The Sellouts

Curiosity killed the cat, we humans aren’t so different from the proverbial crow when it comes to the question on how far out are we prepared to let the media feed us with bogus and fabricated news packaged in shiny wrappers. News media today have perfected the art of vending what sells, in bulk. Yellow journalism often is a result of what the consumers wants to hear, read and watch. This is where the ground reality gets overhauled by the entertainment aspect for the amusement of the viewers. While the self indulging news anchors and the corporate firms behind them laugh their way to the bank on the backdrop of a heyday. Stage-managed stories have gradually become a significant money minting fixture in the fourth estate business.

By and large most news media channels are either owned by corporate houses or politicians with vested motivations and misplaced ideals. In a business where competition is fierce, new channels popping out from all quarters, the parent company cannot afford to run on losses. Every news segment must grab as many eyeballs as possible. The need “to be the first” network on the roster to broadcast a story ahead of the competition is nurtured. Facts are ignored, gossips conjured, and yet more they opt to garnish news with a hint of made-up, a dash of urgency and two handsful of the extravagant “BREAKING NEWS” to fuel the quest. Nothing ever is subtle in this business. News stories with vital contents are often sidelined for a reason that ground reality seldom sells with the Indian viewers. A bollywood masala flick in every aspect is destined to set the cash counter ringing than a regional film with a potential to win national awards on a decent boxoffice Friday, for instance. Presentation stamps authority over authenticity.

In this neo colonial age a news story is reduced to a product, concocted stories corner the speculation supermarket. Trending episodes from popular entertainment channels like Big Boss, singing and dancing contests and of course Rakhi Sawant is bestowed airtime because they ensure magnified viewership and guarantee TRP stability. If abandoning all sense of integrity and stooping low gets you to the top of the food chain, it’s a game they are geared up to play at the drop of the ball.

Political Shows they run on Television today are often opinionated and channeled to focus in favor of the anchor. The anchor in his holier than thou act displays no qualms playing judge, jury and the executioner dishing out verdicts based on speculations and accusations, immaterial of what the guests opines. The Indian news media for certain have set the benchmark for mediocrity, whilst the novelty quotient in the journalism profession has hit rock bottom. It’s a travesty we live in a country of a billion plus where the importance of delivering accurate news and serious ground reporting is reduced to a mere sideshow. To say the least, journalism is definitely up for sale. The freedom of expression given to the media via democracy should not be used against democracy itself, sadly the media personnel have taken the absolute liberty to abuse this right laid down by the Indian constitution.

Print media however does not enjoy much room in this quarter, what they lack in 24/7 transmission, the press certainly makes it up with incessant ads and goof ups. Bias reportings have been integral part of some local and national dailies favoring political parties while overlooking their transgressions.

Somewhere along the way the trust issues between the conscientious viewers and the mainstream media undergoes a shift in paradigm. At the end of the day, people deserve the right to an opinion that is not shaped by what they are told. In all modesty, media should uphold the integrity of the fourth pillar of democracy and remain firmly grounded with its facts, instead of sensationalizing issues and fabricating news. About time a luminary from this island of the morally unethicals emerge, pick up the pieces, salvage whats broken and restore a sense of balance in an industry plagued with iniquity.

(NEw Bureau)


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