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Incompetent, uncouth, entitled: There is a lot which is common between Acosta and Indian media

The media can either continue portraying itself as a victim and defend uncouth, ill-mannered brats while proclaiming themselves to be the moral guardians of society or they can pursue truth and report objective facts. They cannot have both.

A lot has been happening in the United States of America recently. The midterm elections, mass shootings, Antifa attacking Fox News’ talk-show host Tucker Carlson’s home and so much more. Even among all these high-profile incidents, one particular event that has attracted special attention is Jim Acosta’s grandstanding at a White House press conference and the subsequent revoking of his White House press badge. And then the media went on to claim that the President had justified the decision with a ‘doctored’ video.

Many on the media have called it an attack on the Free Press. However, unless the Free Press has been granted freedom from the restrictions of decency, courtesy and common sense, then it most definitely isn’t an attack on Free Press. It can be clearly seen from the video that Acosta does try to prevent the intern from doing her job and uses the occasion to grandstand instead of trying to get some serious answers.

Acosta’s antics aren’t anything new. They have been going on ever since President Trump took office. On several occasions in the past, Acosta has shouted and yelled at the President, refused to hand over the mic to his colleagues and ate into the time allotted to other reporters.

However, as always, the media decided to abandon all principles and side with Acosta just because he is one of their own. It’s merely tribalism and the media is acting as a protected class watching over its own regardless of truth and honesty and integrity.

The incident also goes on to show that the media behaves like partisan hacks and their primary agenda is political, not commitment towards objective truth. ‘Independence of the Media’ merely refers to a media that can blatantly push a partisan agenda with complete freedom and without any consequences.

As bad as the liberal media is in the USA, it’s nowhere nearly as bad as it is in India. In India, although journalists do not heckle in the manner Acosta did, they completely whitewash events that go against their favoured narrative and even attempt to humanize terrorists. And worse, they do not suffer any consequences for their transgressions either.

In retrospect, there are a lot of similarities between liberal media in the two countries. In India, the media portrays those arrested in connection with alleged violence and an alleged assassination plot to murder the Prime Minister as mere dissenters and human rights activists. The media even deny that there is such a thing as an ‘Urban Maoist’ and throws fits at the Prime Minister for using that word. Meanwhile, in America, the media for a long time portrayed Antifa as a peaceful group despite all evidence to the contrary.

Moreover, the mainstream media in both countries have a clear political agenda that is so obvious that they must take us for fools if they honestly believe that there is any way they could come across as neutral. And yet, they continue to parade around wearing the mantle of neutrality while publishing one hit-job after the other to aid and assist a particular party.

Is there any difference between the likes of Jim Acosta who believe it is their duty to oppose President Trump because they regard him as evil and the likes of Rajdeep Sardesai who will twist everything under the Sun and paint it with anti-Modi colour merely because they do not like the fact that Modi is unabashedly Hindu? Is there any difference between the incompetent, uncouth and entitled manner in which Acosta behaved and the manner in which Indian media conducts itself? What is it if not entitlement when an income tax raid on Raghav Bahl becomes a matter of “freedom of the press”? What is it if not being uncouth when Rajdeep Sardesai came down to blows in Madison Square just because he encountered some Modi supporters? What is it if not incompetence that our media peddles half-baked fact and total lies time and again with impunity? There is not much of a difference, really.

There’s nothing surprising that there are remarkable similarities between the media in the two countries. Because, after all, the profession has been consumed by the ideology of progressivism and Indian liberalism, for all its grandstanding, is merely western progressivism with a time lag.

It’s not surprising that over time, a group of individuals working in the same business come together to form a union to serve and protect their own interests. It’s only natural, especially considering the influence communism has had in the 20th century. Factory workers form unions to protect their own interests and those in the media form organizations such as the Editors’ Guild to serve their own interests. There is not much difference between the two.

The viewers have started realizing that commitment to truth is much lower down in the list of the media’s priorities. The media has decided that its primary duty is to be the moral guardian of the society. And when morality comes into the picture, there is very little scope for a quest for objective truth.

The media can either continue portraying itself as a victim and defend uncouth, ill-mannered brats while proclaiming themselves to be the moral guardians of society or they can pursue truth and report objective facts. They cannot have both.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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