The Maharashtra fiasco, in itself, was a treat to watch, and the cloak and dagger methods employed mostly kept us away from prescription evening serials and movies. At the same time, however, it was horrifying to watch how the media channels behaved with every passing hour, revealing their dispassionate, albeit dishonourable, support of one side or the other. There was not an iota of information which was not coloured by bias.
It has become the expected norm that there will be a set of channels and news organisations that would support the incumbent government and then there will be another set which will not. However, all these, as per established journalistic norms and standards, need to be supported by some level of documentation and/or argument. What we saw was that there was none.
Either the anchor smiled widely at one side winning and smirked at the other’s plight, or fought tooth and nail to defend the indefensible. The plots within plots that there were in Uddahv Thackeray’s effort to keep his flock together and in Eknath Shinde’s at tearing the Maha Vikas Agadhi apart, with the help of the BJP and Devendra Fadnavis, in themselves had enough suspense and mirth to make a Netflix serial. What we did not need, over and above, was the somewhat obtuse comments from anchors, blatantly serving whichever master they were supposed to.
What happens, in the end, is that the viewer is completely flummoxed and is left with a feeling of being betrayed. News organisations are supposed to inform, educate and be precise. Nobody is happy at the news anchor trying to intercept truth and trying to turn it into something that fits a set narrative. We have to be frank: a change in focus does not change the flow of news or the truth. So, please, say it as it is. The viewer is intelligent enough to decipher codes and read in between lines. Do not insult your viewer’s intelligence.
Maybe next time things will get better. That is what we hope and long for.