Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Media, and What Are They Good For?

Ever watched one of those shows on TV where they have a ‘panel of experts’ debating a particular issue? Of course you have. And have you noticed how once the ‘experts’ start to run out of ammunition to attack their topic from their original viewpoint, they will invariably start to blame the media for the problem?

I remember this problem plaguing The Big Fight, when Rajdeep Sardesai used to host the show and I used to still watch it. I don’t watch it anymore but I’d bet good money the problem’s still there. No matter what the topic was or who the participants were, at least one of them would at some point look at Rajdeep and say, “Oh, but you know Rajdeep, this is all the media’s fault after all!”

And then the others would play the perfect chorus and join in. It’s surprising how easily people who were debating each other tooth and nail a minute ago can unite to heap blame on the common enemy -- the media! I remember the media getting blamed for everything from Sourav Ganguly’s axing from the Indian national squad to the crash in the stock markets.

Even interviews often go down the same road. They start off all merry and bright, but as soon as the interviewee realizes that he or she has no credible points left, it’s time for some healthy media-bashing!

“Of course, the blame for this whole reservations issue lies with the media! If they didn’t focus so much on these students protesting and going on hunger strikes and setting themselves on fire [and what not], there wouldn’t be such a big fuss about it at all!”

To be very fair -- the Indian media aren’t the greatest. I mean, they could do with a little flak coming their way.

I read this headline on the sports page of one of leading English dailies:
“Breaking Records is a Sign of Improvement: Shiny [Wilson]”

Really, Ms Wilson? How bright of you! I’m sure Scotland Yard is desperately in need of someone with the proficiency for perspicacious observation that you display.

Then of course there’s the ‘Breaking News’ epidemic that’s hit news channels across the country. Everything is breaking news! A couple of days ago I saw the following scrolling at the bottom of one of the news channels:

Huh? To me that’s about as ‘breaking’ as saying George Bush is still President of the United States of America!

I can’t imagine a CNN news show winding off with:
“To remind you once again of our BIG story of the day -- George Bush is still President of our country. [Shakes head] Unbelievable! Well folks, that’s all we have for you tonight. I’m Alan Smith. Good night and thank you for tuning in. [Smiles]”


alice said...

i agree with u on that experts blaming the media...

and the breaking news is funny...

we've had journalist covering some saint in a remote village...where he said he'll die at some particular time...that was funny..

_ð!®†ß¤¥ said...

This 'blame the media' thing takes a real sweet turn when one form of media starts blaming another..

Breaking news.. Ah,well,i always thought the breaking was of your patience and a moment later, may be your telly (as an after effect)

maverick said...

coincidentally, Rajdeep sardesai also writes about the same issue (or thereabouts) on his blog today.
His views though, aren't in agreement with yours...
read here..

Arnold said...

alice - saint saying he'll die at some particular time and place?? they call it suicide where i come from, you know!

facesmasher - yes and yes

maverick - thanks man.. nice link.. [did i ever mention i love the guy? :P]

Anonymous said...

How could you Arnold.. I thought you professed your true and undying love to KT long long time back.. Such infidelity..

Saltwater Blues said...

I hate both RS and bludy KT ..they could both learn a thing or two in interviewing techniques from BBC's Hardtalk.

You write well Arnie mah-man.

...and khabardaar if you change the name of your blog again!

Arnold said...

saltwater blues - HAHA! okay, KT isnt Karan Thapar! He's a friend of mine [Kunal Thakar!] but there's no way you could have known that, since he isnt quite famous yet!

and you don't like the new name, buddy?

p.s: Hardtalk is indeed excellent!

Freaky Chakra said...

i concur, news channels except maybe CNN-IBN & Headlines Today... need a lot of maturity. Iam thinkin Zee News with their dramatisation of petty crimes in heartland of India & sensationalisation of the same.

Iam thinkin Aaj Tak, Iam thinkin Star News. Damn it's sad!

ruhey said...

hey Arnold..
too bad the media is blamed for EVERYTHING...if u saw the aamir khan interview on ibn(bet RS and Aamir)but the truth is ..itz there on ur television screens cuz ppl want it...ppl WANT to read whether hrithik roshan had a boy or girl...I knw itz sad tht such news make it to the headlines, but ppl encourage it. But then there are papers and channels who are genuine in their approach..Indian Express for starters, and IBN on the braodcasting front. ITz always media...they r always irresponsible..ya right when they do a good thing, it just passes by..another eg- MUMBAI FLOODS...the papers were flooded with the news for over a month..excellent job dun there.

Arnold said...

ruhey - Hmm.. I did see the AK interview on CNN-IBN. If I remember correctly he said something like - "If you guys are so interested in covering stuff like Karishma's marriage problems etc, then don't call yourselves a news channel. Call yourselves an entertainment channel!"

I think we ought to have an E-News [Entertainment News] channel like they do in the West, which specifically covers this kind of stuff - who's going out with whom and who's breaking up. If we can have a Business news channel, why not one for entertainment? The regular news guys can be left to cover the real issues then.

This keeps everyone's happy. What say?

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