Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cabbages and kings....

Our media is quite often is forced to play Lewis Carroll's walrus--it has to cover events that are purely political and topical in nature and serve no real purpose other than being public displays of flunkeyism. And ends up writing about cabbages one moment and kings, the next. It is by no means a balancing act that is easy to accomplish given the fact that there are scores of mediamen, not to speak of zillions of conmen (masquerading as journalists) dying to latch on to two-bit politicians and pinchbeck bureaucrats.

This morning's TOI has two first-rate stories--one on the A.P. Housing Board's generosity to bureaucrats and another on passenger's having to push a train to get it going! The latter, under the caption, "It happens only in Laluland!", is a hilarious account of a bizarre incident in Bihar. The opening paragraph though, has a good example of how not to use the word 'encore': "You have seen people pushing a four-wheeler to rev up the vehicle's engine. Hundreds of Indian rail passengers got more than they had bargained for when the driver of their train asked them to get out and do an encore."

All the papers frontpaged the Supreme Court's order to educational institutions to get tough on ragging. The fact remains though, that no tv channel or newspaper covered the menace of ragging through good investigative coverage--students of most engineering/pharmacy/medical colleges face ragging, but few are willing to talk about it. How difficult is it for a newspaper/magazine or tv channel to 'plant' someone (during the few weeks of classes following admissions) in these days and times when mobile/spy cameras are ubiquitous? Unfortunately, ragging gets noticed by the media only when there's a death or when it turns violent. The DC has an interesting single-column front-page story on the heat-wave in A.P.--"23 die as State burns at 49.8"

Story of the Day: Jinka Nagaraju's lead in the TOI--"Housing Board Bounty for Babus".

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