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Thursday, April 16, 2015

There’s always media to blame


ON DISTANT SHORE
By Val G. Abelgas
Philippine-MediaThe satisfaction rating of President Aquino continued its free fall this week, hitting its lowest since he became president in 2010. And guess who is being blamed again? The media, of course.
I’m not a bit surprised that Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma is blaming the media for the latest slide in his boss’ rating. After all, he is just following what has become a tradition in the Aquino administration – never admit failure or responsibility; blame somebody else, particularly the media.
When Aquino’s rating first fell in April 2011 (by 13 points) since he ascended to power on the wave of popularity in 2010, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte blamed the “negative reporting” by media for the wrong perception by the people. Valte then said there was a need for the government to be more aggressive in its propaganda work.
Valte said there might also be a need for a “reorientation” of the way the mass media project the good news, adding that positive developments should be given bigger play.
So how did Coloma react to the 35-point drop in Aquino’s satisfaction rating?
“A significant factor which contributed to the decline in the satisfaction rating of the President is the Mamasapano clash in Maguindanao last January 25. We also recognize that public opinion surveys are based on information from the media being read and consumed by the country’s citizens. In our view, (the decline in the President’s rating) is mostly media-related,” Coloma said.
He asked the media to cooperate with the government in sharing factual information to Filipinos. “We are hoping that through disseminating correct and truthful information, Filipinos can thoroughly understand the position of the government,” he added.
At least, Malacanang spokespersons have been consistent in their reactions. Instead of saying the drop in Aquino’s ratings would only inspire the President to work harder to regain the trust and confidence of the people, they’d rather blame media for the negative ratings.
After all, their boss is not known to accept responsibility or failure. Humility is not a virtue of Aquino and his administration.
When his net approval rating dropped by nine points in March 2012, Aquino said the rating drop must be ignored and that governance “should not be survey-driven.” And yet when his approval ratings remained high in a SWS survey a few months earlier, Malacanang spokesmen said it showed that the “noynoying” protests and rallies at that time did not reflect the sentiment of the people.
Still in state of denial after successive slides in Aquino’s trust, approval and popularity ratings by both the Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia surveys, which came just three weeks of each other, Coloma still tried to put a positive spin on the two results.
Coloma said the satisfaction rating recorded in the SWS survey is still higher than the approval rating of the President in the Pulse Asia survey that was conducted three weeks earlier.
According to the SWS survey, Aquino’s net satisfaction rating of the President has plunged to a record low, +11 points from +39 points last December. The President’s satisfaction rating has plunged across all geographical areas and socioeconomic classes. His satisfaction rating fell by 35 points from 47 percent on December last year.
In the Pulse Asia survey, which was conducted before the Mamasapano carnage, Aquino’s approval rating fell by 21 percentage points, from 59 percent in November 2014 to only 38 percent in March 2015. His trust rating, on the other hand fell by 20 percentage points, from 56 percent in November to only 36 percent this month.
“Amidst the various challenges being faced by his administration at the present time, appreciation for and trust in the President eased during the period November 2014 to March 2015 not only at the national level (-21 and -20 percentage points, respectively) but in all geographic areas (-18 to -27 percentage points, respectively) and in Classes ABC and D as well (-24 and -23 percentage points, respectively),” a Pulse Asia release said.
In July last year, two surveys taken a few days before and after the SC decision showed Aquino’s satisfaction, approval and trust ratings had taken a beating, plunging to their lowest levels since he assumed office on July 1, 2010.
In the Pulse Asia survey taken from June 28 to July 2, Aquino’s approval rating dropped 14 points, and his trust rating plunged by 16 points. The drop showed in all economic classes, unlike before when Class A-B (the upper and upper middle classes) remained highly approved of his performance and his trustworthiness.
A separate survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS), on the other hand, showed that Aquino’s net satisfaction rating dropped by 20 big points, from a “good” plus 45 to a “moderate” plus 25. The survey was conducted from June 27 to June 30, the day before the SC was set to announce its DAP ruling.
The big declines follow a consistent pattern of diminishing approval ratings for Aquino since he assumed the presidency. His approval rating in July 2010, just a month after he became president, was 88 percent, while his approval rating in March 2015 was only 38 percent, meaning his approval ratings have dropped 50 points in less than five years.
If this pattern keeps up, Aquino would have a negative net approval, trust and satisfaction ratings before the end of his term.
I wonder how Aquino’s spokesmen would react when that happens. Maybe blame the media again?
(valabelgas@aol.com)

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