Barkhagate is raging. It is a sensation on the “internets”. It was reported on WaPo and WSJ. It pops up in forwarded mails in Yahoo email. Friends mention it in casual conversations.
But India’s “mainstream” media outfits are pretending that it is not news. The tapes were not aired on electronic media. Of course, for NDTV to air them is like exhibiting the egg on its face, but curiously, even its rival channels are silent.
Reminds me of the following article that I found on a blog long, long ago. Seems apt for the occasion.
What if we reported media the way media reports everybody else (except itself)?
Have you ever noticed that the media does not like to make itself a subject of public scrutiny, the way it scrutinizes — or purports to scrutinize — everybody else? That the only news on media to ever appear in print or on television is that which covers the media with glory, real or imagined, mostly the latter? That, let alone target themselves the way they target others, journalists and editors use their vantage positions in the media to black out any criticism of themselves? That no matter how fierce the competition amongst themselves is, there’s one unwritten code that hacks live by: that of not revealing the skeletons in their rivals’ cupboards?
How often is that you see your favorite newspaper exposing a corrupt editor or a sleazy hack? Think hard now, did you ever see a headline: “EXCLUSIVE! EDITOR OF “FOOBAR TRIBUNE” CAUGHT IN CASH-ON-CAMERA SCAM!”? You don’t seriously believe that the media is one lily-white profession populated by jholawalla types ever on the lookout for opportunities to strike a blow for public good, do you? I mean, don’t journalists come from the same society as the rest of us, the society the ugly underbelly of which the media proclaims it is in the business of exposing?
So how about if we wrote stories on media and the people who man the profession? How about if we phrased similar, attitudinizing headlines on them as they do, and wrote editorializing copy about them the same way they do? How about if we threw norms to the winds — just as they do — and speculated, insinuated, distorted, propagandized, abused, rubbished, heckled, ridiculed, and generally applied every dirty trick in the journalism book — just as they do?
Yes, we should do all that and more. So that the fear of ridicule and public disgust will make the media mend its ways, and redeem its sinking reputation.