As promised in my last blog post here I am giving my take on the Indian media. I always believed that power of words can cause more damage than violence, no wonder I blog. Words attack the best part of a human being – the mind. One should always realize what their words are capable of, maybe the Indian media is aware about this but it has misinterpreted the power they have and used it for their own cause which is best known to them and them only. I was always hesitant to write about the media just because of the fact that I am ashamed to the core, and lightning up the real picture just makes me feel miserable as person holding an Indian passport.
News was meant to be for information, for awareness, for citizens to know what their country is upto and all what’s happening all around the world. Now, it’s how you present that information. It’s a constant quest for the news channels to attract viewers so they can have job security. This is where the emotional melodrama and high decibel reporting comes into the picture. The anchors that previously just sat and read what came up in the teleprompter have now turned into some over expressive patriots’ and wannabe media activists. The thought of imagining Indian media in front of the world is scarring and I don’t have the courage or the strength to even go there.
‘The Nation is angry and people need an answer’ approach is the best and the easiest way for a news channel to go about dealing with the frustration of the citizens on the political master’s lack of accountability. But we Indians have a habit of overdoing it. The news anchors suddenly become experts on every subject every night. Pick up any scam, any scandal our anchors can throw the documents at you. IB, RAW, GOI or even CBI have no escape and they even have a panel of so called experts who echo the same thing with the same intensity and fury. I wish our judiciary was as quick and decisive as our Indian top journos are. I feel sorry for the people who actually try to defend a point which is other than that of the anchor’s. A guy on a death roll has a better chance of making a point than them.
Within the one-hour duration of Kangaroo court (any news show), an Indian anchor is capable of bullying his/her guest panelists to participate in a summary trial loaded with self-righteous harangues, aimed not just at the targeted wrong doer but also at those who dare resist your requirement that the verdict against the targets of their ire be pronounced right then and there. Unfortunately, some of the younger anchors are also catching on this disease. Therefore, it needs to be controlled before it assumes epidemic proportions.
The anchors and the news channel are under the illusion that they are wrapped in the national flag; everyone will automatically accept the purity of your intentions and the workability of their prescriptions on every single issue. It is a morally accepted code that you acquire the right to criticize or debate someone’s views or ideas only if you first demonstrate that you have understood their position in great depth and appreciate the complexities and nuances of the opponent’s argument. This code definitely is crushed by the Indian media every hour and every day in epic proportions.
Plenty of people like me are becoming exasperated with such posturing and want news channels to provide them real news instead of organizing daily cock-fights in T.V. studios. They possibly don’t realize that narcissism and oversimplification of social/political issues has serious consequences since it is not limited to raving and ranting against corruption and political mismanagement. Debates on issues like Kashmir and Death penalty are as regular as TV soaps.
Having said that, we also can’t ignore the majority of our fellow countrymen who fall for this crap. They even find a way of justifying the current state of our media. They even go to the extent of sharing stuff on social networks showing how our brave anchors owned the politicians but not letting them utter even a word in their defense and even abruptly marking silly irresponsible comments. It’s the housewives and the boy chicks who give the news channels much needed TRP to survive and keep their payroll on. Not to forget they are the same ones who responds to the stupid polls conducted every hour.
I thought of making this post a sophisticated one by not mentioning the big guns of Indian media but apparently I can’t keep it all clean and goody goody.
Rajdeep Sardesai, this guy is old school and more recently referred as ‘Hmmm’ Guy. A puppet who can’t decide which party is paying him and when. He earned my respect after the biased reporting in Gujarat Riots and Cash for vote saga.
Shekhar Gupta, his role as a mouthpiece of a political party is up there as the very best, shame that such a person is associated with Indian Express, his show ‘Walk the Talk’ is at par with ‘Koffee with Karan’ or even ‘On the couch with Koel’.
