Sorry, but I just don’t believe in the news managers of ABS-CBN. Honest. I lost confidence in this group led by former Cable News Network reporter Maria Ressa after that Manila Peninsula Siege. ABS-CBN people led the group of media persons that refused to go out of the hotel even when government troops were poised to flush out Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim who were both holed up there.
When government criticized media’s actions at that time, it was Ressa who volunteered what I thought then was a somewhat arrogant rationalization. She said that ABS-CBN news managers weighed the risks of staying in the hotel and thought that, like in the Oakwood mutiny, there won’t be violent confrontation, or words to that effect. Then she downplayed the effects of tear gas, which the police lobbed in the hotel.
Of course, news managers can be cavalier to dangers in coverage because they are not the ones who are out there in the field. In the Manila Pen siege, I consider some media people’s action as adventurism and motivated mainly by goal of out-scooping the competition. In that impasse, reporters do not need to interview Trillanes at every turn. Information can be had using other means, so why risk reporters’ lives?
The abduction of Ces Drilon and cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderrama seems to be the result of the same mindset that guided ABS-CBN news managers in the Manila Pen siege. They seem to have downplayed the risk posed to the lives of Drilon and the others and bloated the importance of the exclusive stories that may be had in Sulu. The result: safety considerations became merely secondary.
Let us all hope and pray that Drilon and the others will finally be freed from captivity. As for the ABS-CBN news managers, it is time to learn from the lessons of their adventurism in the conduct of coverage.