Saturday, December 20, 2008

We The People...Which people?

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.


  1. what you've said is pretty much true. The media is the new form of fascism. But we don't have much to worry about because, the average Indian watches the news channel, 'tch-tch'es, and goes back to sony t.v.
    It's not like anything they say really matters because, we as a nation are mostly apathetic, we just talk.
    And the ones who are really out there, changing the world won't be seen on t.v coz they are too busy doing their job to answer the questions of the next journalist. comment is a mini blog-post but 'media' is a thought provoking subject.

  2. i remember the diatribe,screeching,n horase voice reporting by jounalist on d 26 nov carnage.. i strongly feel tat, its high tym 4 media 2 introspect its role.yellow journalism... sensationalisation is sumthin we gotta do away with...2day even amitabh's stomach ache become a news!... this is how low d standards of indian media hv drooped 2. m certainly becoming ur blog follower..CHEEERS!

  3. Why oh why do people want to become idealists?

    Not all children in a class can be top rankers [unless and until it is B science]. Likewise, not all TV programs can be good.
    In the olden days, the people who got to air programs were the best in the business. Today, the people who got to air programs are those who get the best business.
    In those days, programs were few but good. Today, programs are many but few are good. thus, the number of good programs remains constant, but that of bad programs has grown.
    This has happened because almost every billionaire has made a foray into mass media and so almost every Tom, Dick and Harry has been recruited for news reporting. Since, all these people cannot really get important issues to cover, a majority of them simply sensationalise issues of national unimportance like, Aishwarya Rai breaking a toe nail.

    So, the solution is to simply stop watching these programs. if you don't watch it, its demand will drop and so will business and soon the program will end.

    There are good programs for people like you [eg: The Big Fight, Shree Sifarshilal, office office etc] and there is still hope. So, instead of watching stupid programs and 'tch-tch'ing, just use the remote dear.

  4. btw, again a nice are doing well

  5. @ anaghaa
    i understand what you mean....i mean it has now become about who has the best and the biggest news and not about portraying the truth....
    to tell you the truth, I always had the opinion that such wolfish nature was a necessary evil as it,at least, made sure that the truth is portrayed in all its facets, that the people know everything there is to. But yellow journalism has grown to such an extent, there is so much commotion in the media because Aishwarya Rai got a paper cut(maybe Katrina Kaif caused it by making sure she featured on the cover of the magazine so that Aishwarya would read it)....

    I MEAN, WHAT THE #%&^??

    I don't think that not watching these channels is the answer because they are the ones showing the truth....most of the time, anyway!
    If we don't watch the news at all, we won't even know how the world works, how things function and where the world is....lets face it, Barack Obama would not be a hero if the media would not have supported him.....

    anyways, i hope you can come up with a solution to this....

  6. Well, I don't know what you mean by the truth, but I think that the media shows everything BUT the truth. If by watching such channels if WE get to know that the world is getting worse day by day, then I think its really great. But If you really want to know WHAT is going on AND understand it, then I think we need to watch NEWS that is unbiased, which unfortunately not many NEWS channels present.

    However, there are channels like CNBC awaaz and CNBC TV18 and 9X NEWS that do a fine job. They do exactly what a NEWS channel should do.
    We should watch channels like these and boycott the others so that they get the point and stop airing nonsense lik "KAAL KAPAL MAHAKAAL" which not only breeds ignorance but also tarnishes the image of the MEDIA.

    As far as Barack Obama is concerned, I think he won because of a number of factors. the most important being his clean and inspiring image, second being his strong oratory powers and third being an excellent campaign management. The support of the media was just the icing on the cake.

  7. Well written...lot of stuff I think about as well.Just too bored of Barkha Dutt shouting it out to even bother to voice an opinion.
    @Aamil..Obama is one hell of an influence,agree.

  8. it was so good, i wanted people to read it.and i know hindu doesnt come here to many houses.