What started off on a quiet Sunday morning with the report of a death of a stupendous movie star slowly turned into a fanatical, over the top discussion on how the actor died, what she must have consumed to trigger the fall and a host of other conspiracy theories; after a post mortem report that declared the previous statement wrong. What really irked me yesterday was the superficial abandon with which certain journalists on prime time shows talk and air their views or throw around unsolicited opinions. All this because a “journalist’s job is to ask questions”, apparently.
The insinuations and the subtle hinting at criminal acts was just the start of this debate. What has Indian Media really come to? Is the idea of achieving a high TRP so lustful that you will spout baseless opinions and sensational, dramatic ideas just to stay on top of the game? While one anchor on a regional channel actually brought in a pink bath tub and entered it with a camera to show the audience how she could have collapsed, another really famous anchor conducted his usual prime time debate calling in absolutely random, never-heard-of personalities to give their opinions on how the actor must have died, possible scenarios and more. Forget the other important, real issues of the world. That won’t get the eyeballs after all! This particular show has become another general entertainment channel and most people view it for their hourly, mindless entertainment as opposed to watching it for actual news.
To the extent where I even caught my parents discussing that day if they should watch an hour of screaming or should just resort to a quieter and a more peaceful hour of a show like 24. And that really shows what news channels have come to, in this day and age. I am personally not a great fan of Sridevi and I have watched maybe one movie of hers. But the way her death was handled by the media was reckless, inhuman and absolutely derogatory. I wonder sometimes how these journalists sleep at night after portraying nothing but falsity with a clear lack of basic integrity in work ethic. When did debating prime time on someone’s death become acceptable? What is the general EQ of these people who decide to appear and speak their minds, contemplating and analyzing how much liquor she must have consumed or how the word “accidental” is an adjective that cannot be written by doctors? To the extent where the anchor even called in people from the forensic departments to give in their opinions. I mean what a scam! Shameful, to say the least.
I have been a writer for a while now and there were days when I used to question my choice. I always looked up to journalists and women like Barkha Dutt still amaze me. I felt I could never do what they did. Ask those kind of questions, get to the root of the case, be so unabashedly inquisitive and pry so mercilessly into someone’s life. It requires a different mind-set and a writer who spends half her time dreaming and the other half writing about what could possibly be categorized as “frivolous subjects”, could never be that journalist or that reporter. But I think, that thought was put to rest yesterday. I guess I don’t even want to be that reporter. The rat race looks vicious from the outside and I am pretty sure it’s ten times deadlier on the inside. With people screaming their lungs out, throwing around facts that aren’t always verified, angles in stories that no one could have dreamt of and sensationalizing irrelevant news to a point where the public starts viewing you for gossip and general entertainment, is heart breaking to watch. And that is the sorry state of affairs of news channels in our country.
Broken. Filled with contempt. Dangerously competitive. And superficial. Everything that they should not be. Everything, that changes the way the nation looks at issues.