It's Official; I haven't seen any news channel for the past two months. I am not sure if Corona has subsided or not, but for sure my anxiety has. Irrespective of not seeing the News, I am very much aware that the virus is still present and its medicine isn't.
Irrespective of not seeing the News, I still know that the face mask, sanitizer and a safe distance continues to remain as the closest God to safeguard us from the virus. Well, if I know all of this without watching the News, what all could have I known by seeing it. My answer would be, "Nothing much that can add value to my life."
Well, I had the option to jump to Android tv, which enabled me to skip the DTH once for all. This is not the case with everyone, especially when every fourth channel today is a news channel. Technology is changing rapidly, and so is the media. News need not be read out by a newsreader anymore.
Today everything from an Insta feed to a WhatsApp forward can be classified as News. This is something that had been disturbing my conscience off late. No matter how differently technology develops, media finds new ways to evolve and continue to remain the most powerful force on earth.
I say it is the most powerful force just for the fact that it can make you listen, see, feel and even think the way it wants you to. It can create a government or destroy a nation. It can make you an overnight celebrity or can get you into instant depression.
For the sake of clarity and ease of discussion, I resort to discussing just the news part of the media. Interestingly News time today is nothing less than a prime-time entertainment, unlike the Doordarshan days when we rush out for our lives whenever the news countdown starts.
Unlike those times, today, News channels don't stop just with the News; they end up interpreting it just to make it more interesting. They show us what they want us to see. Viewers take it up from there. The whole idea starts with what gets shown, what gets told and what gets interpreted.
This does not mean; all is wrong, and all News are manipulated. In fact, I believe, News media have prospered for one reason, giving people what they want. I am not against the media. I see it as a reflection of society. They show what people want until otherwise, they get paid well enough to start manipulating it.
All said and done; it's a continuous business as it is based on the people's ability to forget quickly as much as they can learn quickly.
News: Curiosity and Sensitivity
Today every News has to grab attention. Some interesting starts are
And then this happened…
What happened inside the…
The secret side of …
The dirty secrets of….
The only thing which can…
The top 3 things which can make…. And on and on and on
Interestingly starting with a headline like this will invoke anyone's curiosity to read more. Most often the News ends up flat wasting our time and energy. With the ever-reducing concentration span of humans, the media has very little time to pull one's interest. They don't mind getting people agitated after reading the News as their mission is accomplished for the day.
But how long will this continue? Man's curiosity over time will get diminished if its limits get tested every time. One other aspect of human nature, which is declining with today's media is his sensitivity to events.
Sensational News is not only making us sensationless as well as senseless over time. Each episode begins with attention-grabbing bad News. We're simply riveted by stories of tragic events or violent criminal acts. The fear is not the recurring sensitive News but our sensitivities which keeps stretching to new limits.
Bad News just doesn't affect nightly news ratings; it also strongly affects our happiness. The negativity bias doesn't mean you can't be happy. But if you're happy, you're happy despite it.
The actual problem with the news channel today is how they stereotype single News and in turn, invite judgement from everybody. When media starts stereotyping individual incidents to their people, they forget that the world too has started judging the land because of it.
Exception is the keyword here. Humans always seek exceptions, although it is almost nonexistent in an average life. Unfortunately, young and restless reporters who form the majority of the media force today focus on the most sensational things which are the exceptions and gets lost in the process called journalism by their need for sensationalism.
News and Perspective
Strokes cause a lot more deaths than accidents do, but one study found that 80 per cent of respondents considered accidental death more likely. This is because we hear of accidental deaths more in the media and because they make a stronger impression: we remember horrific accidental deaths more readily than deaths from strokes, and so we may react wrongly to these dangers.
BBC telecasted the whole Kargil war episode sitting in Pakistan. And what the world sees is what Pakistani says. They even show Indian map in their channel without its head. What about those people sitting in Europe watching BBC and trusting it blindly?
Is the fault with the media or with the people? I would say both. A few years back, Times of India in its front page had this story of recessions effect on actress costumes. It says actresses are ready to wear less to get paid more. And unfortunately, it was very much evident that it was a made-up story. So is this story worth enough to find its presence on the front page of a national Newspaper? I don't think so. But yes, to my knowledge, many of my friends had remembered that News more than anything else that day.
News and Knowledge
Until a few years back, I had been reading newspapers all across the world through a paid online subscription called press display. One thing I noticed is that a great nation doesn't necessarily have great media. Countries like the UK and USA have only local News dominating their media. Whereas small islands like Malta which is too tiny have excellent editors and compilations. I had been to Malta once, and I just can't imagine how people in that small island are exposed to the everyday happening of the world better than that of a developed nation
What about N. Korea? What do the media do there? Or is it even present? Believe me or not, their people are forced to watch the repeat telecast of their dictator's video every day. When I say every day, it means all days of the week and all months of the year. It is a kind of slavery. The media had enslaved people's minds. These people cannot see beyond this. Their freedom in every way has come to a halt, and so does the countries future.
Fake news Revolution
"If we can sell it, we'll tell it."
Statistics say that the repeat airing of a Pepsi ad makes you buy it. And similarly, the repeat telecast of false News makes you believe it. The more it gets repeated, the more you get affected by it.
Today in the new age era, there is nothing called past and present. Media and tools portray what they want based on your past or present history. Your beliefs might change, but the media won't. They play by their rules or by their sponsors. Sometimes in the televised media, advertisers will even go as far as to demand that the content of the programs to be changed as it might interfere with the 'buying mood' of the viewer.
I believe that there must be a rating system for all the news stories shared in social media. This will save time and also deter fake stories.
The Future of News Media
Participation at every level to the contribution of News will be the future of News. This will eliminate the misuse of News Media for personal benefits. News will be free, but it will generate more significant avenues of knowledge and opportunity.
For a crime to end, bigger corporates must come to an end. Independent platform must be provided for freelance media rather than a corporate-dominated media which makes and manipulates the News.
Mass media's so-called criticism merely consists of representing the interests of one group of the elite against another, never of a non-elite group versus an elite group. When criticisms come from outside the elite, the media will suppress or ignore them. Let this not happen anymore. Let the power of the media gets distributed evenly.
Interestingly today's youngster has a varied mindset and therefore pulling their mind and perspective is too hard compared to olden days. Let the young show the way for the society's welfare with their news and not fall prey to limited individuals, especially if they are sitting across the border.