Once a guy saw a beautiful, drop dead gorgeous and sexy woman walking on the road. Consumed by his desire for her, he walked up to her and boldly asked, “Hey miss, wanna ask you something… will you sleep with me if I gave you a million dollars?” The woman smiled and without any hesitation said “Of course!” He immediately blurted out. “How about for $10?” Now she got angry and shouted. “What do you think I am? A PROSTITUTE?!!” moving towards him menacingly. He calmly replied, “That, miss, I have already confirmed. Now I am only trying to establish your price.”
It was my first job as a newly minted MBA and I was leading the effort of Corporate Communications for an IPO of a corporate group with a rather unscrupulous and not so great past with the investors. I used to take journalists and analysts to the plant and give them financial and marketing presentations. We also used to interact with journalists in other places. I was at such a meeting in Delhi. A journalist – experienced one, middle aged – from a leading business daily in mid 1990s walked up to me and said, “Tell Rahul Singh (my CEO, name changed) that I am going to bring out a very damaging article on your group this coming Monday. Ask him to call me.” I was one of those quick thinking and energetic guys, so I immediately asked him boldly with style, “What will take for you to not write?” “Ek dena hoga”, he said. Yes, in those days Rs. 100,000 was a lot of money. Being what I was – full of confidence, and from Karol Bagh, where you start your negotiation from half the quoted price – I blurted out “Pacchas se kaam chalega?” (will 50K do). He got angry and shouted, “Mujhe bhadwa samjha hai kya” (Do you think I am a prostitute). I bit my lips trying hard not to burst out laughing!
The story of the guy negotiating with the lady is a popular joke. My experience is a popular occurrence and a TRUE story!
Let us get one thing off the table right away – Journalists are NOT Holy men and women! Even if they were, they do not have amnesty from being mocked and criticized! So, they cannot shout foul when they are criticized. Just as they have a right to criticize others, others have as much right to criticize and make fun of them. Sometimes that bites! And it should! For, those who have to uphold the Freedom of Speech, cannot be allowed to erect convenient walls of protection from criticism (however bitter sounding) predicated on so-called blasphemy and victimization. Specially so when someone calls out their corrupt functioning!!
Corruption is what media of India is blighted with deeply! Mainstream media. That is why Shekhar Gupta, one of the top journalists, had the temerity to say that a decorated General and Indian minister who has evacuated thousands (3500 to be exact) of Indians from war torn Yemen – should be booked under Section 66A. A section, which the press has been campaigning against as being anti Freedom of Speech! You cannot fight fascism by becoming a Hitler yourself!
I want the readers to be aware of the people we are talking about. General VK Singh is a Four Star retired General of the Indian Army. The first Commando to become a General. Has won Param Vishisht Seva Media, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal. Gen. Singh has served in combat (1971 war) and led many counter insurgency operations. On the other hand, we have journalists who have lived in four star comforts with no great accomplishments and often fudging records from the national events, including wars. The opponents are clear, and one needs to carefully look at the credibility of the characters involved before they let their political lens play havoc with their basic intelligence.
When Brian Williams, the famous and very celebrated MSNBC news anchor, falsified the Iraq story – he was fired! None of his journalist friends tried to defend his falsehoods. When, however, Barkha Dutt was found – via phone tapes – to be negotiating the Government formation with middle-woman Radia and others – she didn’t face any indictment nor was she fired! In fact, she remains strong as ever. The journalists clique had rallied around her to defend her! If a tale of compromised ethics and principals in Indian media could be written, then Barkha Dutt could easily be the leading lady!
One will not go into the stories in media where news has either been buried or made up to favor someone or hurt someone, for it can go on and on. Talking of corruption, most journalists have very often twisted words and used their offices to benefit one party over the other. Kumar Kelkar, for instance, has categorically said on one evening program, that “I am sympathetic to Congress and I am proud of it!” As if being prejudiced is a badge of honor for him. No heckling ensued. No one questioned his inherent conflict of interest and corrupt journalistic ethics. It was as matter of fact as it comes!
Presstitutes: The Real Story
When Gen VK Singh visited Pakistan Embassy on Pakistan Day, and remarked, “Disgust” (for the media basically, on how they covered his going there), the media had bloated the whole thing for a week. It was as if they wanted to hit him with a vengeance. However, when General VK Singh went for the Yemen operation and brought thousands of Indians and others back, the media just didn’t seem interested at all!
Taking a dig at the media at its prejudiced behavior, the decorated General remarked:
“It looks like the rescue operation is not that exciting as my visit to Pak embassy”
But, what the media – again showing their fetish to twist the words – said was something totally different!
“Gen VK Singh said rescue operation is less exciting than going to Pak embassy”
Machiavellian, isn’t it? See, how the whole thing was twisted? Isn’t that shouting of prejudice and bias?
When the Times Now tweeted this, it was then that General VK Singh tweeted back saying:
But suddenly, the whole media has ganged against the General and the Modi Government to “make them pay” for paying the media back in a language that befits them! A bunch of sold and paid for men and women of Indian media continue to bully others when they are criticized or mocked! But these very people have the gall and chutzpah to go around bringing down whoever they want to.
India is now ready for Alternative Media
India’s media is heavily biased and prejudiced against one party and one ideological group. It finds it convenient to ignore the bomb attack on Belur Math – a Hindu temple, but raise all hue and cry about stones thrown at a Church in Delhi by some miscreants (not a religious attack). It has no time to cover acid attacks on a Hindu procession by Muslims for a strange reason. Communalism is stoked, abetted and fanned by the mainstream media of India.
It is time that a completely different way of providing news and analysis is created in India. Something that will be neutral and with some sense. What is happening in the country right now – in terms of TV and news programs – is sheer rancor and noise, not news!
Making social media as the base, it is time for a new wave of alternative media in India. The Presstitutes of current media are passe, and their rancor-houses should now be brought down by sheer power of audience movement.