The Politicization of News: Evidence from Major Philippine Broadsheets

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Manuel O. Diaz, Jr.


The news is expected to be apolitical, even if it reports about a political subject matter. Its politicization erodes public trust. Striking a balance before an increasingly polarized consumer base, however, is precarious, particularly in banner headlines. There is only one banner headline in every issue of a newspaper, and all news of the day compete for that sweet spot above the fold, written in big bold letters, trying to attract attention. Partisan tendency can manifest itself in the choice and construction of the banner headline. In this study, banner headlines from six of the major English-language newspapers in the Philippines collected over two months were analyzed for signs of politicization. Results show strong politicization in the banner headlines of the broadsheets with the lowest reach and circulation. In addition, politicization tends to significantly lean towards the incumbents. Notably, one newspaper has shown very little politicization, and with an even spread between the two sides of the political spectrum. Politicization is not necessarily bad, but that it should be tempered or otherwise disclosed. There is nothing more insidious and manipulative than a biased source of information disguised as a balanced view.

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