What is that one thing that distinguishes Western Media from that of India!?
However simple and widely known the answer might be, it is firstly tedious to express it in a statement and secondly, more difficult it is to pin it down to one among so many.
From the viewer’s perspective, while switching over from one channel to the other- strange, excited cheers/ roars, loud and boisterous speeches, and chaos immediately manage to catch our attention however deviant they may be from our purpose or interest.
There is an order in the chaos
An excited and loud speech or a fight or televised roars and shouts portray an imminent and impending event that causes an adrenaline rush that is both thrilling and fatal to our health. This is precisely the technique Indian mass media uses as opposed to calm, composed, dignified, and quietness journalism is usually associated with. While none of these is inherently bad in itself, the way they are used can be.
While a fact needs to be asserted and can be asserted with force, if need be, a lot of useful or vital information is spent or obscured while the televised fights take place that is bent on overlapping their facts over that of the opposition. A method can be to switch off the mics, reduce their volumes or shout above the other so that the other opinions are just lost in transition. However simplistic they may now seem, this very psychology of grabbing our attention works every night, every day, and probably since time immemorial.
Dangerous are those things that are visible and plain to the naked eye but yet go undetected. Televised debates with no rules and twisted facts are its best portrayals.
It does not just stop with news channels per se, but rather extend to combat sports, reality shows, serials, and even advertisements.
Their fanbases, however, are very different from one another. For fans watching wrestling (WWE, most popularly) are already aware that the matches are scripted but athleticism is real. But what about the others? In recent times, several allegations have been made about reality shows like Roadies and Big Boss being scripted but no decisive proof has yet been found. Even if for argument’s sake we contend to the fact that they are not scripted, they are so heavily edited that it forces the majority of the viewership to incline towards one while dis-support others. The difference then between a script and editing from the outcome’s perspective is marginal.
Ever wondered as to why detective stories and crime thrillers are the best-sold books and on-screen portrayals in the market!?
Murder is an art best enjoyed on a couch with a glass of wine- is what is said. The translation of the thrill, entertainment, and animalistic side of humans is a guilty pleasure we all love to resort to.
Compare the pre-determined wrestling to news debates to reality shows – the commonality among them being some form of violence and animalistic tendencies from which we have all evolved from or have we?
But how fatal are they to our health?
While an aggressive debate in a courtroom or a news studio can be excused if intuitive, but scripted aggressiveness or violence or likewise portrayals, make us rude, boisterous, and aggressive in return and irks in us an urge to imitate them having received the sadistic pleasure they all give.
Several psychological journals indicate that men love violence as much as they love sex. The very encounter is thrilling.
We have long since evolved from dog fights and bullfights and hunting but we have not lost the tendency to incline towards them as it seems; only that the form of sadistic pleasure is now more sugar-coated and civilized.
At a time when news channels generate less of facts or information and more of entertainment ( whatever constitutes within it, including the over-hyped media trails of celebrities over farmer suicides), reality shows cannot be expected to deliver anything better!
More often than not, the outright irresponsible divulging of facts of a case or even portrayal of mental health catches several off guards and contributes to the ever prevalent stereotypes.
Madness is just like gravity, all it takes is a little push – Joker once said.
In the end, it is all about excitement and drama that shows like Big Boss, Roadies, and in recent times, several other news channels manage to provide that we are addicted to.
The attempt is not to persuade you to watch or not watch any of it. That lies upon your informed discretion. It is rather to make you aware and then allow you to make your conscious choice because literature (the wider meaning includes movies too) and media are a reflection of the society.
They show us what WE WANT to see. We demand so they gratefully supply as, in the end, generation of TRP brings them their livelihood.
We know but yet we see and indulge. No other collective failure is as discouraging as the one that is recognized but, yet, unfortunately, stands uncorrected.
The views and opinions expressed in this opinion article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.