Sunday, May 04, 2008

Making news!

This year when the Hogenakal water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka sprouted up, most of us of old Bangaloreans cringed at the thought of another round of protests and Tamil channels being blocked, Tamil movie posters being pulled own and other childish acts that vested interests seem to wait to rabble rouse!

However nothing of that sort happened! A pleasantly surprised populace watched as the Cable operators from both State resolved not to let their business be affected by politics and most political parties except the BJP decided to exercise restraint and let the law take its own course. This is unheard of in Bangalore and Karnataka! We are so used to violent protests at the very mention of the word “Neighbor”!

Most of us watched in disbelief as not a single incident of violence or protest was reported on TV except for some mature statements by people like S M Krishna! People seem to have changed overnight! It was evident that at last, people have realized that the bogey of outsiders threatening the culture and language of Karnataka was only doing harm than good to the State’s image specially since Karnataka generates most of its revenue from Bangalore! For people like me who have grown up here, it was a huge relief to see this change.

Therefore I was really shocked and taken back to see a program aired on prime time by CNN IBN about Bangalore and Karnataka. The program has been clearly put together by someone sitting in Delhi or Mumbai unaware of the changes in Karnataka, deciding to cash in on what he/she thought were burning issues!! The entire program is made up of old issues dredged up from news archives, garnished with commentaries and interviews with old hawks and trouble makers and can be positively harmful if such people realize their power in giving fodder to news hungry channels like CNN IBN!

It is true that every Kannadiga loves Kannada and wants Kannada to be preserved! But instead of talking to doyens of Kannada literature, the program interviews people who made it to the news till some time back by blackening English sign boards, demanding 85% reservation for Kannadiags in IT and BT companies and throwing stones at movie theaters showing Tamil films!!!

There is absolutely no effort or pretense in this program to catch the pulse of the people or report facts! If CNN IBN had made the effort, they would have found out that the situation is changing in Karnataka! Linguistic chauvinism is on the wane and people are realizing that there are better and mature means to solving disputes with neighbors than resorting to Xenophobia and violence!

However no such effort has been made by CNN IBN in the making of this program and the show talks about how the people of Karnataka want to assert their Kannada identity over Bangalore and their discontent with the modernization ( read pubs) of Bangalore!

After watching this program, I was reminded of the movie ( I forget the name) about a News Channel tycoon who decides to ‘make news’ so that his channel will be the first to report it! That movie was a pot shot at the CNN! How ironic that CNN’s Indian arm, the CNN IBN is actually doing that? Who could have predicted that?

I guess for lazy channels like CNN IBN, News Archives is "the" hot and happening place for “making news”! So what next? A program on the Khalistan movement? Or the Tamil separatist movement? How many dying embers will they rake up to a fire in their quest for viewer ship? I dread to think of the topic of their next Prime Time program!

For a population that labors from 9 to 6, news channels are the only window to the outside world! And news channels like CNN IBN realize this very well! And in their quest to fill in air time, they will not hesitate to stoop to any levels to "make news" !


Thomas said...

Bingo!! I just saw the show a few hours ago depicting the north indian-south indian divide in b'lore and all that crap. Few years ago, only the politicians were the rabble rousers; now it's the media, blowing things out of proportion. It's not just cnn-ibn; "times now" and "headlines today" are equally horrible. Just watch these channels for a day, and you will get umpteen posts to write like this. If you want to see really solid news without any masala, I would suggest DDnews; seriously.

P.S. Excerpts from various news channels:

Times now: Water shortage in Hrithink Roshan's house.

Headlines today: WWE wrestler Khali to land in India. (with one hour completely dedicated to it and showing videos right from when he landed in airport and to signing bollywood contracts)

Cnn ibn: Cricketer Umar Gul says Ganguly is just getting used to the t20 format of game and that he has to learn to adjust to the game; something like that. CNN report: Umar Gul lashes out at Ganguly.

Jacob PC said...

Hello Silverine ,I dont know whether this comment will be allowed but still thought should put this up.I saw the programme yesterday and personally thought it was a hog wash.However What CNN IBN did was not very different from what you did in the post
Sitting in Bangalore with out knowing the realities in Kerala and based on some 5-6 families you are again picturising Kerala as some God Forsaken place where trade unions and hartals rule. Typically this has become a trait among Mallu bloggers to just blame and whine about hartals for anything and everything . When somebody tried to point this out to you in the comments sections , you just blasted the person. To Each His Own . Why blame CNN IBN ?

Deepti said...

I agree with you .. exactly same thing happening in Maharshtra nad we watch with horror as people become more bounded by land and language boundaries :(

Anonymous said...

That is too early a conclusion, the issue is only put on the backburner, let the elections get over and then we can see, if anybody has really learnt how to handle these things maturely.
Cable TV operators were the only ones who defied the usual trend, even that was met with stone throwing and vandalism by culture protectors. It is not the general public (9-6 working), who are on the streets to protest, it is usually the cultural militia, with its arm twisting tactics who gets coverage in the news channels. Irrespective of whether the hokenekal issue gets resolved or not, it would be wonderful to see people protest in a civil and non-violent manner. May be, that is too much to ask.


Karthik said...

@jacob pc: Reality always bites. And when I went to Trivandrum on leave this time, behold, there isan Hartal on May2nd..weekend recreation??!!!

Divs said...

24*7 news channels have been this way for quite a while. Its sad fact I have gotten used to. :)
Actually news channels are very entertaining in one way. We have our coffee sessions in canteen and laugh our way through the "news" being displayed on the various news channels. Its a fun time-pass now!

