Thursday, December 04, 2008

In the name of Fair and Balanced

Just to prove that I'm not Fox News - Barkha gave an interview to Mint earlier today and I disagree with the main thread, the media is the fourth estate and like any other 'estate' int is fallible and it is answerable to those who watch and read it. Targeting the media is being done by whom right now? The public, and Ms. Dutt they have the right to target you as much as they have the right to target me. You are a higher profile journalist and therefore get more criticism than most, but to argue that you (or 'the media' at large) doesn't deserve criticism is juvenile. Barkha has also written a massively long monologue on the NDTV website, best of luck if you can finish reading it, but still did not answer a few questions about her coverage, but anyway... Actually I'm hungry right now and need something to eat.
PS: NDTV's stock is one of the highest climbers on the NSE today, climbing 28.3% - it is still trading at under a quarter of its peak value, but something is cooking. Is there actually a deal in place to dispose of the Entertainment business or was HT's defence of NDTV a sign that something really spicy is cooking there. Bad move for both if you ask me personally from an editorial point of view (not just given the links with CNN-IBN) but strategically it does make sense - print needs TV and TV needs print and dot-coms suck any which way. That said, seeing more junk from NDTV Profit in Mint would be sad!

EDIT: Some of the posts on the aforementioned Facebook group wall make for bad reading for UndieTV. Actually, I would be worried that this group is getting larger and larger and people who would otherwise be sympathetic to the channel are joining up. As someone I know told me just now about my epithet for the channel - 'Is barr toh chaddi utar gayi!'

Don't get me wrong by the way, I am not some right-wing loony railing against NDTV. One of my dearest friends is a senior reporter there and I dispassionately believe that he is one of the best reporters in what he covers. There are several brilliant reporters and journalists who work in that organisation. But, anger, and particularly this sort of post-mortem anger comes for a reason and that is the reason I'm banging away about the profession needing to take last week's event as an excuse for some serious introspection. And that could start by NDTV stopping to 'censor' comments on Barkha's reply immaturely. Listen, I put a hell of a lot of comments that are rather rude to me up here. It is called taking the rough with the smooth, maybe taking things with a more rational bent would do you guys some good.

And while I won't link back lest I reveal my identity, but a shout-out to RS! Thanks, but do I really rant that much?


Old man at desk said...

Barkha's comments are obvious, yaar. She's part of the system called media owners. They'll highlight their interests and play down heir faults

Morpheus said...

If they would just quit hyperventilating and making everything into 'sansani khes khabar' i would be happy. I would also not like being lied to. And I agree..there is a great need to introspect journalism and its boundaries..the fine and not so fine lines..
Barkha is a journalist..Shashi Tharoor, rushdie and co applauding her..hmm..wonder if that really is praise..

Nag said...

The Mumbai Attacks, Barkha, NDTV, and the media in general on Narendra Nag's blog, links back here.

GBO said...

Not one Indian television channel can understand a simple thing - more people get killed every month on Mumbai's local trains.

And crowds collect there, too, to gape, comment, offer views, demand improvements, the works.

So it is similar with everything. There are a 1000+ weddings in Mumbai every-day, but only those where PR works get covered on page-3, and then get the rubber neckers present to gape, comment, view etcetc.

Indian media proved, once again, that page-3 coverage is all they are good at. Mostly. PR person called, so let us go to the show.

In this case, was it Ogilvy & Mather, as the PR company for Government of Pakistan, which managed to change this into page-3 coverage, then?

Anonymous said...


I found your take on the intrinsically-commercial aspect of the media segment very refreshing. Frankly, its in everyone's mind that publicity has a large role to play in these coverages, but i guess you've managed to put it across more succinctly.