Saturday, October 06, 2007

Gossip?? Turn on the news.










I tend to watch the news channels in the morning after my daily reading of the Hindu. Actually it is more of hearing the news while I go about my daily chores in the process of getting ready for work.

Initially it was NDTV 24/7 for want of choice but when CNN IBN was launched I found it a little more appealing and so I switched royalty. However my liking for the channel stops whenever their cricket programme LOC comes on simply because of my aversion for Kris Shrikanth who is affectionately (sic) called Cheeka (a la the Hutch pug). Shrikanth is simply abominable but I will save that for another story. Anyway of late I started watching TV Today as they tend to have at least two pleasant looking well dressed hostesses dishing out the news. Some of you may have seen TV today and may recollect a third woman who looks like Scary Spice and whose histrionics are a serious turn off for any serious news viewer.



These news bulletins tend to structure their programme into the headlines, then business, entertainment and others. Thankfully I can cut the crap and stick to serious news with this segmentation. I still remember those good old days of Prannoy Roy ending his popular “The World this Week” with the newsmakers segment which was my favourite bit of news programming, simply because newsmakers then did not mean a page 3 starlet pissing on the street or something like it caught on candid camera. Imitations and copy cat formats abound today and even if TWTW may not be an original it was a pioneer in Indian broadcasting then.



Coming back to my story during my breakfast I was surprised to know that the hot news of one particular day was that Bips is single till she marries. I nearly dropped my spoon at this earth shattering revelation. A girl is single till she marries! That calls for a place in the Guiness book of records or in some book of the most profound truths of the world next to the scriptures. In case you don’t know Bips, she is also known as Bipasha Basu, ex model and now actress and supposedly John Abraham’s girlfriend. Bips was living a good life till the Ronaldo kiss happened and was dutifully broadcast on all the media channels and now these TV channels are falling over each other to check if she is still the girlfriend. Almost 10 minutes of serious news programming was spent in analyzing this profound truth mouthed by Bips and its implications, I almost threw up the break fast lovingly cooked by D for me.

Today yet again on TV Today, the scrolling headline reads “Kareena takes a Saif bet”. For all those in the dark including me till I saw this segment, apparently Kareena has broken up with her long term boy friend Shahid Kapur and is now being seen around with Saif Ali Khan. The newscaster (sic) goes on to analyze the dateline of the relationship of Kareena and Shahid and the number of occasions that Kareena was seen with Saif. This time no dropping the spoons or puking, I simply asked D to switch to NDTV money and proceeded to eat my breakfast. So much for food for thought!

It is a sad commentary of our society that news channels have degenerated to such crap and if this is what the public want then the paparazzi hounding Diana to her death will not be an exception. Expect more such incidents. Why must the world (ok, Indians) know who any actor / actress is going around or living or sleeping with? Are we so interested in being peeping toms? Newspapers that have been the custodians of the people’s rights and freedom have degenerated into simple gossip pages. Were it not for Page 3 items I can challenge that many papers would decline in their circulation. I know that you are familiar with the papers I talk of. So it is understandable that these TV channels promoted by these media houses going the same way.

Thankfully there are still some beacons of hope, if not in the TV format atleast in the print format. They may not be always 100% neutral on issues or policies but hey a newspaper is people driven and people are never neutral no matter what they claim to be. Again you may know these papers I talk of, my sincere advice to you is to find one and read it regularly. It will do you a world of good. As for TV news, ignore their names and watch them they may be much better entertainment than the ridiculous soaps on the general entertainment channels. After all how many soaps can give such though provoking, mind blowing, earth shattering, traffic stopping statements like “I am single till I marry”?



4 comments:

FireWhisky said...

i totally agree with you... somethings gone wrong somewhere... have you seen the pune edition of the times of india??? more than half the paper is devoted to advertisements... there's hardly any news... and the only suppliment that comes packed with info about the latest parties is on pune times... i dont understand this... frankly speaking, i think the hindu is one of the few widely circulated papers that has remained loyal to its priorities...

as for the news channels, i thhink the trp wars have made their presence felt there as well... gona r the days when people in the news took their responsibility to educate and help the public opinion...

JollyRoger said...

@ Firewhisky: The TOI is crap, there is very little stuff inside and it is crammed with ads and the terrible Page 3 stuff. Glossy photos of scanty women dominate and this is now being done by the Deccan Chronicle where the most read page will be the last page called parties in town.

Bungi said...

Ah good. I don't have a tv.

But true. This kind of a morbid interest in other people's personal lives is kind of sickening.

The converse is also true. When a person is a pop figure, they have a responsibility... To (mis)quote Spidey, with great popularity comes great responsibility...

Oxymoron said...

The World This Week was my only television thing to look forward to for many years and Prannoy Roy, my only favorite anything (apart from food). He still remains someone I admire for his absolute down to earth analysis and more so for the way in which he ended the news segments, with something witty! When I hear things like, who is dating who and who is divorcing who about actresses and models and actors and models, it just pisses me off. Totally. I really wish all the news channels would stop glamorising who is tonguing who and the likes and focus on more important things like 'real news'.