Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Media Hoax and Gullible Hacks

Three cheers to www.penpricks.blogspot.com for exposing the Indian media through a circulated hoax. Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu pointed out the foolishness of sections of the press who went about their hack jobs with elan forgetting the cardinal rule of journalism: VERIFY. This hoax incident (termed Nazi-gate by penpricks) clearly establishes how the hacks of the Indian press (in this case, The Telegraph, The Indian Express, The New Indian Express, The Deccan Herald, The Herald, The Asian Age, and others in the Goan and Maharashtran local media) go about their jobs privileging sensationalism over truth and journalistic principles. Shame on the reporters who did these shoddy jobs and their editors who went about nonchalantly putting up these spurious reports.

Their "regression" test of the Indian media was the need of the hour. A 100% hoax was gleaned up as a major breaking news event and gulped up by unsuspecting hacks of the great Indian press (with honourable exceptions of course) to be put up as main page news (for example in the Indian Express as the above picture highlights).

We always knew that the Indian media thrived on sensationalism and cared two hoots about and tenets. But showing them up in the manner the penpricks folks have done is akin to what is called a "double exposure" in the movie Mahapurush directed by Satyajit Ray. It shows up both the newspapers at their worst as much as us also, the readers of these hack press newspapers.

Siddharth Varadarajan has an even more sombre thing to say: such hack jobs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Indian media. The hack media picks up even the lousiest of hints thrown up by investigative agencies and puts them up as gospels of information with a devil-may-care attitude.

And this is not the gutter press we are talking about. We are here talking about the self appointed pontificates of public opinion in the country today. These are people like Shekhar Gupta (he of the Walk the Talk and America is India's saviour attitude), Rudrangshu Mukherjee (heck ..he is an academic to boot), Olga Tellis (who replaced MJ Akbar in the Asian Age) and others who are the creme de la creme of the Indian newspaper industry.

Penpricks has this sober forecast and the hope that now verification and checking will be part of every press member's daily routine, now that they have been shown up. This writer believes that it is an optimism that only will probably be realised. Most of the corporate press is worried only about their margins and not what goes in between them. Nazigate or not, gullible hacks are here to stay.


Ali.mostaque said...

Surely this can't be true?

I always thought the Indian press was better than America's or at least Iran's........but now.....

Is it the presses fault or simple human mentality----


Renegade Eye said...

Really interesting blog.

Ali: I always thought the Indian press was better than America's or at least Iran's........but now.....

The bar needs to be set higher.