BEHIND THE LINES: Thinkers PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 10 August 2014 14:03

BY BOB JALDON

 

SAN JOSE. CA. — Journalists (anchors, reporters, if you may) are not like traffic officers writing politicians or government functionaries a temporary operators’ permit (TOP) for every infraction they commit. We also write commendations whenever they do something good. Sometimes, we just have to remind them of their oath of office — to do good for the greatest number. We’re not asking them for the world (they aren’t superheroes). All we need from them is to pass good laws and enforce them, help the city government improve law and order and see to it that they’re not offenders (as in crooked, corrupt or malevolent).

That’s why we’re called the Fourth Estate because we are the balancing force, the watchdog of the three other powerfully-independent institutions of government, whether in the national or local spheres. Politicians, don’t get us wrong. It is never our intention to malign or vilify your person whenever you fail to fulfill your oath. We extol you at times for doing good.

To the city councilors: passing laws should be a routine you can’t escape from. They sometimes debate on the most trivial of subject matters. They vote according to party lines (as in Democrats and Republicans do here), not by their conscience or when there’s a little of krispy crème involved (I won’t explain what that means). Here when politicians vote, it’s all about conviction. There, it’s political survival. Well, every politician has the right to survive (I overheard someone utter that) no matter how obnoxious or suspicious the circumstances may be.

Like politicians, some members of the media also have the right to survive because of low income, plain and simple. They risk their lives covering the news, especially crime and intriguing stories. They should be compensated well, by all means. In the United States, journalists are paid well. So are the politicians. That’s why there’s little or no corruption at all committed by both species. The media can’t be corrupted. Politicians fear corruption, at least some are, because of the media. The media in Zamboanga are not corrupt. I can vouch for their integrity.

Like lawyers, some media practitioners are paid to do highly-specialized jobs other than being journalists like writing speeches or acting as public relations men for certain individuals or companies. They’re not involved with the invisible government or criminal syndicates. I have trust in my co-professionals. We have a thinking media in Zamboanga. “Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without the freedom to think,” it is said. No one dictates what the media want to say or write because we can think, not follow other people’s thinking. I wish that politicians would be like us — thinkers.