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Life as I'm learning it

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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an agèd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Feasting on the dead

In his bestselling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell points out how some mannerisms exhibited by ABC newscaster Peter Jennings swayed viewers subconsciously towards Ronald Reagan in the US Presidential elections. Gladwell opines that though Jennings himself might not have been biased, the fact that sample polls conducted after people watched ABC broadcasts indicate a swing towards to Reagan is inescapable.

I pity Gladwell, and more so Jennings. Firstly, Jennings would have been without a job had he been in India. And Gladwell would not have had quotable material.

News on Tamil TV channels are sinking to new depths with each passing day. After all, this is election year in Tamil Nadu, but even then, certain things are nauseating.

For instance, take the reporting on yesterday's stampede, in which 42 people died. One popular TV channel chose to air as many wails as could have been accomodated in a ten-minute news item. There was one clip for every person lost.

True, deaths are frightening. And this incident is definitely tear-jerking. But the reportage was as if the newsmen were actually waiting / praying for something like this to happen. And on hearing about it, they licked their lips and told themselves, "Ah, what a great opportunity. We'll cover as many families as possible."

Shameless, sadistic, voyeuristic!


Blogger Selva said...

If it is politics in tamil news, it is the race to get viewership in Hindi news channels. I thought of posting a blog on the same topic when I saw the entire evening air time in star news was dedicated to re-union of Karishma kapoor and her husband - the hotel room in which they stayed - and what not...The best thing you can do with news channels (barring one or two) is to remove them from your TV.

12/20/2005 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Wacky Vin said...

Every news channel recruited too many journalists and left them open on roads. They will go as far as roads are laid out (No they won’t reach you if roads are not good enough for driving.

12/20/2005 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Venkat Ramanan said...

There are more news channels and news papers nowadays that need something as their USP. Our tamil channels choose political bashing as theirs! The two main channels (since you have not named them, I too don't want to :) ) keep bashing each other, but we know the fact that both are at fault. They don't have professional journalists in their team, but some kinky humans who just want viewership, but not refined viewership. Another startling feature that I noticed in "The Hindu" (I can't stop from naming them!) after this stampede was that there were many brutal pictures of dead people too including many wailing pics. Never have I noticed such Tamil newspapers kind of pictures appearing in The Hindu in the past. This points to - either the readership of the daily has also increased and added to it the locals, or that they have been forced to maintain their leadership somehow. At this point, I am reminded of how the International news channels, newspapers covered the last year's tsunami and created a huge impact even without displaying pictures of the dead. My question - Are we, Tamils in particular, Indians in general, so much interested in looking at pictures of the dead or devastation?

12/20/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Anu said...

"Are we, Tamils in particular, Indians in general, so much interested in looking at pictures of the dead or devastation?"

I don't think so..its just the perception of the TV Channels and Newspapers (The Hindu, I ask??!!! :-O) that we might.

Invading into other people's lives, their privacy, is incorrect.
And to do that at a time when there has been a heart-breaking incident in their family, is plain inhuman.

12/21/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The press in the name of freedom are royally infringing on people's privacy, be it public or famous personalities. I wish to recall the earlier days when a news was shown the was it was, after it has happened with not much hype. Now in order to attract TRPs and commercials, they make serial episodes out of it. Its all BIG SHIT. They repeat the same things, but its money talking. I can quote the recent Ganguly episode where his visit to Mr.Pawar's house was filmed right from his house in Calcutta! And the news channel dont want only to break the news first (Even before it happens), they want to create news, like the recent bribing scam to raise questions in parliament. They seldom realise that people need private space.

12/22/2005 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger airanand said...

this is very much true today.. simply by saying "DONT PANIC" in that tone of the voice.. these ppl create panic!!

12/28/2005 09:20:00 PM  

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