If the report of the brilliant Om Puri not being able to come out of the trauma of a very public humiliation by Arnab Goswami on ‘Times Now’ is true, what a shameful indictment of the TV news media it would be.
The lynch mobs now have blood on their hands and around their TRP-thirsting mouths—the corpuscles of a global acting great slandered in the gladiatorial court of instant opinion.
The sheer criminality of it numbs the mind.
It shames all five senses.
Doubtless there will be fast and furious denials, and some glib asshole who went to some great “law school” will be drafting a boilerplate “legal notice” on behalf of those who cannot spell ‘ethical’ backwards, but that should not take our eyes away from the gruesome murders which we applaud with our remote controls over single malts.
The suicide of activist Khurshid Anwer after an ‘India TV’ show, and the targeted destruction of JNU and its students based on ‘Make in India’ videos manufactured by ‘Zee News’, shows the thin line news TV in India is treading between news and creative non-fiction.
Little wonder these three channels, and countless others of their ilk in various regional languages, have emerged as the lapdogs of the loony right with its nightly wet fantasies wrapped around three colours (saffron, white and green), two positions (yes or no), one word (nationalism)—and half the brain of a bird in heat.
Television news media in India operates in a near-complete professional and ethical vacuum, and it has always staggered me that Samir Jain and his brother Vineet Jain, despite their mother’s faux-spirituality, created a monster that gnawed away at all civility, decency and decorum, not to mention fairness and balance, in our discourse.
TV news each night leaves us less of a human being than when we switched on, but Om Puri’s death takes it to a whole new level, or more accurately, a whole new depth. Bright TV folk like Uday Shankar should take the lead to infuse some sanity into an industry aching for it, and those of us who still have ‘data’ in our phones should switch off.
It’s never too late, for TV news in India that is Bharat has a nation to devour, if we are not to become a banana ‘Republic’.
Also read: The man who killed TV news