Perception of Philippine Politics Based on News Program

Perception of Philippine Politics Based on News Program Submitted by: Alba, Emmanuel Evan Cabildo, Angeli Mercado, Aizel Kristel Pagdato, Gladys Rodenas, Zaira May Varona, Nicodemus Zaragosa, Roselle Submitted on: March 3, 2010 Chapter I: Introduction BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Perception and Media In 2008, Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) corruption test gave the Philippines a failing grade in the area of “control of corruption” (North America News Bureau, 2008). The country failed the test of two indicators for not spending enough for health and primary education.

But the present administration claimed they were judged based on perception alone. Perception can make or break people and institutions (Powers, 2007). People seem to be losing faith in politics. Fewer people are voting, fewer people are joining political parties and levels of trust in political institutions are declining. Citizens doubt their politicians’ motives and are pessimistic about whether they genuinely represent voters’ concerns and thus the decrease of level of participation in their part.

The public also appear increasingly doubtful about their sources of news. Worries are also growing about the reliability, independence and substance of many parts of the media. Traditionally when you talk about politics, it is primarily concerned with the nature of state, sovereignty and the government. Today greater emphasis is now placed on the government’s human associations, the behavior of interest groups and the decision-making process. In this light, Media has become one of the factors affecting, and influencing politics regarding human association.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo once said that the image of the country as among the most corrupt in the world stems from a “wrong perception” which she blamed on media. Media has no ideology of its own, mistrusts propaganda, forgets history and relies on patronage for its survival (Osit, 2009). Most journalists choose what to write or report on about depending on his/her consideration of what is relevant (McShaw). In most cases, the journalist’s stories are the sole basis for the reader or viewer to make a decision or adopt an attitude toward an issue particularly on politics.

A good example would be in news programs. Media vs. Government According to one of the definitions in political science, power is “the ability of one person to cause another to do what the latter wishes, by whatever means. ” Politics involves this. But, does the power involve choice? If I don’t have any power, do I have a right to choose? This relates to journalism as it is all about making choices: what makes the news, what is newsworthy, this or that interlocutor, what’s the angle of the story, etc. Therefore given these, both politics and the media possess power and choice.

Good political reporting is one of the corner stones of democracy (Tumawis, 2008). Fair political reporting explains how politics affects everyday lives. It helps all of us getting an objective and fair insight in politicians, their parties, programs and the most important plans, their real faces and personalities. But the trivialization of news has weakened the democratic process and devalued the trust in politics (Tumawis, 2008). The media has started to deliver “scandalous” stories rather than objective reports on some important decision making processes. Bad governance, corruption of officials one after the other dominates the news.

On the other hand, politicians also begun to use media for trivial purpose. Statements look like free advertisements that nobody understands, speeches emphasizing on official’s image and best-est interest losing its content and political will. Politics has lost the tool of communicating with “ordinary” people. According to a corruption perception index survey conducted by the Transparency International, Philippines got a CPI score of 2. 4 for the perceived level of corruption and ranked 139 out of 180 countries that has transparence int terms of governance.

Media’s role in bringing the news to the public has been proven to be an imperative in the past decades. But how does media constructs the news from the reality is questionable in the first place. Media as a national broadsheets, radio and television stations are owned by big corporations. Some of them have contracts from the government, and they own an entire array of interests. These situations may largely affect their service. But we should ask on what the media’s position on the government. Majority of TV stations position themselves as oppositions to the government.

Possibly as a result of ineffective implementation of government policies against corruption and justice, people have entrusted to the media the power as its confidante in these issues. Also surveys have shown that Filipinos regard the media as a credible institution. Given numerous accounts of media acting as a hero every time they expose issues with courage even under conditions of restrictions. But media is still in challenge with a government that claims they are victims of false perception. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Media must serve their purpose as the publics eyes and ears. Media should erve as a watchdog to make institutions accountable. But do Philippine media play a role in good governance? Sensational practices or positivism and legitimacy? The study focuses on the influence of news program on its audience’s perception regarding Philippine politics. This concentrates on the media as a powerful actor that has the ability to filter information, and to an extent of changing audience perception. This paper aims to investigate on how audience relies on media as a source of information based on cultivation theory. This theory is presented to show the societal power and implications of media. SCOPE

The study will focus on primetime evening news programs from the two leading broadcast stations namely TV Patrol World (ABS- CBN) and 24 Oras (GMA 7). Since these programs present political news in different ways which may give different perceptions to TV viewers on politics. The study focuses on how television viewers perceive or grasp political-related information from watching the two leading primetime evening news. The participants of the study are ages 18 to 20 years old; male and female students and young professionals from the Greater Manila Area who are and should be politically active at this age. SIGNIFICANCE Television has become society’s storyteller” (Gerbner). As the leading form of media, television has become one of the most influential medium in these times. It tells of what is happening to the society. It feeds us so much information. “Mass media are part of the system which the individual uses to gain information about the environment” (Tsfati, 2003). Media like television has been a source of information about what the society thinks. With this, there’s a great tendency that the television gives different perceptions to television viewers. Political news is presented in television in many different forms.