Karan Thapar, KT is not blessed with stature and the same goes for his journalism. One can say he has improved a bit but still retains the unwanted scowl and growl when interviewing people. Madhu Trehan in her News Laundry interview showed up KT for the little puppy he was. I like the signature line of his talk show, “I don’t want to go into the facts, the facts are disputed” LOL What a Legend!!!
The Powerpuff Girls, Not to sound confusing but who I mean is Sagarika Ghose and Barkha Dutt. I must confess that I had a crush on Sagarika Ghose but that was before I grew brain cells, she misses no chance to prove she is a ‘journalistic bimbo’ by mindless tweets on the social network. Be it about ‘ugly Indian males’, or Orange being a colour in our national flag or sending out a Good Friday greeting and withdrawing it she is truly the court-jester of Indian journalism. Barkha on the other hand started her mark by insulting the Kargil war and haven’t stepped down one bit in her Delhi studio. The only road to redemption for Barkha is apologising for past blunders. While she and another one have been vocal in demanding apologies and expressions of remorse from public figures the same standard doesn’t seem to apply to her. She is probably the only news celeb on TV that has a ‘wardrobe sponsor’. All the image makeovers may not help much.
Death of decent journalism owes a small debt to the ones mentioned above but it can’t thank Arnab Goswami enough.
This guy is just GODLIKE. Many people including me (make that a billion people) have forgotten the real India. Arnab hasn’t. He knows that India. And this India. All Indias. India knows him. In fact, he is India. I have heard people say that you may get scared listening to the Newshour on Times Now when he starts shouting your child may start crying, you may drop your coffee, or an aging person in the house may have a heart attack and die, but that’s because you are weak. You don’t have the mental and physical strength to listen to the day’s news. You don’t understand that anyone can read the news, but how many can feel the news? Tear the news? Break the news? Blow the news? Be blown by the news? No one. He’s figured out the crucial Indian trait that many have forgotten – to deny things even before anything is said. To reject their argument way before the argument is made. Timed to perfection, like a Tiger Woods-infidelity. Right after “Arnab I think-” and boom. There. Every night. Come the tsunami of NOs. Never a second late, like a master craftsman. It’s like watching Michelangelo. It’s ungrateful. Unfair. But anyone who’s understood the workings of the world, or has watched the Oscars (Arnab has done both, simultaneously), knows that we live in an unfair, ungrateful planet. Where’s his Dadasaheb Phalke Award? His Nobel? His Rajya Sabha bungalow? His bid for India’s President? It’s sad. But messiahs are never understood in their time. Maybe Dadasaheb Phalke will receive the Arnab Goswami award, when there’s justice. “Mera Bharat Mahaan”, that old Doordarshan patriotic theme song should be replaced by “Mera Bharat Yahaan”, sung my Mr. Arnab Goswami. Yahaan being his Newshour studio. Naturally. The world and people like you and me are too stupid to understand what a national hero Arnab is. If you don’t know who Arnab is, you deserve to die but since we live in an unfair world you won’t die so go to YouTube and seek salvation by watching the great Mr. Arnab Goswami or else there is always Newshour on TIMES NOW.
I think I went overboard, how can one not when it’s about Arnab Goswami. However it’s not all bad with Indian Media, the journalism is still alive you may not see it on a massive or more commercial scale but its there. Have always been a big fan of DD news, the most sophisticated and sensible news channel our country have with no preferences no sudden priorities and no nonsense reporting.
Freedom of speech is a massive power which India being the largest democracy gives to the people and more importantly to the media. But as Uncle ben said ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ (Spiderman, Cmon :P) It is a platform to raise your voice in a constructive manner resulting into a change for good but not for being your primal self and going about to survive in the news industry making news spicy and over the top reporting. It’s time people stop encouraging this trend which is followed by the media, but at the end of the day channels gives what the viewers want. If we demand clean and clear information, piled up with sensible discussions leading into constructive criticism of the government or any authority we can do ourselves a favour and actually see something meaningful when you turn on a news channel.