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· Volume II Issue IV

Media is all about Show me your face! It is all about external forum, internal forum is forgotten. This is what the media tells us, show me your face, truth is not important, we need your face, a big income is to come, it could revive your career, and it can make you shine. This horrible reality truly highlights on the movie “Mad City” and is always happen in our world today. Media do not actually show what real reality is – the truth.  The powerful influence of it is indeed conquered by people who are very desirous of money and popularities. It could hide everything. It could cover what is obvious. It could break down what was built. It could even right what is wrong, and also it could wrong what is right. Morality is just an option. Truth is just relative anymore. This darkness of media happens nowadays. All these things are just a show!

One of the decrees on the means of social communication, which is indicated on the Vatican II, is the Inter Mirifica. It is clearly stated there that,  

2. The Church, our Mother, knows that if these media are properly used, they can be of considerable benefit to mankind. They contribute greatly to the enlargement and enrichment of men’s minds and to the propagation and consolidation of the kingdom of God”.

Meaning, the whole Church is aware of this phenomenon on media. She is aware of the improper usage of abusive people on this mean of social communication. However, media is for the kingdom of God – supposed to be. It can contribute greatly, ofcourse, if it is used properly. It is actually for the enlargement and enrichment of men’s mind in order for them to recognize the kingdom of God to come. But now, this beautiful use of media is little by little forgotten by people particularly the media men and women. Either good or bad, what really matters is their work – personal interests. In the movie “Mad City”, this reality is noticeable; Max Brackette, along with the young intern named Laurie, reports exclusively on television the story inside the museum just to revive his dying career. Laurie is also willing to do whatever it takes to further her career as a reporter. The more their face seen on television, the more they think that could become popular and become good media men in the eyes of many. …the Church knows that man can use them in ways that are contrary to the Creator’s design and damaging to himself. Indeed, contraries to Creator’s design happen today. Hence, the Church clamors us, she cries every night every day for justice because media is for her propagation of the kingdom of God and not for the kingdom of people here on earth. People are unjust and the Church is not being justified. 

 However, media could also help and destroy life. In the movie, we see that Baily wants the police to let him return home to his wife and kids, refusing to accept that he's going to jail. Brackett, however, makes an agreement rather than let Hollander have the story, prompting Hollander to publicly accuse Brackett of prolonging the crisis and endangering the children. Actually, at the very beginning, Baily’s desire is simply just to retain his work. When the media men came, the situation truly became more complicated. And because of Brackette’s hidden agenda (to revive his career and to become popular), the situation is prolonged and put the lives inside the museum on danger.  

Max Brackette can be associated as media itself. As he is free to come and go to museum, media can also come and go. And along the way, media could tell the truth, and even lies. In recent situations in our country, this is very evident. Media could manipulate everything and jeopardize people. The number of died people on the previous super typhoon Yolanda were not reported properly. Almost ten thousands were died according to their estimations but it is not really is. All of those things were just a form of taking advantage the minds of people. Hence, the powerful influence of it was not used properly and lead to a disastrous effects. 

“3. …its task involves employing the means of social communication to announce the good news of salvation and to teach men how use them properly.”

To announce the good news of salvation is the basic task of any means of social communication as stated above. It also aims to use men of the proper use of it. But how could this media as one of the means of social communication educate people if it does not apply what they must apply? Indeed, to communicate is to practice virtue. To communicate is to pass on what is right. To communicate is to live out what we are ought to live out. To communicate is participate on the good news of salvation. 

In the movie, Brackett allows the situation to worsen until the police finally have had enough and issued a five-minute warning to Baily to release the hostages. Baily realizes that he had lost everything especially when his friend died. He lets the children go. He asked Brackett to convince the police to put down their guns so he could personally usher out Baily. But instead of facing the imprisonment, he locks the museum doors on Brackett, who's outside trying to get the police to listen. Brackett tries to get him, but Baily ignores him. Brackett is unaware that Baily has decided to set off his explosives, committing suicide. 

Media indeed can truly worsen any situation as Brackett also allows the situation to worsen in the movie. It could make people down. And it could also even make people weak in times of difficult situations like in the situation of Baily. It could even lose hope, as a matter of fact, Baily commits suicide. 

“… it will be principally for laymen to animate these media with Christian and human Spirit and to ensure that they live up to humanity’s hopes for them, in accordance with God’s design.”

Media do not actually mean bad. In fact, it is to animate or enliven people with Christian and human Spirit. It is for the good of the people. It is good as long as it is with Christian principles and could be able to Christianize men. Hence, it is good as long as it is in accordance with God’s will and designs. But if it causes grief and sorrows, clearly, it is bad. Its effects morally determine whether media is helpful or not. 

“5. Because of the progress of the modern society and increasing interdependence of its members on one another, it is obvious that information is very useful and essential.” Truly, people need media in today’s situation. It is essential for we need to pass on information and we cannot not to communicate with the others, our family, our friends, our relatives, our businessmen and the likes. 

At the end of the movie, reporters surround Brackett to ask about Baily, all he can say is, "We killed him"-referring to how the media handled the situation. In this case, media kills. The media which should give hope to the lives of every people became a demonic instrument to put people down and depressed even death. And because of the power of media, truly, it could become a temptation to media men – to show of themselves. They would tell everything even lies just keep their face on television, just to further their careers and become popular. However, God does not want these things to happen. It is not his will. His will is to love and communicate it whatever means we know. Whether it is by means of radio, television, and other means of social communication, still, our end is to communicate, to share, to express, to outburst what is inside our hearts. Indeed, to communicate is to give ourselves to others. And to give our whole self to others is the best way God wants us to do - not just to show our face in front of media but to show and give what is innate, the reality, the truth which is God himself. Hence, media must be a God-centered media! Likewise, it must be a Gospel-oriented and patterned on God’s designs. If media truly possesses these ideals, media will never fail to carry out its mission – to pass on the message of salvation to others.