Thursday, July 2, 2009

Headlines that I don't want to see

You know what they say that news is always entertaining until it's you that they are talking about. That is true. Well, close enough. Before you think that I'm trying to claim the spot strongly held by Hayden Kho and his scandals, well sorry to disappoint you but this is not directly about me nor is it that tantalizing. This is about the week-long squabble on the automation attempts in the upcoming election 2010.

Briefly, from what I have been following for quite some time now, the 2010 Philippine elections is set to be automated. This is not the first attempt though. The first attempt went down the drain as officials ruled the automation project led by Megapacific as null due to technicality issues. Millions of pesos gone and hopes for a faster and cleaner electoral process vanished. However this national mistake would not be permitted to happen again. The 2010 elections is a window of opportunity that seeks redemption. With this, partnerships, companies or consortium placed their bids as the public waited for the legitimate, capable and worthy winner. The winner came out to be the partnership of Smartmatic, a Barbados owned company and TIM or Total Information Management, a Filipino owned IT consulting and services company that has a proven track record and has been in the industry for years. I should know.

To cut it short, fair and square they won. Now that the automation was on its way, people couldn't have been more relieved. But before the actual contract signing, TIM withdraws due to irreconcilable differences with Smartmatic. This led to shock, frustration, scandal that ultimately gave birth to media mayhem, speculations and unnecessary emotions. Lots of theories emerged some even stupid ones. Hatred was felt across sectors. But what the public needs are facts and until the reason and the future are made clear, people would not stop speculating and absorbing whatever news that's being fed. Unfortunately the news may not necessarily be true, but what could the more knowledgeable ones do to stop people from speculating, nursing their negativity and forming their own opinions about it? Absolutely nothing. Until the final decision and the clearer landscape of what will happen in the 2010 elections are publicly shared, the people involved would have to suck in the feed backs, work hard to resolve the issue and hopefully move forward.

In a way the strategy of being silent is a more positive route. It doesn't fuel the fire and it would save energy more for resolution. The truth exists only within the institutions involved anyways and media, as powerful and manipulative as they are, should not consume them as it can consume people who just wait in the dark and quickly hold on to something that tickles their judgment. These corporations in the spotlight are not stupid, people. It takes more than an educated politician who continuously injects false assumptions and noise to the public, to fully break these apart. Instead of forming flagrant speculations and accusations, why don't people just wait and serve judgment when facts are at hand against hearsay? It seems some personalities have too much hatred and noise to say, but in a nutshell what they are reporting aren't facts, but personal assumptions. Even a normal reader would've gotten the tone.

Also in an intrigue fueled by media, people naturally have the desire to find connections and play connect the dots. It's funny because I may be guilty of that sometimes under normal circumstances. With an overly imaginative mind like mine, I do search desperately for connections to explain things. I sometimes even force objects into thinking they are sort of divine signs. I comfortably do that when I'm not involved, but with this current issue that the nation is facing, it's a totally different case. I may not be directly involved, but it has reached a part of my world and I'm not laughing.

Take it from a person who have been entertained by what media erupted on the Hayden Kho Scandal, I believed almost everything the media presented. But when this particular automation squabble nearly hit home, I wasn't laughing. There I saw how media could easily lash reputations without facts as long as the intrigue is there and people are buying. There is not much room for responsibility.

It's always a nightmare once we're at the losing side of the headlines. It's too powerful to contain and whoever panics and breaks down loses. Facts have become secondary to educational speculation. Patience is an unknown virtue in this game and silence could only get you so far. I can't wait till the final decision of the erring parties announced. At least facts would be pulled out and knowledgeable people would talk. By then the headlines may be worth the read.

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