In defence of the media..

Greg Chappell Quit. And thats over and done with. And its time to move on.

Mainstream media will just have to find a new horse to flog. And they’ll probably get one as the events of the weekend pan out.

There are a whole host of people talking about the massive overreaction in India to the loss. And it is an overreaction, but that doesnt change the fact that it is the real thing. And thats the way its always been. Degrees is all it is.

OJ Simpson, Martha Stewart, The CNN Effect – are all examples of an overindulgent media – with debatable effects. Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital which became so popular that we almost believed it. Almost. Many years ago, a certain influential gent, with a few ideas of his own , wrote Mein Kampf. Not unaware of the power of media, he made sure that by the end of the war, 10 million copies were in circulation. (every newly-wed couple, as well as front soldiers, received free copies). His thoughts included – The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one & The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.

For as long as can one wishes to look , media has been shaped by given shape to the times.

Media in India – on all fronts – is going through revolutionary, and in the long run, even evolutionary changes. We’re just in the middle of it. Its the same media which created the superstars and role models out of everyday people. It was indeed the same media that attempted to create the winning habit. Or gave us a taste of it anyway. The one that we so want to be addicted to now. But it took time. To expect that cultural change to be a smooth one with no pitfalls and stumbling blocks along the way is naive. There will be, and have been, overreactions. In defeat and in victory.

A few days ago, had written the following in a comment on Kartik’s blog. Think the whole media obsession is something which is increasingly a weakness of our generation ..By that I mean , we (thats presumptuous me and a few others!)were brought up in a time when media was pretty rare and what appeared in the newspapers / tv (rarer still) was considered almost gospel – or newsworthy in the true sense of the term. The surge of media has, to a large extent made the discerning lot of that generation somewhat handicapped. We treat everything in media as something that shud be respectable and well thought out. A great quality but one of those that given the times we are in, make it a weakness. Here in sports and indeed in politics, financial journalism or even entertainment, there is a huge supply of fly-by-night types for whom a story is just a one day thing. For them, there will be another story tomorrow. There better be.The next generation – by conditioning – treats this with a lot less respect than we do. Somewhere down the line , in the big picture, the grain will get sifted from the chaff and the better journalists – will remain.Till then though , our generation will react with dismay at the crumbling standards of reporting. And with fanaticism because we believe what we hear. In financial journalism , its even more rampant / true . When bubblevision says its good, its considered great. When they say its worrisome, its considered tragic.

To carry the bubblevison analogy further, these are necessary corrections in Indian cricket’s bull market – Media, Spectators, Fans and all. Deeming a market irrational is daft. We make the market. And we pay the price.

2 thoughts on “In defence of the media..

  1. The Indian media is the master of speaking through forked tongues.
    That they build and tear down icons is one aspect of it. What is galling is tht after tearing down the icon, they pontificate on how the “masses” indulge in hero worship and how we can never have any heroes because we do not give them enough respect.
    They worship Mammon and then preach on the evils of doing so.
    In thiner quest for TRPs, they will stoop to any level – then turn around and say that it is the “masses” that forced them to.
    They ask us for balance, when they themselves are unbalanced.
    There is a whore in all of us, and everyone has a price.. The Indian media is not worth its two paise even!

  2. Not for a moment am I saying that the jingoistic way of the media is correct – As a matter of fact , I wish they were as keen to push for performance, accountability and life outside the job from the politicians and bureaucrats of the country – All I am saying is that in my view, we’re in the middle of a big media boom . There’s a huge market for all things Indian both within the country and outside and everyone wants a share of the pie. Whats more, there’s a very small %age of the players in the media game that have the courage to stick by the rules and the standards of good media and reporting – but its heartening to see that they havent buckled under the pressure. The rollercoaster’s going real fast and yes, it does get a bit dizzy. But I think if we keep those seatbelts fastened and those helmets on , this too shall pass.

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