Zone back to 1963, at around 30 minutes past two, when Walter Cronkite, of CBS News, takes off his glasses when announcing the death of John F.Kennedy.He puts them back on slowly, and struggles to read the next line from his card.One of the most poignant moments of television journalism.
And now, back to the 21st century.Contrast the aforesaid with 60 hours of visual media coverage (read shameless voyeurism) of the terror in Mumbai.To quote some French guy (I don't remember who, but really smart though), "the obscenity of the media is no longer of what is hidden, repressed, forbidden or obscure, but it is the obscenity of the visible, of the all-too-visible and the more-visible-than-visible". So true.
I think that the aspect that is most problematic is the portraying of the Good press Vs. the Evil politicians.This posturing is seen in the shrill rhetoric of blaming the State and political class.The assumed moral superiority of the media over the politicians is perhaps the biggest myth of capitalist democracy.The recent news coverage of the attacks in Mumbai uncovered the fact to me that the media and the political class absolutely CANNOT do without each other.And such a synergy is best illustrated by the media's mutually beneficial relationship with capitalist interests including the entertainment industry.For instance, NDTV's We The People where the panel included Simi Garewal, Ratna Pathak Shah, Luke Kenny and Kunal Kohli.Oh, and Ness Wadia.Only the media can transform the rich and famous into "we the people".
The "close door " button in a lift does nothing, but makes you think that it makes the door close faster.The presumed power of the media does the exact same thing.They are not really "public opinion", a word that is misused, if not abused, today. The media simply gives you an illusion of actually participating in the affairs of the State.If democracy to the true meaning of the word is achieved, the media will never be able to sell the things that it is able to, very easily, sell today, especially terror as a packaged product. Until then, it's going to be more of Shobha Des and Ness Wadias waving their banners for lesser taxes , in an attempt to "connect" with the common man and fight for them and their rights.