WHY does the press play up stories of “doomsayers” saying there might be failure of elections and soldiers might seize control for President Arroyo or a military junta?

No solid evidence of that, no, but it’s far from baseless or wild.

Consider that the credibility of the Palace is at record low, thanks to a President who says this and does that and the careless talk of those who speak for her. (It was a spokesperson who got “military junta” into the conversation.)

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Media is not to blame. After all, it prints both critics’ apprehension and Malacañang assurance.

For newspapers and broadcast stations, it’s not just filling space and time to sell newspapers or push ratings.

It’s a duty. Media has to alert the community about what might or could happen. The story rests on plausible theory. The report quotes sources and is not exaggerated.

The theory is that the President will hang on to power, via the House route or by benefiting from a failure of elections.

Survival

It’s not so much greed for power as compulsion to survive. Who’d think of quietly retiring when her enemies, including front-runner Noynoy Aquino, have vowed to lock her up after the elections?

Money and power have kept away from prison former presidents involved in huge scandals. How do you think did ex-president Erap Estrada get that pardon?

It’s called preventive journalism: reporting the defect of a bridge before it collapses or exposing a lopsided contract before the government is cheated blind.

If it will help avert a national crisis, the press will be excused, nay even lauded, for sounding the alarm.

(paseares@yahoo.com)