Political presentation is varied one way or the other. It has a great impact on how the viewers grasp or think about politics. “People believe in the ideas they comprehend as quickly and automatically as they believe in the objects they see” (Gilbert 1991: 107). As people consume television, they have the tendency to believe in what they see or hear. Politics is a social organization where in everyone has different views and opinions on different aspects. “Research in mass media increasingly suggests that its primary impact is on social level perceptions” (Mutz, 1998).

Political perception varies on different individuals. Politics maybe perceived as comedy, news, cliche, and the like. “These theories suggest that the media may not be very influential in telling us what to think, but they do have the ability to influence our perceptions by what others think” (Tsfati, 2003). This study aims to give a background on how television viewers ages 18-20 years old perceives politics and how it is presented in the primetime evening news. The perception of television viewers is significant because it is how media present such aspects. It is how they treat those aspects like that of politics. We shaped our tools—the phonetic alphabet, printing press, and telegraph—and they in turn have shaped our perceptions, experiences, attitudes, and behavior. Thus the medium is the message” (McLuhan). OBJECTIVE At the end of the study, the researcher is expected to determine on how political news is presented on media through conducting research ,and studying the present situation of Philippines politics and media presentation through news program. Specific Objectives are as follows: •To determine the audience’s perception of Philippine political news based on what they see on television. To state the relationship between media exposure and it’s similarity to the view of the audience. •To identify factors or indicators that affect the creation of news program. •To determine the process in which media fulfills its role as information disseminator and social actor DEFINITION OF TERMS Cultivation theory – attempt to understand and explain the dynamics of television as a distinctive and dominant cultural force of our age. It specifies that repeated, intense exposure to deviant definitions of ‘reality’ in the mass media leads to perception of the ‘reality’ as normal. Inference – The act or process of inferring.

The act of passing from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow from that of the former. Perception – is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. It means “receiving, collecting, and action of taking possession, apprehension with the mind or senses. ” Propaganda – systematic spreading of ideas. Political News – news that are of or relating to government, or the conduct of government. It is also concerned with the making as distinguished from the administration of governmental policy.

Salient – prominent, especially of notable significance. CPI (Corruption Perception Index) – The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world. The CPI is a “survey of surveys”, based on 13 different expert and business surveys. Chapter II: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE This study of viewers’ perceptions on politics through media are congruent and based with the Cultivation Theory. The theory is concern mostly of heavy viewers, exposed to media longer than other viewers.

In relation to this, the amplification of issues involving or concerning a certain group of viewers by the media (resonance) is evident, especially to the issue of politics. When what people see and hear on the media is most similar with everyday or perceived reality, it results to a “double dose” of the message seen in television and further heightens cultivation (Gerbner). The appearances of politicians on talk shows and news shows also greatly affect viewers’ perceptions. The behavioral strategies such as nonverbal reactions and motions of the politicians interviewed, the TV host, and of the studio audience have a big impact.

In fact, politicians receive better or have a very high degree of influence on perceptions when nonverbal behavior style is “active” and the nonverbal reaction shots are “neutral”. Therefore, during electoral campaigns, politicians that directly address the voting public through television seem sensible. However, these same nonverbal reaction shots would prove to be a hindrance because besides perceptions on their abilities in terms of leadership, they would prove futile when they come across negative nonverbal reaction shots from a TV host, as TV hosts do not constantly behave neutrally.

It is also a point of argument that TV hosts, reporters, and producers, who are largely responsible for the editing and cuts, have a big control over the a politician’s image shown in television. Thus, politicians may resort to new media such as email, social networking sites to achieve better opportunities in affecting the voters’ perceptions (Haumer & Donsbach). In a mediated democracy, politicians often battle to determine what is on the front page of the newspapers, or the leading item on the news.

The agenda is the news of a particular day more specifically the story, and how the news is told. Not only do politicians battle with each other, they also battle with the media, who may have opposing news values and wish to treat a story differently to that which the politician desires (Lilleker, 2006). The concept of agenda-setting is founded in the study of the media, and particularly the press, and is linked to the famous adage that the media ‘cannot tell you what to think, only what to think about’ (McCombs and Shaw, 1972).

Every organization that desires to influence the public politically must attempt to control what ideas become dominant in the public sphere. Agenda-setting is the important part of any campaign, but can have a negative impact on civic society and the public sphere due to the public becoming cynical about the information it receives. Political parties may operate on information subsidies, which can restrict public access to the facts and enforce the notion of the hegemonic model in an information society.

