For people who regularly watch news on various Indian television channels, they will see an overarching theme emerge on the various live debates that are presided over by various news anchors. This trend of live debating first came into prominence with the rise of India’s most popular face: Arnab Goswami. After he popularised this form of “reporting”, all the other channels took it up for various reasons, the first being that it is easy. It is much easier to pit people from different parties against each other on various issues and watch the drama unfold as the debates degenerate into name calling and silent fuck yous than to actually go out in the field and collect information of events on the ground level. The news concentrates around one specific issue that is debated upon for days and no consensus emerges. Ever. It is always a huge panel of about 6-8 people, all airing their own views, which don’t matter in the eyes of the anchor who is allowed to express his or her own opinions and put people with divergent views down. The news these days entirely consists of something that an inexperienced person from a fledgling political party did, or the corruption that is so rampant in our country, the people of the NCT of Delhi are being told to become sting operators themselves, wielding the deadliest weapon ever created by man: the mobile phone.
Social issues such as rape, sexual harassment, religious violence are all debated upon by people who lead comfortable lives in Lutyen’s Delhi and who don’t have the slightest inkling as to what actually happened. The media of our age isn’t concerned with facts: Judges are indicted on live television without our judiciary having confirmed the facts, senior editors are berated for sexually harassing a female colleague without the facts being gone into thoroughly and our country’s diplomatic relations are jeopardised by the behaviour of junior diplomats who don’t pay their household help minimum wages (then again, they don’t make enough money so I get that point). I am not saying that the judges or editors should be let off scot-free because they hold a position of power in the country or that no proceedings should be instituted against them. I am only saying that a person is innocent until proven guilty; so hold off the judgement and character assassination until the judiciary itself pronounces them guilty. These days, nobody lets the law take its own course because everybody wants to air their own opinion and take the moral high ground on everything.
The one good aspect of live debating is that the panel for any specific debate is usually balanced, with the spokespersons of all political parties but it’s always the same people coming over and over again, talking through their hats, making personal comments which are highly unparliamentary and unfit for television. Since the panel has a vast number of people, they talk at each other and not to each other, with the result that the viewer is left thoroughly confused and irritated, watching people constantly shouting. News has now become an entertainment; it’s a lot of fun watching these anchors take people down (which is completely wrong and totally hilarious). So a word of advice from a person whose insignificance can hardly be doubted, tone it down. Get in some actual reporting about things that actually matter. Who cares about a jumped-up politician who made racist jokes at a stand-up show years ago (come on, why so serious?). Who cares if the law minister of Delhi sold pornography domains at one time (ahahaha that dawg) and then in an entirely hypocritical manner, shouted at police officers who followed protocol and didn’t break into peoples’ homes and arrest those allegedly involved in sex rackets. Who cares if the Chief Minister of Delhi said he was an anarchist (get the hang of sarcasm, will you?). Nobody. Everything has just turned into a big circus where people watch these kinds of shows purely for their entertainment value. So, get in some serious reporting and give other journalists airtime, you hogs.