DailyPost 1722

This is the story of the electronic mainstream national English media, the English TV channels. With a skeletal reporter base covering the expanse and issues of this country and claiming to be covering with authority, it can at the very least be declared a tall claim. The one anchor-based TV channel or at best two or three have to manage all the time offered to them, it becomes like a regular office job sort of an affair. The superficial difference might be in their tone, tenor, looks and style, not with specialization in any domain, to provide them the expertise they require. The difference is in age, name, fame, financial compensation and not in what topics you can handle. Like the corporate honchos, they also keep changing companies.

The anchors have become models and they are being advertised not only on their channels but in hoardings too. These channels do not need any advertisers. They are the brand ambassadors of news. The captions and slogans that go with them are hilarious as are the IT MNCs captions of delivering high performance and smart planet. Why should the editors be left behind, they have started making their presence felt in the debates? Given the institutional new organization framework, what they can offer and have offered for a long time is superficial. Firstly, in the topics covered itself, total time offered to extremely important areas, but for politics is abysmal. If the COVID-19 situation had not gotten political, it would not have been covered the way it has been.

Secondly, the panellists who handle such topics come from superficial knowledge backgrounds, the ones who are professionally sound come from the same stable, so they profess what they are supposed to. Thirdly, research is the most abused word in these circles, google search has become research and finding not very known facts and figures can go in the category of invention. Fourthly, the over usage of the same visuals is nauseating. While superficiality remains their core, their foray into the imaginary and the surreal is no less praiseworthy. The most audacious foray of this nature has been the Sushant Singh Rajput case. The case has still not reached its finality. The biggest differentiator of this media is its outlandish capability to extract the juice out of a story and move forward with no guilt.

The nature of spins and substantiations in the coverage of that case crossed the stage of surreal to mental derangement. Any story can be made to stand in mid-air. The sad part is that given the minimalist exposure of Indian English TV audiences to politics, governance and the law, they lap it as a PVR movie. They have been transforming the Indian audiences to a surreal mindset. Once that happens everything sells. The ghastliest visuals of the Second Surge and most swanky advertisements coexisted. The stance taken by a large number of the unanchored anchors was surreal for sure.  Before surrealists becomes the order of the day, they may well take a cue from Edward Snowden / Guardian investigation, Panama papers research and of late the digital investigation into the virus itself.


Sanjay Sahay

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