Brewing your own

Rule of thumb: You know there’s something the government doesn’t want you to know when the news starts reporting on what Kris Aquino is up to.

Headlines will read like the presidential sister’s personal diary. I terribly wish I wasn’t joking.

But it happens and too often. It’s happened at the most opportune moments, like when the public was calling for accountability of misplaced relief for Typhoon Yolanda and yet we were receiving more updates about Jollibee’s shortage of chicken through the hashtag #Chickensad.

The media has two mouths to feed: what the public wants to know and what they need to know. Where the stakes are, media could easily make us look the other way with a wave of the hand. This extent of its responsibility manifests in the air time and print space it allows for which kind of content.

We continue to subscribe to the illusion of a divide between soft news — what’s easier to digest, and hard news — usually filed as the more serious concerns of the country. What we don’t often realize is that the soft news can be just as much a political tool as the stories written about government.

Ours is a generation that regards emotion as currency. The most important decisions we make every day are largely informed by our emotions. So when the people who write the news we read have a gauge of what makes us tick and what doesn’t (see: mood meters and similar devices), they can maximize how they can pull our strings.

We’re on our way to a future of a media that produces content custom-fit for our preferences, moods and interests; as if we can choose not to see things we don’t want to see. We can curate the newsfeed we see the world through. If the news you’re getting isn’t your cup of tea, you can start brewing your own.

Mass media is a piece of the furniture that sits in the homes of every household. How powerful it is in influencing society has been said enough. It’s the portal to every imaginable thing we want and need. What we have to remember is that the remote control is in our hands and that’s all the power you need.