Monday, October 04, 2010

Press Hard-Pressed?

It’s very natural for common men like us to go by what media says about someone. We can’t go to every news-making place and obtain first hand information on everything. Compared to the regional language media the quality and maturity of English media is far better. So, it is all the more natural for us to believe them more. We hardly get to know about how political parties and leaders lobby in the media circle. They write about all sorts of lobbying, but who would write about the lobbying being done with them?!

One thing that I often get to hear from my friends closer to media circle is about paid news. Even Rajdeep Sardesai had blogged about paid news sometime back. I was shocked when I heard about it first time, but have got used to it now. These are things that we have never thought of as common men and women. Even when everyone around me was talking about match fixing in Cricket, I was not bothered about it. But, I got a strong doubt when I saw the way one of our guys got out in the Chennai one-dayer against Pakistan in which Saeed Anwar scored 195. He (our guy) literally threw his wicket. He gave an easy catch in square leg as soon as he entered the crease, which was missed by the fielder in square leg. Again, in the next ball itself or in the same over, he lofted towards the same fielder, which was caught making no mistakes by the same person this time.

Likewise, I have started getting some sort of doubts about our media (English media in particular) from the way they talk about some politicians. Even very small things that are done by a few politicians are exaggerated so much and some people are looked at like comedians or villains irrespective of whatever they do. One reason could be the natural bias based on their own opinion about various parties for various reasons. It could be accepted as it is natural and is called natural bias. For example, leaning left or right ideologically happens out of this bias. We should just consciously follow both of them for only one side of the story. We have to hear both their views and use our intelligence to separate lie from truth. We just can’t take whatever they say as is. We would be the losers if we do so.

A good literature should provoke its reader to think on his own instead of being judgmental, they say. The same is applicable for our media too. They are anyway judgmental. We should just be conscious about their preferences in order to provoke our thinking based on their views. We should just use their judgments as the inputs to our thought processes. The best advantage we as viewers or readers get is that we get to know the bad things done by both the parties. Nothing goes unnoticed unless we consciously decide to take sides.

The channels run by the political party heads in some states act so funny that one talks as if everywhere it is bloodbath and the other talks as if it is all heaven and happiness. Any sane person watching their news one after the other would either go insane or stop watching their channels from the next day. A friend of mine who was very fond of both their news used to call their news times as comedy times. So, it’s better not to be bothered too much about them. More so, because they make it very obvious as to which side they belong to and most of us have the basic intelligence to understand such a propagative tone. We can only hope that they understand the flaw in their communication style and correct themselves sooner than later to become serious in our eyes. On the other hand, we can’t help it if they are least bothered about people like us who claim to be more intelligent than their regular viewers who are absolutely alright or impressed with their style of communication.

What is disturbing is the subtle propagation done for or against a particular party by the so called neutral people in a way that we common men and women can't understand. They have a credible image as they have been unbiased in their views on most of the topics (except for the ones on which they are in question in the next few paragraphs). They are more intelligent than the ones that run comedy channels as we discussed above. So, they have a non-propagative tone (in-born or developed), which makes everything that they say convincing. They have the right data to back their stand convincingly irrespective of which side of the fence they are on.

I used to be impressed with the views of one such local editor of a national daily sometime back. I would agree with every single statement that he makes. He gave me good reasons to back some of my own likes and dislikes, rather my natural biases. I didn’t know that he was an editor. I was thinking that he was just a columnist. I was shocked when I heard from a media friend that he was an editor and he was paid a lot of money by a national party to write in favor of them or not to write too bad about them. I am not very sure if that was true. I want it to be false. But, the point here is that even they are not exceptions when it comes to falling prey for money or giving room for such allegations at least. It is not that he would have been paid to write in a particular manner. But, he might have been paid for his favorable views initially and got worse later. Whatever be the case, moral of the story is not to believe anyone on the face value. It sounds like the very basic lesson taught in childhood, right?!

Another case came from a friend who looks at every problem from a particular angle. A different angle that most of us are not used to! I am not very comfortable with that angle, but at the same time I don’t want to slam the doors shut. He may be right. He has a lot of conspiracy theories. When I talk about the taste of the water, he talks about how contaminated it is. What feels like fresh air to me is explained as polluted air by him. When I see the label of a product for the list of ingredients, he says the list is not complete and there are other hazardous ingredients that are not mentioned in the list. He says that many things are not visible to bare eyes. One should always look at things with a suspicious eye more minutely than we do usually.

If we do that what comes out is this. ‘Leaders from a certain background are easily ridiculed, made fun of and their achievements are abnormally belittled by English media whereas it is not done to those from certain other background’. Again, I am not very sure if this is true. I want it to be false. To my bare eyes, irrespective of whichever background they are from, they still look ridiculous, funny and least achieved as they are being portrayed by the English media. I still think they don’t deserve a better portrayal. But, I don’t want to close my bare eyes until I confirm whether it is true or false.

Your data to prove or disprove the hypotheses would be appreciated!

2 comments:

  1. You have many of the questions which are bothering me today a year back. While the intentions of regional media- like SunTV, Kalaignar TV or Jaya TV- are clear, it is the so called unbiased national, English channels which are the cause of concern. I have been reading reports of cash flow problems of TV 18 and how they have been raising funds by hook or crook; similarly there were reports of NDTV raising money through questionable means. Point is when they raise funds like this, do they compromise their views to the diktats of the financier.

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  2. Thanks for reading the post and the comment, sir. Yes. It's very evident from the way they talk. But, beyond a point, we can't make out what is true and what is not. I am really going crazy with all these, these days. :(

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