim of a political campaign, or lap up on a story that the President’s more-famous-sister, is so desirable she needs the law to protect her from her ex-husband! You are playing on the lowest of our instincts, on what is sensational and of course, what makes the most for commercial success. Perhaps it could make for a box-office and it’s especially a perfect plot for a telenovela. But I picked up the newspaper today not wanting to go straight to your entertainment page. Yet, you gave me entertainment on the first page! Maybe it makes you popular, that’s how you get to top two newspapers right? Just the same, please try a little caution. Top rankings carry top responsibilities. Temper it down. Not on the front page, and please not on half of your newspaper. Exercise restraint. You are playing with our minds, and you’re slowly shaping the nation’s culture. The reading public is not (yet) that disgraced and hopefully this nation’s culture is not all instinct and pleasure. We do fancy stories of the Filipino Romeo (just not in those shorts!) And would like to be apprised of what happens in the President’s more-famous-sister’s house. But, we definitely don’t want it with coffee for breakfast.

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