@karthik, that hartal was an All-India hartal/bandh

freespirit said...

Well, I aint qualified really to make a comment. But i would think, cnn-ibn with rajdeep sardesai at the helm, would be the last one to create news to capture audiences. I get a feeling the judgement you've passed abt the channel is very harsh.
That apart, about the whole idea of a city becoming truly metropolitan in spirit, I think the 'aam janta' is in general not bothered about aliens in their city, whether it is Mumbai or Bangalore. Regionalism is a fiction created for political advantage and nothing else.

Mind Curry said...

man..i almost throw up watching Headlines Today these days..its all the time airing some crap about Khali in Bollywood! Gosh! i thought HT was gonna be one sensible channel..but no..its turned out to be one of the pettiest.

@ kartik - the hartal on may 2nd was welcome by the jobless keralites. may 1st was labor day, may 2nd was hartal, may 3 and 4 were saturday and sunday. what else could one ask for? truly Gods own country i suppose..

Mind Curry said...

@ divs - very true, it was an all india hartal. but the only state where it was near total was kerala.

Jiby said...

Definitely, news channels deserve to be trashed....hopefully they are doing themselves in with such irresponsible journalism.

i felt so happy to read this on rediff...check it out...more power to new media!

mathew said...

though I dont have enough info regarding whats the latest affairs in Karnataka which was just an example to the whole gist of the post i suppose..

I would say it has always been like this..for any idea that matter..sensationalisation of a trivial news is the trademark of any news channels that is plain profit it our popular websites or tabloid newspapers..

but i honestly believe that our people are not stupid enough just to listen to only one side of the story ..We should have opinions based on the realities which can be fairly summarised from alternative source of information.

As mentioned earlier I guess blogs are personal opinions on matter and not tailormade to be politically correct. Channels like CNN IBN are mouthpieces of supposedly authentic information which they present as facts to the general public. thats where the difference is...blogs are opinions..and news channels are supposedly meant to be factual.. maybe with opinions laced in between!! Although i disagree with parts of the blog you mentioned it doesnt entitle me to coherce someone into my line of thought..there is always a difference between healthy debate and plain whinning which is so prevalent in blog world as well..

silverine said...

Thomas: DD rulez! I have stopped watching the others. But this program aroused my curiosity with its ominous title! Media sensationalizing issues is an unhealthy trend.

Anon: First thing first. Please don’t expect me to believe that you are Jacob PC. You could have done well by leaving an Anon comment. Looks like you are over eager to be taken seriously here. Secondly, if you had read the post carefully, you would have noticed that I didn't know of the trend myself till I saw and met the people who had left Tvm. But that’s beside the point isn’t it? You are obviously peeved at what you perceive is an attack on your beloved city! Thirdly...I behave or try to behave with utmost respect at other peoples blogs. And I expect the same here. So if the other commenter got flak, then he/she deserved it! Expect the same again! My blog is my personal opinion. Don’t like it, don’t read it! And lastly, reg mallu bloggers say they whine or crib...I say they write masterpieces! Hope you understood what I am trying to convey here!
Please credit me with some intelligence before you comment here again!

Deepti: I know! :(

Anon: From what I hear, the powers that be in Karnataka is running scared because Blr does not have the monopoly of IT anymore. Without the tax generated from Blr, Karnataka cannot survive. Earlier Coorg was the cash cow for the State. Now they want out as they got a raw deal from the State. So is North Karnataka! Things are not going too well here and hence the restraint.

Karthik: It is no point talking to these you can see from his/her comment! :)

Divs: You are right! If you do not take them seriously, they are a laugh riot! :p

Freespirit: You are right. The aam junta is not bothered about aliens or anyone. If you go to rural Ktka, the people are so nice and untouched by this linguistic chauvinism! Reg the channel, I think you can make out by the comments here what people think of them :)

MC: HT was really good for some time after its launch! Today it is the worst. I hope Zakka Jacob quits them soon! Cannot imagine him amidst those baboons!

Jiby: Thank you for that link! That is the ground reality! Wish the people of Ktka will question their politicians and ask them what they did with the revenue from Blr apart from wasting it on chauvinistic ventures like the recent name change of Bangalore. Wonder if that provided food and shelter to at least one person in the State!

Mathew: Most people I talked to thought the program was crap! :) And Mr Anon knows very well that a blog is someones personal opinion. He/She is not prepared to let anyone air it you see. I see miserable days ahead for him/her :p

abhishek said...

The movie you're thinking of is Tomorrow Never Dies.

CNN-IBN is absolute **rse-manure....Sorry for defiling your comments section. But I've seen the channel and I couldn't tell the difference between the histrionics on IBN and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. No, I'm wrong. The latter is better.

@jacob pc

Umm...uhh...I just don't know what to say. Where do you live? I'm just curious, because for sure, it can't be the Kerala where my family lives.

Sylverine's point is that CNN-IBN is looking for news where there is none. The same can't be said about hartals when there is one every other day in some part of Kerala.

silverine said...

Abhishek: Yay! I get a comment from you! :) And pliss to defile my comment section some more! And you are right...Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is the lesser pain of the two! :)

abhishek said...


I seem to have butchered your name in my comment to jacob...apologies.

I was just thinking about your last comment - "For a population that labors from 9 to 6, news channels are the only window to the outside world!" It strikes me that there are few discerning TV program in India that will dissect such silly news...there's Munshi, which comes on Asianet, although it doesn't really criticize other TV channels. What we really need is an Indian Jon Stewart...

Anonymous said...


Nice write up! Keep up the good work! God bless!

Thomas uncle