18 Apr 2007
According to Wikipedia, “News is any new information or information on current events which is relayed by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience.”
This definition is being taken in the very literal sense by the media which continues to spew out pointless crap and we lap it up like an IIT student would a law of Newton’s. Now, news is just an excuse to make money off the classifieds. The real issues aren’t even visible through this mist of pseudo-journalism. I apologize for not conjuring up a more novel example but let’s give a thought to how victories and defeats in cricket end up as first page news but no one gives a damn about the deterioration of our ecosystems.
During a lecture in 12th std Hindi a few months ago, the usual soporific state of the class was disturbed by a discussion by my professor. He told us that he was now afraid to let his 13 yr old daughter read the newspaper in fear that she would be influenced by wrong ideals and lose all the traditional Indian sensibilities instilled in her. Prof. Shukla then went on to say that, when he was young, parents encouraged their offspring to give great attention to the news material of those times. Those magazines had words of inspiration, speeches of motivation and articles of insight that helped the youth of the day base their life principles on.
But now, the entire scenario has taken a 180 degree flip. The mass media is now only a mouthpiece for bad tidings like murder, rape, fraud, fall-outs between families, partners of corporate firms and film stars turning into delinquents. Asking your child to read the newspaper is like asking them to play with fire.
The lighter sections of the paper now consist of a whole load of meaningless gossip that the paparazzi keep churning out. As I had discussed at work, try as I may to avoid the Hurley-Nayyar wedding fiasco, updates on their “amazing, celebrity lives” stare out at you from every news dailies. But the sky rocketing of interest rates of housing loans that is affecting the economy right from the monthly budget of the working youth to the entire nation’s course of banking is being ignored like a weak student in a class of geniuses. No one cares two hoots about the socio-economical progress of mankind.
Eventually it all boils down to us, the readers. We can’t blame the establishments for publishing futile information. Nobody asks us to accept that kind of reporting, we do it all of our own accord. Given a choice we would rather read about Jennifer Aniston’s next beau than the depleting ozone layer. We prefer the leisure sections full of cheesy humor and articles about how to understand the opposite sex. Reading how to cope with our senseless existence lures us against reading about the disintegration of our social system. So, we shall continue with our BTs, HTcafes and DNA After Hours, while the editions keep increasing in size with more and more supplements added to them day after day to persuade a different sect of readers into choosing their moronic ranting over others’. And as the papers pile up the only consolation is that we now earn more while selling off the old stacks every month.