FUD = Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
As we make inroads into newer means of broadcasting technologies, the users of these techs seem to take a few steps backwards (and pretty giant ones at that). In the race to grab the maximum viewers, they have switched their primary profession from news to a bollywood masala blockbuster. Any Indian news channel you switch on is glaringly coated with red colors, many even using explicit pics of bones and skulls etc. to get you hooked, maybe thinking that you will freeze with fear and forget to change the channel with your remote. The news readers are more like wrestling commentators, shouting at the top of their voices and acting better than most B’wood heroes to make sure you understand their importance of being your only saviours in this cruel world.
The reporters (most of which look like either teenage under-grads or ration-walla uncles these days) take a whole minute of air time, repeating the same set of 5–second sentences multiple times, contra-dicting themselves more than once. And you are left wondering which version was correct – the one he started out with, or the one he ended on. Things become even more complicated when the studio guy pitches in with more irrelevant info, a very funny example of this being the Ansal Plaza bomb scare a few years back. This particular news channel had already shown the same 1 minute footage of people thanking Delhi Police from saving them from a bomb more than a fair bit of times, and then the reader chimes in to let us know how cool Ansal Plaza is, how many floors it has and which things and brands are stocked on which floor. Cool, I can prepare my shopping list easily now. Wait, what was that news I was listening to a few minutes ago?
Today, Star News, Aaj Tak, etc told me about another “twist” in the Aarushi murder case. Actually, they infused the twist into my bloodstream. The twist was that her father’s compounder had called some CBI guy one day before the murder. Oh is it, but why? No one knows. Apart from this single line of information, no one had even a semblance of value to add. But hats off to the channel producers, they still managed to beam out an hour (or even more) worth of content from this.
Out of all the news channels, India TV, or whatever it’s spelled like, has a special place. It should be renamed to “Magic TV”, cuz all they show day after day is Chris Angel walking on water, David Blaine staying under water beyond human limitations, Franz Harary making the Statue of Liberty disappear, and even local babas with all their “siddhis” on display. Their expert panel looks like the World Congregation of Astrologists, Palmists, Godmen, vibhuti wale babas, etc. The best part is their punchlines “Kya Ye Ek Narpishaach hai, Ya Ek Khooni Mazaak”. I remember the time when we used to play dumb charades in college with fictitious movies like “Howrah Bridge Se Latkati Lal Khanjar Wali Khooni Chudail”. I guess if Rajat Kapoor had seen me at that time, I would have been quite busy right now as a chief editor or something in his channel.
And as if this was not all, the channels have special “filler” segments running all day rounding up all the jokey-concerts around the country or summarizing the latest happenings in the saas-bahu serials.
I guess Tata Sky should now make a special news-channels-package cuz why should I pay for the whole jumbo pack when the news channels can provide me the complete set of entertainment, except the news of course, which I can always scourge from news.google.com.