Friday, December 3, 2010

Indian media -asses covering asses of other asses

It's not just me that gets the impression that Rajdeep Sardesai, the top honcho of CNN-IBN,  is trying to distract us from probing deeper into the ethical woes of his media colleagues. His latest column is like pointing at the sky and saying -look a pink elephant! while the rat of journalism sneaks by. Or, as the neglected TV film reporter Smita Smitten, Showbiz Kitten used to say in the delightful comedy Goodness Gracious Me to divert viewers from her woes- "Look, there goes Art Malik!"

I won't bother to fisk the article-I'm too tired now and tomorrow is another day - but comments below the column have done that to an extent already, some in a cruder way than I would have. Some samples -

Goodness me. Grant you that you can write but this column is still a poor effort to defend your buddies in journalism. Did you write such a article when media was conducting trials of so many individuals based on "tapes/stings". You did not answer why your channel was blanketing news about "Radia Tapes" for almost a week before Karan Thapar had a discussion about it.

 Hehe... if a handful of conversations becoming public could scare the hell out of your guys, then on wonders how much filth really lies underneath. The tapes indicate a necessary condition of corruption, and not a sufficient condition of corruption. Is the "necessary condition" being met not alarming to you? You should be ashamed to go to any lengths of technicalities to defend your friends in the media, that which is indefensible. One take-away from Radia-gate for us cattle class is that you guys in the media are no better than our shameless politicians - better this, you are all as worse as our politicians.
Objective Journalism, RIP

Ok, Mr. Sardesai - now that you've proven you can construct complex sentences with fancy words, may we demand some substance? So, you're saying that the Radia tapes reveal the shady deals by corporates, but it doesn't matter that the journalists part of the conversations didn't expose it? Furthermore, it's ok for you to jump to the defence of these tainted journalists while casting a doubt on the ones who exposed the tapes???

Sardesai is fully aware of ethical lapses in his profession as he says-

Where does the journalist fit into this larger scheme? In the classical mould, a journalist should be the guerrilla in the system, looking to expose and investigate. Unfortunately, the journalist has been co-opted into the power elite when he should really be the quintessential ‘outsider’. As a result, the robust Indian tradition of adversarial journalism has been mortgaged at the altar of cosy networks.

At one level, the ethical decline is a consequence of changing market realities. In a highly competitive news universe, access is the key, a privilege that is often dependent on building personal equations. Film journalists, for example, are expected to give favourable reviews if they want an ‘exclusive’ interview with a star. Lifestyle journalists rely on sponsored deals to travel the world. Political journalists get identified with individual and ideological camps to get ahead, often with a brazen disregard for neutrality. Business journalism is even more difficult because the commercial muscle of major advertisers can conflict with the notion of journalistic independence.
 (emphasis mine)

So Mr. Sardesai where are all the exposés of journalists and media houses? Where are your stings on fellow reporters and anchors?

One of Sardesai's  favorite lines is “Hammam Mein Sab Nange Hain” (we are all naked in the Turkish bath). But in the media hammam the crooks eminent journalists pass around the towels and cover each others' asses.

Do read it with the comments.

P.S. -interestingly Sardesai himself appears in the Radia tapes(he does not mention this in his column) but in the excerpt that I heard there doesn't seem to be any juicy meat.