However, agenda-setting plays a key role in any political organization’s news management strategy. It provides for work for spin-doctors and is key feature of the public relations state. While some aspects of civic life such as voting, party identification, and national sentiments have eroded in many nations, other activities such as joining causes, protesting unpopular policies, and forming new regional and global communities appear to be on the rise (Inglehart 1997; Ardhibugi, Held, and Kohler 1998).

Understanding the empirical relationships between mediated messages and political dispositions and behaviors is important, but it is also important to understand a number of other qualities of the larger political communication environment, including: •The range or diversity of information and sources of information •The frequency of various issues and themes •The formats in which politically relevant information is presented, including the depth or detail of presentation, the employment of tabloid and entertainment styles, and the relative uses of narrative, analysis, and deology •The balance between broad social and narrow personal identity cues in message frames •The ways in which members of the public engage with and communicate their reactions to political messages they have received from the media. CHAPTER III : Theoretical Framework Perception and Cultivation Theory (LEARNING) (CONSTRUCTION) Fig1 conceptual model of cultivation theory (Hawkins and Pingree) 1983 Perception encompasses all processes associated with the recognition, transformation and organization of sensory information (Carterette & Friedman, 1978).

It is closely related to all higher-order cognitive functions (such as reasoning, concept formation, problem-solving, memory, etc. ) as well as sensory-motor behavior. Perception is associated with the state of mind, processes of the brain with the influence of the environment. It is a dynamic conflict between the attempts of an outer world to impose an actuality on us and our efforts to transform this actuality into a self-centered perspective (Rummel, R. J. ) It is influenced by social factors around an individual that contributes to his/ her belief or “information” regarding a certain matter like politics.

Politics is a universal concern of people. People should be involved in this matter. The process of perception can be explained by the Cultivation Theory of George Gerbner. “Television has become society’s storyteller. Heavy television viewers see a vast quantity of dramatic violence, which cultivates an exaggerated belief in a mean and scary world. Mainstreaming and resonance are two of the processes that create a homogeneous and fearful populace. ” (Socio-cultural and socio-psychological traditions)

According to Gerbner’s study television has surpassed religion in “storytelling. ” The Sociopsychological tradition of human communication views communication as expression, interaction, and influence and focuses on problems of communication dealing with undesired behaviors or effects (Dr. Craig Lecture, November 9, 2006). Television was turning into a mechanism to connect many people (Gerbner). It is a “middle man” between the media institutions and the audience. It links people through whatever distance.

Gerbner speaks of the “cultivation of collective conscious” in relation to the rapid growth of media outlets (in particular, television) and the capacity of mass media to transcend traditional “barriers of time, space, and social grouping”. Cultivation then describes the process in which the entire public is affected by content on television. In his Cultural Indicators Project, he said that television can explain a world to us. With this, television became one of the leading sources of information. Drama, sitcoms, especially news contributes explanation of “everything” to the people.

In this way, the viewers understand more of political issues. Gerbner used survey research to measure viewer behavior and attitudes because the nature of the cultivation hypothesis rules out experimental testing (Gerbner et al. , 1980, p. 10). “Television is the central and most pervasive mass medium in American culture” (Gerbner et al. , 1980, p. 14) In this generation, television has become the main source and medium of the audience. Gerbner et. al noticed the two main occurrences which he called, “mainstreaming” and “resonance. ”

Mainstreaming is the process by which heavy viewers develop a commonality of outlook through constant exposure to the same images and labels. Gerbner illustrates the mainstream effect by showing how television types blur economic and political distinctions. 1. They assume that they are middle class. 2. They believe they are political moderates. 3. In fact, heavy viewers tend to be conservative. Gerbner labels the general “mainstream” political outlook of heavy viewers the “new populism,” the mix of attitudes and desires. Another phenomenon is the resonance.

It happens when what is seen on television is similar to one’s life experience and creates a “double dose” of the message which greatly enhances cultivation (Gerbner et al. , 1980, p. 15). It is relieving experience to real life events. Resonance occurs when repeated symbolic portrayals of events cause viewers to replay their real-life experiences over and over. Resonance amplifies cultivation patterns. Operational framework (LEARNING) (PERCEPTION) Fig 2 operational framework Political topics almost dominate news program content in Philippine television.

Viewers who are of high exposure and involvement of the news program consider such this as a perfect medium in gaining and retrieving information, in this case, politically-related knowledge. Therefore, through the continuing exposure and involvement in the news program, political education or learning can be developed. There are a number of factors that can affect how the viewers may absorb the information from the medium. Difference in attitudes and behavior of each viewer greatly influence the viewers’ perception.

