Sometimes, being cynical helps!

Posted: June 21, 2014 in blogging
Tags: ,

They say you can take a man out of journalism, but can’t take journalism out of the man – however hard some people might try! How cynical we are about everything we see or hear has a lot to do with the way we are conditioned in our job.  And the longer we have been in journalism the more cynical we become. The funny thing is when we actually say something with all honesty, people refuse to believe us.

This thought came to me again the other day as I watched a show on a news channel about a young man who had been a victim of police excesses. I was visibly moved by his story. It is the tale of hundreds of young men who are allegedly picked up in the dead of night from their homes and put in solitary confinement. They are allegedly tortured, beaten and whipped until they ‘confess’.  It started during the Emergency and it has continued till date. Well, it started during the days of the British rule, but let’s not go that far back.

So anyway, my wife and I I watched the show with growing dismay at the way the man had been treated. After the show ended I thought about the manner in which the law enforcement authorities behaved all around the country. Look at the way they have been behaving in Uttar Pradesh and knowing their history nothing surprises me anymore. I sat brooding for a while and then my scepticism and cynicism got the better of me. There are always two sides to a story, I said to myself.

I called a very senior reporter I knew and asked him about this case, since they were both from the same state. What he said to me for over an hour in very minute detail left me quite shaken. Having worked with him and having known him to be a thorough professional I have no reason to doubt his word. After he had explained the entire case to me, since he had covered it, he went on a tangent.

He said something I have been hearing rather frequently in recent times, “I am getting tired of journalism. All we do is public relations.” He then launched into a diatribe of what journalism had become today.

“Leave alone investigative journalism, journalism itself is dead,” he said.

“Editors don’t want a story, all they want is PR couched as news,” was his next line. For a guy who prided himself on his journalistic skills and who I considered a crack reporter, it was a pretty astounding statement.

Just thought it was worth sharing, because we tend to carried away by what we see on the Idiot Box. Is that why it’s called that?

Of course, now everyone is agog about some industry veterans shown the door, and how corporate India is taking over the media.

But after what I saw about the chap who was ‘wrongly accused’, I really don’t know whether it really matters who owns the airwaves!

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