Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Home Media Kim Kardashians of the Indian Media

Kim Kardashians of the Indian Media

Among celebrities of every country there is always this peculiar group of people whose reason for being famous remains frustratingly elusive. They are not brilliant artists or exceptionally good looking or weirdly creative. Unable to pin any particular admirable quality down, we call them famous just for being famous. This is the group the Kim Kardashians and Paris Hiltons belong to.

Unfortunately in India this trait has extended to envelope most of the media landscape where we have ended up with too many Kim Kardashians and Paris Hiltons in our journalism. Television screens, glossy newspapers, hurriedly written books and over-priced magazines keep assuring us that these stalwarts deserve all our respect but just a hint of skepticism is enough to bring this strenuously built facade collapsing under its own weight.

If not for anything else, the ten year UPA rule provided innumerable opportunities to journalists to permanently establish their credentials. There were so many flabbergasting stories of misuse of power and corruption coming out from Delhi, that our journalists should have been fretting over the agony of choice. But none of the so called top journalists broke the 2G scam, Coalgate, Adarsh, CWG scam or any of the countless gifts from UPA. The corruption was instead uncovered by NGOs, individual MPs, private citizens and the CAG. Even more criminal was the lack of proper investigative follow-ups to these breaking stories. Of course the TRPs demanded that the media make a lot of hoopla around these events but instead of uncovering new facts and following the money trail, our elite scribes just moderated shouting matches between party spokespersons.

Such lack of curiosity would have been mysterious if not for the timely release of the Radia tapes which did a splendid job of encapsulating how compromised and beholden the Indian media is to those very powers it is supposed to keep a watch on. No wonder we never see them breaking genuine stories anymore. And when famous journalists are no longer breaking stories or following up on important events, they become like Kim Kardashian. They are famous just for being famous.

- Advertisement -

When was the last time the Kim Kardashians of the media took a break from typing their gag-reflex inducing tweets and exposed a new scam or conducted a truly memorable interview? When did they last take a time-out from assaulting us with images of politicians launching their books and instead spared time for an investigative feature on those very people? What we see instead are chequered careers built on questionable methods. Their supposed Hall of Fame moments like the coverage of the 2002 riots and the 26/11 attacks have instead come accompanied with umpteen accusations of irresponsible reporting which seem to qualify those exploits more for the Hall of Shame. And when the buck finally tried to stop with some of them with the release of the Radia tapes, we saw how rickety the foundations of their principled reputation truly were.

When the top echelons of Indian media is overcrowded with sell-outs, does this mean that objective and genuine journalism is impossible in India? That’s not true at all. Our country has seen some astounding work in the past. Chitra Subramaniam almost single handedly brought down the Rajiv Gandhi government with her work on the Bofors scam. Sucheta Dalal blew the lid off the biggest financial scam in India in the nineties which forced the government to introduce safeguards on how the markets function. Arun Shourie and S Gurumurthy bravely laid bare the perils of crony capitalism in the eighties. P Sainath filed multiple reports from the darkest corners of rural India which forced governments to rethink their ideas on poverty alleviation and development. These journalists tackled different issues but a common theme of hard work, painstaking research and an investigative attitude bonded them together. And they did their work without any outlandish bombast or arrogantly pretending to know what the nation wants to hear. Instead they chose their stories based on what the nation needed to hear.

In today’s scheme of things, fact, figures, research and nuance scare the Kim Kardashians of media more than anything else. To hide their ignorance of details, they use phrases like ‘in the big picture’. They rephrase sundry motherhood statements and try to sell them as original opinions. Incorrect reporting is casually explained away by claiming that situations were evolving rapidly.  Instead of impartially elucidating different perspectives of a story for their audience, they try to force fit all stories into their favourite running narrative. Nothing is more precious to them than their pet narratives. They stick by it no matter how many facts, realities or truths are hurled at them. Their valiant attempts to present reality in the manner which suits their world view would make Don Quixote proud.

One could have been more forgiving had it been an original world view but it seldom is. It is usually different versions of the same rants one might hear in a Lutyens drawing room after the third glass of Scotch. The Kim Kardashians of Indian media have built their own cosy club where newcomers can join only if they share their polished mediocrity and agree to periodically yell out that the emperors are indeed wearing fine outfits. In this club, the ability to ingratiate oneself with the politically powerful is seen as a badge of honour instead of a question mark on their independence. The higher up one is, in the club hierarchy, the more liberties he or she enjoys. Ethically compromising situations are swept aside by calling them errors of judgement. Manufacturing stories about coup attempts which are a shade less fictional than a Harry Potter novel are brushed off as minor inconveniences.

This club would have continued to live long and prosper if not for the unexpected advent of social media. Suddenly the Kim Kardashians were being called out for what they really were. Vacuous, bungling semi-professionals with egos the size of an Airbus 380. The erudite and principled profiles that they had built for themselves over years began to rapidly peel away to reveal petty individuals desperate to maintain their sense of superiority.  It is one thing to browbeat one Chaitanya Kunte into apologizing but suppressing millions of Chaitanya Kuntes from every corner of the country demanding accountability is a whole different ball game. And if current evidence is anything to go by, the Kim Kardashians of the Indian media are fighting a losing battle.

Next time you turn on the television and see one of these elite journalists on the screen screaming questions, ask yourself some questions of your own. When was the last time this gentleman or lady really shook the foundations of power? When was the last time they went after someone really powerful without a second thought about their careers? When was the last time they truly helped us learn something we needed to know? When was the last time they behaved as journalists? The answer to those questions will help you understand how similar they are to the Kim Kardashians of the world.