These views and insights are utilized to form an assumption about the macro-Politics in the Philippines, thus creating an influence to social reality. An example would be a survey conducted last December 27-28 2009 by the Social Weather Stations regarding the Presidential aspirants for the May 2010 elections. Though it may not directly point out the case of political education being developed through exposure and involvement, the result wherein only ranging from one to four percent of the respondents where still ndecided on who to vote for suggests that because of the domination and frequency of Political topics in news program content, people are now considerably more learned in the aspect of Politics as the survey showed that almost all respondents know their presidential candidates and have already chosen who to vote for. Chapter IV : Research Methodology RESEARCH DESIGN The study will use a quantitative-qualitative approach to the study. Researcher will conduct a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) in which subjects will be integorrated with several political related questions.

There will be 20 subjects, 18- 20 years old from the greater manila area. The subjects will be divided into 2 groups according to their exposure to the two leading news programs TV Patrol World (ABS-CBN 2) and 24 Oras( GMA 7); 5 males and 5 females each group. The first group (10) will be categorized as light viewers, who seldom to tuned in to news programs once or twice a week and the second group (10) wil be categorized as heavy viewers, who tuned in to news programs more than twice a week or on a daily basis.

Through discussions, the researcher differentiate the answers of both groups and verify its coherence with the cultivation study. RESEARCH INSTRUMENT To produce our data for the study, researchers will use questionnaires. This tool will supply questions for the assessment that will be used in the FGD. The information is gathered through this tool to acquire accurate information. Questionnaires are handed personally to the respondents during the FGD. Sample questions are of the following: 1Do you watch news program? How often? 2Are you keen in watching especially if the topic is politics? What comes in to your mind when it comes to politics? 4What do you usually see (bad or good news)? 5Do you believe it without further researching? 6Does it affect your impression on politics in a large scale? In what way? 7What is your impression on Philippine Politics? Is it the same with what you watch on news program? The survey questions determine on how its audience trust the medium and confide with it in political issues. Also, used to determine the similarity of their impression with what the medium had informed. Cultivation theory will be used as an indicator.

In which with high involvement in the topic and exposure in the medium regardless of gender, behaviours, and attitude, it has a certain effect and influence in constructing the audience’s social reality. The discussions will be further elaborated by the subjects through sharing experiences and ideas in the discussion. A facilitator shall also be present to guide the participants. The participants shall be free in saying their opinions regarding the topic. DATA GATHERING METHOD In tradition, the statistical evidence and conceptual arguments presented by Gerbner support the assertion that television-viewing “cultivates” distorted ? –(categorical) perceptions of the “real world. His work focused on the the fear and dependence of the audience in watching violence on television. It addresses the issue of media violence through TV and gender portrayals. In his previous study, he analyzed two contents on primetime television; The “TV world” and The Violence Index through conducting national surveys of TV audience; concerning perceptions of real world and classifying subjects or respondents as heavy, moderate & light viewers.

Afterwards, he calculated the cultivation effect or “Cultivation Differential”, the difference in the percent of people giving the “television answer” within comparable groups of light and heavy viewers, in which encompasses the overall (“across the board”) effects , and subgroup breakdowns (Mainstreaming, Resonance) as well. His cultivation research combines descriptive content analyses of television programming with viewer survey data to examine the influence of the exposure to television on the beliefs about the world. There is also a portion of the study on what the television might be teaching its audience.

He also used the survey component to correlate the viewers viewing patterns to their belief about the world. On the other hand, this study will focus on the perception of audience regarding Philippine Politics with regards to the two leading primetime evening news programs. The study shall discuss what the perceptions of today’s audience are. It shall analyze current political landscape outlook by consumers as presented by the media. Focus Group discussion will also be conducted to the target participants to gather insights and opinions regarding the topic. The Cultivation Theory shall also be used as the theoretical framework of the study.

SAMPLING METHOD Non-probability sampling is used in the study. The method by which samples are selected for observation is purposive and of the convenience of the researcher . The subjects are selected in an accessible way with couple of conditions; must be of 18- 20 years of age, and lives in the greater manila area. By which dichotomous variables are present. The first group (10) composed of light viewers and the second group (10) composed of heavy viewers. REFERENCES: Griffin, EM. A First Look at Communication Theory third edition. Mc-Graw Hill Companies,Inc. ,United States. 1997

University of Twente. http://www. cw. utwente. nl/theorieenoverzicht/ (Jan 2010) http://tip. psychology. org/percept. html Rummel,RJ. Understanding Conflict and War: vol. 1:the dynamic psychological field.. United States. Gerbner,G. Mainstreaming and resonance, the mainstreaming of America: Violence profile No 11,”Journal of Communication,Vol 30, No 3,1980,pp 10-29. Transparency International: Corruption Perception Index (2009). Retrieved November 2009 from http://www. transparency. org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table Social Weather Stations. http://www. sws. org. ph/