EVERYBODY has an analysis of and advice on what should and could have been in the aftermath of what happened on the ground in that hostage drama that, to parody a media outfit's motto, turned into live international news as it was happening and where it was happening.

Two of the issues being raised from all quarters bring to mind two films - the 1951 black-and-white "Ace in the Hole" (re-titled "The Big Carnival") and the 1974 "The Towering Inferno".

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"Ace", starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Bill Wilder, has no direct similarity to media coverage of the bloody mess at the Quirino Grandstand. Douglas portrayed Charles Tatum, a scheming reporter who fell from grace and was fired by top New York papers for wanting of scruples and ethical standards.

Tatum, relegated to a small, say, provincial newspaper, stumbles on the plight of Leo Minosa, who is trapped in an old Indian mine while trying to excavate artifacts. Tatum manipulates a sheriff, the engineer in charge of the rescue and Minosa's wife to have the rescue delayed for his and their own selfish purposes.

It allows him to prolong his exclusive coverage which he sells and allows him to regain his old, big city job, at the expense of the cave-in victim.

Most of the characters benefit from the circus Tatum generates. Except Minosa. He dies as it's then too late to implement a quicker drilling procedure that the reporter had prevented, for his selfish motives. The movie can be a version of the story about "The Most Despicable Character" we are told and asked to pinpoint in trainings and workshops.

Perhaps the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club would want to sponsor a re-run of "Ace in the Hole" to remind us all of our media code of ethics.

There was no deceit at all in the worldwide live coverage of the hostage drama. No television outfit can claim it had scooped the others, except perhaps for some details. So unlike Tatum, who sacrifices a life to restore his stature in media through his series of scoops that even makes him a hero in the eyes of the crowd that turns the scene into a carnival.

Still, the film can remind us in media to be more circumspect in our coverage that may contribute to exacerbating emergencies and crises. There were reports that the mood of the hostage taker changed for the worse when he saw his brother and fellow cop being arrested, reportedly through the television screen inside the bus,

"The Towering Inferno" is about a fire that breaks out (due to sub-standard electrical wiring) on the 8lst floor of the world's tallest building while San Francisco's glitterati and politicians are attending the dedication party at the top (135th ) floor.

Again, there's no comparison between the who's who attending the premiere party to those ordinary, curious folks who managed to enter what should have been cordoned off and to mill around the ill-fated bus just after the hostage drama ended in blood. Yet the crowd control and protocol breached in the hostage drama recalls that exchange in the film between fire chief Michael O'hallorhan (played by Steve McQueen) and that of James Duncan (William Holden), whose renowned architectural firm built the burning skyscraper:

Chief O'Halloran: All right. It's your building, but it's our fire. Now, let's get these people the hell out of here.

James Duncan: I don't think you're listening, Chief. There's no way for a fire on 81 to reach up here, not in this building.

O'Hallorhan: OK. I'll do it.(prepares to announce evacuation)

Duncan: (stops him) Hold it, hold it. The mayor's out there. Do you want me to pull rank on you?

O-Hallorhan: When there's a fire, I outrank everybody here. Now one thing we don't want is panic. Now I could tell them, but you ought to do it. Just make a nice cool announcement to all your guests and tell them the party's being moved down below the fire floor. Right now.

Tourism now suffers as a result of the tragedy, but figuring out the industry's profit losses should be the least of our concerns. It smacks of selfishness and callousness amid sorrow. Of the moment is our sensitivity, our expression of condolence that no less then President Aquino extended to the grieving families and the leadership of China and Hong Kong. Of the moment is the President's declaration of a National Day of Mourning for those who perished in the tragedy. Even the expression of apology the family of the hostage-taker, who also died, somehow helps in the healing.

It's the negative fall-out on our domestic workers in Hong Kong and elsewhere that is of the moment, and we can hardly help them by harping on our tourism loss instead of extending deep apology. The Chinese leaders are more circumspect by assuring us that our workers in Hong Kong would be protected from discrimination that may be triggered by the hostage drama.

Close to the end of the meningococcemia scare here five years ago, Dr Celia Brillantes, head of the city's epidemiology unit, took the flak for admitting that there was an outbreak of the disease. Medically speaking, that is, she qualified, as there was a clustering of cases.

Dr. Brillantes was in tears after getting text messages criticizing her admission when pressed by the City Council. An outbreak is different from an epidemic, even if the public misconstrues both to be the same banana. She's a medical doctor worth her salt. So is that epidemiologist sent by the World Health Organization who refused to sign a prepared statement given him during breakfast at The Manor, for him to certify that "Baguio is meningococcemia-free."

He explained, quite patiently to people in the tourism industry that should he sign the pronouncement, he'd lose his job the moment he returns to the WHO office in Switzerland. He pointed out with authority that meningococcemia can exist anywhere there are people because meningococcemia bacteria thrives in human saliva.

Baguio's tourism industry had since bounced back and victims of the outbreak forgotten. Dr. Brillantes eventually received the "Lingkod Bayan" award, the highest honor bestowed by the Civil Service Commission to outstanding public servants. It was a vindication of her having stood her ground as a doctor and healer (not a business promoter) amidst pressure to have the truth swept under the rug for the sake of tourism and commercial enterprise. (e-mail:mondaxbench@yahoo.com for comments).