Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mumbai Horror - the media circus

For the 3 days of the Mumbai Horror I couldn't stop watching TV. Initially I was shocked beyond words to turn it off and then it was why isn't it many people will lose lives, sort of thing that kept me staring at the TV. But through it all there was just one question - why are the top television journalists acting like headless chickens?

Some of the brilliant questions the journos were asking were beyond comprehension! They asked one of the Security officers (in charge of NSG I think) "Have you ever been in a situation as grave as this?" The man blinks and says well, no...we haven't seen anything like this. And Lo behold the next minute the ticker on the channel says "NSG: Never been in a situation like this"

Barkha Dutt, the beacon of Indian television journalism and the inspiration for all young things to come into the idiot box was at her brilliant best. She couldn't stop showing off her connection to the "sources" and the insensitive questions wouldn't stop coming. At one point she announced to us that a Pakistani Minister had called her directly and said Pakistan will do whatever it can to help us. I am wondering how come she didn't ask him why he didn't call his Indian counterpart to make it official. She wouldn't stop asking the relatives of hostages "How are you feeling?" or "you must be horrified..."

Yes it takes tremendous energy to do this kind of reporting and we appreciate your energy but would it be too much trouble to be a less dramatic and a little more balanced? Or is "balance" a word that is taught to you out of compulsion at journalism schools?

Arnab Goswami was the other guy lose his head on air. He was saying things that one hears at a discussion at a dinner table with his guests. That means a lot of guessing (Intelligent guesses at times if I may add) and say things like India should've beefed up security...really you think so? And his guests were Prahlad Kakkar and Arjun Rampal. Of course they were discussing national security with no more authority than I do. But since he's the only adult employed at Times Now...We just have to make do with him.

On Headlines Today Rahul Kanwal (who other wise is quite sane but I guess the whole thing got to him) was trying to hard show the anger of the country's people by shouting questions at politicians, trying to provoke them. HT's defence expert Shiv Aroor was giving us insights on what kind of chopper was being used airdrop commandos on to the Nariman House. The details included the make, the capaicity and the kind of arms that can carry or has. Is that the kind of information you reveal while the operation is going on at that moment?

There are tons and tons of mails / sms / blogs compalining about the media hoopla. In response to it there are some emails from the journalists saying it is easier criticise and one thing to be in the middle of all the action and there are restrictions. Yes we agree but then when you are on national television and practically everyone knows how much you are paid. So the least you can deliver is common sense added to your "knowledge." Is that too much to ask?


Kannan said...

A joke among journalists here is that had Barkha (whom one blogger called Bark At Datt), and Rajdeep Sardesai been reporting live from Nariman House, the siege would have ended in a few hours with terrorists jumping out of the window.

Abhipraya said...

Yeah that is not entirely impossible. They make you want to tear your hair everytime they appear on screen!

Samba said...

Indeed fabulous guests - Arjun Rampal, Rahul Bose.....

I hated Sagarika Ghose the most among everyone.