Top 10 Reasons why Media has become more Sensational and Less Sensible
It’s an all too common debate about why the Media hasn’t stood up for what it was created at the first place- to inform people of facts about their own government and deal with matters that require urgent attention and action. As the 4th pillar of democracy, the media has always been expected to empower the plebeian by showing them whether their decision has been justified or not, their representative have been doing what they were elected to do and the areas which need more consideration for an inclusive and all-round development of the society they are living in. The media has the responsibility of showing the facts, and analysing it in different contexts when need be, so that the common man knows how the developments in the global or national stage is going to affect him.
Apart from condemning and creating awareness about the potential threats to a peaceful and progressive society, the media is also supposed to encourage individual or organisational efforts to improve the society so that more people are inspired to make the world a better place. In today’s time when media has an omnipotent presence, it’s imperative to encourage responsible and informed news that can become or guide the mass to the picture of an ideal society.
Unfortunately, as media becomes increasingly commodified due to being owned by corporate labels, they are now serving as mere publicity vehicles or rely more on “sensationalism” that, in spite of being of questionable source/nature, are given priority airtime rather than the news that really matter (has the potential to affect a change in the existing society). But it’s not all their fault, since we, as a society, have encouraged consumerism more than substance. The escapist human that the majority of us have grown into, would rather hide their heads in the sand and pretend it’s not there than face the truth and do something about it.
Now that we have got the topic seriously dissected and very expertly analysed, let’s make fun of those corporate houses that have really replaced Sun TV as a major source of entertainment and mindless banter and shred their image into pieces (though they are doing it quite well without any help):
10. Excessive focus on “Celebs”
This would qualify as an example of positive feedback mechanism. That’s what the audience loves anyway- bitching about people who we really don’t know, determining how they should be living their lives and glorifying in their achievements. Our perennial instinct of poking our nose into others’ businesses has resulted in the categorisation of the media into a formal media and a Page 3 Media, that is solely devoted to satisfy our quest for pointing out what’s wrong with someone’s lives and how they should be rectifying it.
9. Propagating regressive stereotypes instead of breaking free
You’d have frequently come across astrology programs which go like this-“xyz god man advises all the December born people to lock yourself inside and swallow the key, please send an sms to get another key and get yourself out.” Half of the media channels thrive on fake so-called astrologers commenting about what colour would make you look slim today and dedicate a whole hour to airing mindless and illogical banter just to reinforce the already existing regressive superstitions that causes several innocent animals to lose their lives for someone’s idea of protecting wealth. And it’s not just religion that’s getting all twisted and manipulated, and logic getting trashed out there; Misogyny, Sexism, Racism, Patriarchy and Homophobia are treated with obnoxious limited knowledge and mentality.
8. News that matter not
Of course, all of us want to see a bird that can walk on its wings and recite Hamlet like Shakespeare. Yes, all 24X7 live coverage of it. Who cares if some ship spilled gallons of oil on the west coast! We have a mystery of cats chasing their tails to solve. Day by day, we are bombarded with truckloads of useless or depressing information-like how politicians have run out of expletives to address each other; but when it comes to reporting about events that might have bigger repercussions, the media backs out fearing either the loss of their viewership (people surviving by telly-gossips), lesser popularity or may be limited cognitive functionality.
7. Media’s Most wanted- Ethics
People go an arm and a leg just to make mockery of someone’s life. Our media has become impatient and hence, inspired a whole society of it. Incomplete research, false leads, untrue allegations, commenting about totally unrelated personal lives of high profile faces in the media- we have an extensively creative industry that makes a drama film every minute based on single nugget of information. Misleading the population is what they can claim as their job now.
Well, no ethics, no professionalism. They go barging inside someone’s house only because they have been “alleged” to be involved in some scandal, like they are the CBI and also, go hounding the celebrities to the point of stalking, which makes them more of creeps than information seekers. Using only some single sentence and manipulating it to suit their interests to make it more controversial without checking for the context- you might as well think we have 5-yr old kids for journalists.
5. For profit Media
Due to the increasing privatisation of media channels by business houses, the role of media as an unbiased and impartial commentator of the society has ceased to exist and more tailored to suit their interests and increasing their revenues. The Advertisements are known to get more airtime than news. The motif of money has never been known to cause good things socially.
4. The missing debate
The all-important component of debating amongst varied populations, dignitaries and experts on real issues is nowhere seen. What you see as “debates” on national televisions is just reinforcement of their pre-conceived ideas. They don’t force the plebeian to think, rather feeds them with biased opinions, and almost never show both sides of the coin.
3. Jumping to conclusion without analysing the facts from both sides
A small hint of lead somewhere leads to breaking news! And that breaking news is followed up by paid opinion polls, paid debates and paid news flashes. Half-baked news that almost never see complete research/or are manipulated to show an intention due to shortage of time.
2. Partial approach
Research, Research, Research- the fundamental mantra of responsible journalism seems to be out for a toss nowadays. Almost all the news are either never thorough, or never followed up properly. If some schemes to benefit the poor have been harming them, instead of taking up the issue passionately, it just gets reduced to a scrolling line at the bottom of the screen. If a “high-profile” personality gets involved in a traffic duel, it fetches more screen time than movies.
That’s what Media nowadays is all about. If some news is thrilling or gets on your nerves, its worthy of an extended all-day program, replete with “exclusive programs” and animations of the happenings. Celeb lives are sensational, politicians bickering at each other is sensational (but politicians totally missing the point of development issues is not sensational), a cat stuck on the tree is sensational, but a poor who doesn’t cry bloody murder at the never-ending issue of not having basic necessities like water, food, or hygiene at his disposal is not sensational. For people in constant need of adrenaline rush but too afraid to jump off the cliff-Rejoice! The new media is here.