P.S.: Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have been used as metaphors. Please don’t accuse me of sexism. Most Kardashians of Indian media are men.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

Gujarat: Loudspeaker permission granted by Bhuj Magistrate to Shiv Mandir after it was denied on grounds that coronavirus transmits to sound waves

Bhuj Magistrate has denied permission to use loudspeaker for the holy month of Shravan at a Shiv Mandir on ground that loudspeakers disperse the virus and will spread coronavirus.

The curious case of a ‘Hindi Supremacist’ Twitter account, its Islamist origins and links to widely followed Islamist accounts on the platform

Twitter user Shubham Tripathi which has been trying to fan communal tensions by making regionalist comments is probably run by an Islamist.

Ashok Gehlot reportedly offers to resign from the post of Rajasthan CM after Sachin Pilot’s return to Congress: Reports

Sachin Pilot had recently returned to Congress after meeting with former Congress President Rahul Gandhi

PTI spreads another fake news, misquotes PM Modi on coronavirus cases in India

Prime Minister Modi said that the percentage of active cases of coronavirus cases in India has come down and the recovery rate has come up.

NCP leader Ajit Pawar’s son Parth Pawar draws flak for welcoming the Ram Mandir and demanding CBI inquiry into the alleged suicide of actor...

The Maharashtra Minority Development minister, Nawab Malik dismissed Parth Pawar’s statements, saying the deputy chief minister’s son is young and inexperienced and that there’s no difference of opinions among the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance members

Karnataka: Outrage across the state as raped minor commits suicide, family demands capital punishment for accused Basheer

The accused Basheer accosted the girl when she was going to a temple to pray for her ailing mother and molested and raped her

Recently Popular

Pakistan: Maulvi rapes child reading Quran in mosque in Sindh province, caught on CCTV

Muslim Cleric in Sindh province in Pakistan on the run after video of hem raping a child inside a mosque emerges, case registered

Maharashtra CM’s son involved in Sushant Singh Rajput death case, says Bihar govt’s lawyer: Here are the full details

SC heard Rhea Chakraborty’s plea for the second time in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput death case today

Not satire: Shashi Tharoor and Barkha Dutt hold a serious discussion over PM Modi’s “communal” beard

In all seriousness Shashi Tharoor and Barkha Dutt are discussing the length of PM Modi's beard and how it looks 'communal'.

Rhea Chakraborty called mysterious ‘AU’ 44 times, calls made before and after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death: Reports

Call records of Rhea Chakraborty show that she was in touch with someone whose contact number was stored in her phone with the initials 'AU'

Linkedin employee Sourav Paul vows to murder Brahmins, claims it is easier to kill instead of opposing them

LinkedIn Employee Sourav Paul was unapologetic about his vitriol and abused a person when his hatred towards Rama was pointed out.

The curious case of a ‘Hindi Supremacist’ Twitter account, its Islamist origins and links to widely followed Islamist accounts on the platform

Twitter user Shubham Tripathi which has been trying to fan communal tensions by making regionalist comments is probably run by an Islamist.

Port Blair submarine OFC empowers islanders, boosts economy and checks China

PM Modi inaugurated the submarine optical fibre cable (OFC) which connects the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to mainland India.

Congress cites PTI’s misquoted tweet to further lies about PM Modi, deletes the tweet when called out

Congress party shared the PTI tweet that misquoted PM Modi to allege that the Prime Minister lied to the nation

Linkedin employee Sourav Paul vows to murder Brahmins, claims it is easier to kill instead of opposing them

LinkedIn Employee Sourav Paul was unapologetic about his vitriol and abused a person when his hatred towards Rama was pointed out.

Rhea Chakraborty called mysterious ‘AU’ 44 times, calls made before and after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death: Reports

Call records of Rhea Chakraborty show that she was in touch with someone whose contact number was stored in her phone with the initials 'AU'

Maharashtra CM’s son involved in Sushant Singh Rajput death case, says Bihar govt’s lawyer: Here are the full details

SC heard Rhea Chakraborty’s plea for the second time in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput death case today

Here is what Sachin Pilot said when an agitated Rajdeep Sardesai insinuated that his rebellion was sponsored by BJP

Sachin Pilot issued a sharp rejoinder after Rajdeep Sardesai suggested that the rebelling Congress MLAs were doing it at the behest of the BJP

Nobody in the family saw his body hanging, don’t trust Mumbai police: Father of Sushant Singh Rajput argues in SC

The Supreme Court has reserved the order in the death case of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput after hearing submissions made by the father

Meerut Police initiates action against a social media user for threatening activist and writer Nidhi Bahuguna

Nidhi Bahuguna was threatened by a social media user for recounting her ancestors’ ordeal in Muslim majority Pakistan

‘With the strength of your experience, our country will win this battle,’ PM Modi holds meeting with CM of ten states with maximum Covid-19...

PM Modi held meeting with Chief Ministers of ten states that contribute to 80% of Covid-19 cases on Tuesday.

The curious case of a ‘Hindi Supremacist’ Twitter account, its Islamist origins and links to widely followed Islamist accounts on the platform

Twitter user Shubham Tripathi which has been trying to fan communal tensions by making regionalist comments is probably run by an Islamist.

Connect with us

239,751FansLike
426,667FollowersFollow
295,000SubscribersSubscribe