INTERVIEWING University of the Philippines student Marjohara Tucay, editor of the UP student newspaper The Philippine Collegian, GMA7 TV’s Howie Severino implied in so many words that by expressing his opposition to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) during a GMA7 TV event with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tucay was in violation of the ethics of journalism. Severino asked if what Tucay did was reflective of the kind of journalism his generation was being taught. Severino argued that the journalist’s task is merely to cover events, to be “objective” and not engage his or her subjects in debate.
And yet that was what Severino was doing. While demanding “objectivity” on the part of Tucay, Severino was being so “objective” he was haranguing the latter in favor of his own views — and over his own network, which also described Tucay as the student editor who disrupted (nanggulo) the GMA7 event. Was the media spectacle GMA7 and Severino put in place in behalf of Clinton indicative of what his generation has learned about journalism?