Much has changed in the past 25 years, which is most of my life time. Much of this change has been for the good. And yes, some for the bad. Television News, in particular, comes in the later part. From the days and years when I learnt about Television, news has been one of my favorites. A close second to sports. And today, I hardly see any of it.
What caused this transition ?
The television news back in the early 90s primarily came for Doordarshan. Those were the days when we didn't have satellite television (or cable television as it was popularly called) at our home. With just two channels at our disposal (DD1 and DD2), I often saw and heard everything that was broadcasted on DD.
I followed the news at half past 8 and 9 o clock with keen interest. The news readers showed sublime grace in rendering the factual content of the news with minimal emotions. News was not biased. The newspapers next day also printed the same factual content. The viewers on TV were free to make up their own views and opinions on the going-ons.
State run television is often considered as a propaganda machine. Not in the India of the 90s though. The news was quite open and reflected the happenings in the nation and the state of the nation.
Well, this went on for quite some time, until the advent of private News Channels and until we got satellite TV at our home The likes of NDTV and Times Now joined the fore of impressionable news-makers. And lo behold, did they succeed.
But with their success, they did turn off many a viewers who don't love the caustic tactics employed to disseminate news. Times Now , in particular , is leading the front.
Prime Time news has given the way to 'intellectual' debates. I never participated in 'debates' back in school, courtesy my limited social skills. But if this is a debate, then I am glad I stayed away from this hoopla.
The news anchor on the channel is on a screaming sojourn. Loud, Louder and Loudest is his sole motto. And he is joined by a gang of fellow 'Intellectuals' and 'Experts'. I have never heard about most of them. And most are irrelevant as far as shaping the thought of the country is concerned.
They scream. They shout. They insult. They get insulted . And yet they love to be on TV. I often wonder if they get paid to be on TV and get insulted.
News, today, is biased. News, today, is emotional (and some times garnished with crocodile tears). News, today, is a far cry from factual dissemination of information. News, today, is not news !
Twitter has made things more complicated. The hashtag promoted by a news channel becomes a national trend with just 10000 tweets. Oh come on ! 10000 in a nation of 1.3 billion. That's not a trend. That's a drop in an ocean and at best a promotion gimmick.
Today's news never manages to leave me content. If it does anything is to leave me disappointed. It leaves me disoriented with all the screaming and shouting. Dinner time news has turned from being an easy digestive to a caustic acid.
It was this very rabble rousing which turned me off this news channels. I returned to watch it a few days back. Much has changed, for the worse. And I have made up my mind to keep off this non-sense.
The other news channels are very poor on the content, except for one (NDTV). I often stick to it when I am a bit interested in the day to day national news. However, they too seem to be mimicking monkeys as far as debates are concerned. It's just that they are a bit less or more vociferous. I usually keep away from their debates too.
I prefer BBC for international content. Their news is news !
If we are viewing the news, we are mostly consuming biased content. We are inheriting shaped and influenced opinions. In all, television news is no longer news.
The solution :- I am sticking to the newspapers. Thank God we don't have Harry Potter style news papers with videos coming out from the prints. That would be the end of news for me !