A reader wrote in this really perceptive line, had the Indian media been around in renaissance Italy, Romeo and Juliet would have probably run to Aaj Tak or Star News to get support. I agree, but then again, that wasn't an inter-religious marriage would it - I imagaine if Othello and Desdemona would have gone, and then Iago would have followed. Heck, imagine if Omkara and Dolly would have gone in the Bollywood adaptation?
Yesterday, the I&B Minister, and I know I'm not exactly a fan of his sycophantic tendencies or his unparalleled ability to ruin Indian football, criticised the media because he said that the amount of air-time they gave 'the kiss' (or 'the gnaw' as I see it) bordered on the insane. Then again, how much different are we from America where Britney Spears' every crazy antic gets more airtime than say the deaths of 100 Iraqis dying in American administered Iraq.
The problem with the media here is simple, while certain right-wing media outlets in the US and UK do put a moral tinge to everything, I remember during the time of the start of the Iraq War how people like Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter took to the media passing moral judgement of people who opposed the US entry into Iraq, not even stopping short of calling them and their families traitors. But, I doubt they pass moral judgements on issues like this. Fair enough, the Schiavo case (where a brain-dead woman on Florida was kept alive artificially) got hundreds of hours of airtime and became a battle-ground between religious zealots and liberals, but then again that was a case that I could probably understand. But a kiss? And a bad kiss at that, I mean there wasn't any out and out Frenching was there? Why did the media, particularly certain channsl take the kiss as an affront, with anchors calling it bad, even though I never heard the word 'ashleel'. For gods sake, sue Richard Gere for being a part-time hick and a bad kisser, and I can even understand certain people got upset, but why did prime networks give this horribly bigoted and minority view airtime.
You know what this makes me think is that the editors, down to the Output Editors at these channels are bigoted themselves. But then, the channels will argue that they are only serving their constituency, "Hey if our viewers are bigoted, we'll be bigoted too." I don't get that. I always thought, at least when I started that my job, was to educate our viewers/readers to an extent, drive opinion to an extent, though that said, you should never forget your constituency, but I've always wondered if we really know our readers or viewers that well. I mean, I work in a fairly low-circulation sort of place, by low circulation I mean well under a million copies, but whenever (in a train or plane or even someones house) I see someone reading the magazine I ask what makes them pick up the magazine. Even though we can never write everything to please everybody, at least in the sections I write or the stories I do I want some feedback.
It is the media's job to shape public opinion, and by being bigoted, particularly Aaj Tak, you just end up promoting the moral police. You see idiots who came out in droves when Shilpa Shetty got insulted on a British show, but but do these people really care when Indians get tortured, beaten and raped in South-East Asia and Arabia? Nope. Lets be honest, half, maybe as much as 99.9 per cent of the effigy burning, placard holding clowns would drop everything just to get to the United States to pick up the trash and be abused by ignorant yobs. How long before they attack Page 3 parties for desecrating morals - and then again when you think of that, even I have this really evil though running in my head that thinks that it won't be such a bad idea. Must not be bigoted myself.
Anyway, I can carry on, but I have to rush somewhere for lunch right now, so I'll leave you with news that even more senior people have left an ABP publication which is going through a lot of internal turmoil.