Divided Media – Intellectual Bankruptcy


(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)

This is not the first time that I have been critical about the disgusting media trends.  Over the past two years, I had been highlighting the vicious partisan postures particularly in the English visual media channels instead of balanced coverage and opinion making in the interests of the unity and integrity of the nation.

Let me also emphatically state that I am neither left-of-center or right-of-the center observer or the so called fringe elements on either side of the spectrum. Certainly, I belong to the “Center” of the spectrum of independent observer of national and international security affairs.

Visual media houses are at ‘WAR’ with each other. Editors, anchors, field level jurnos and even senior columnists have been indulging in verbal slanging duels with utter disregard to truth and impartial coverage of events.

How to sum up the behavior of media?  First, I thought to drub it as intellectual bankruptcy. Next, I felt that a more appropriate term is “intellectual hypocrisy”.

Leading the pack on one side is “Times Now and News Ex”; on the other side is “CNN IBN, NDTV and India Today”.

Arnab Goswami is ‘one man’ destroyer, judge and jury all rolled up in one conducting debates in highly provocative, combative tones imposing his views on all others.

On the opposing side are some of the leading lights of visual media: Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Zakka Jacob, Bhupendra Chaubey, Nidhi Rajdhan etc.

If some among them behave like narcissist; few others like sadists; and few others don the masks of investigative journalists to dig out the ‘cumulative muck or mess’ collected over the past 67 years of vicious politics.

When it comes to attacks on their own brood which is the consequence of their journalistic misdemeanor, they rally together and decry the ruling regime of trampling the ‘freedom of press’.

Take a look at the visual media postures over the Rohit Vemula and JNU incidents. Media houses are hell bent upon driving a deep wedge in a highly pluralistic society on narrow sectarian lines.  How to classify their combative postures?

The more I thought the more I believe that a single word in the dictionary like “hypocrisy” is grossly inadequate. Perhaps, more apt it may be to term it as “diabolical hypocrisy.”  It is also inadequate.

Since dissent is considered an essential element of freedom of speech by the grand upholders of media freedom of speech, I would like to expand the phrase to include: “Diabolical intellectual hypocrisy of the most despicable order.”

On deeper reflection, even such a summing up of the media behavior may not be adequate to represent their vicious and acrimonious behavior. Even the choicest phrases would also be inadequate to sum up the ongoing “unparalleled sadistic vilification” of the current state of national affairs 24×365.

After the spirited offensive by Smriti Irani, media persons championing themselves as protectors of ‘freedom of press, speech and expression’ stand totally exposed particularly those “on the other side’ who went inside the JNU campus and interviewed the accused group of students to vilify the Delhi Police for falsifying events.

Surely, those media houses must tender an unqualified apology to the nation!  Otherwise, they have no right whatsoever to claim themselves to be “holier than thou”.

Let me highlight that national security, particularly unity and integrity, is non-negotiable if one claims to uphold patriotism and nationalism. One may invoke and quote many intellectual adages from the days of “Epics” to “Freedom movement” to justify their arguments.

However, they must remember that the context and content of the past or circumstances and surroundings of the times when such reflections were expressed are no longer valid today’s what can be truly called as “Kaliyug” age.

As 77 years old, when I expressed my dismay at the state of national affairs to a former ACP what he stated stunned me for its explicitness: “Desam pura brasht hogaye; Barbaadi Rasta per hai”.

Some of the questions to various media houses are simple.  One, why did not Sonia Ghandy and Rahul Ghandy speak in the debate instead of asking Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, Kharge and others to lead the charge, particularly after Rahul Ghandy made the comment that “I will speak if I am allowed to speak by the ruling party” while entering Parliament.  Why did not media houses expose Rahul Ghandy’s true face – cowardice or hit and run tactics.

Why did not the media houses interview the Vice Chancellor of JNU to ascertain the true facts of administrative actions against the accused that have now been made public by Smriti Irani on the floor of the house?

Why did not they challenge the JNU administration for preventing policemen to enter the campus, which is legally permissible, in pursuit of criminals or those pursuing anti national activities?

What happened to their claims of “investigative journalism” that failed to unravel the deep politicization malaise that has inflicted educational campuses detrimental to pursuit of studies?

Why did media houses allow the Dalit twist to persist without first ascertaining his parentage? Least but not the last, why are they afraid of interviewing Sonia Ghandy or pinning down Rahul Ghandy’s destructive politics to somehow topple the current democratically elected government?  Surely, it is not the right precedent to set in democracy.

Finally, why should the Congress Party continue to pass the GST Bill which was proposed by them and stall all economic reforms tabled in the Rajya Sabha?  Are media houses collaborating or conniving with the one and only “family” to damage the economic prospects of the nation?

Wake up Media? Before you become the laughing stock for people of India and solicit their wrath. Attend a short program on national security and international affairs at the National Defense College to understand the nuances of national security affairs and base your views accordingly.