Lords Of Ego, Life Of Sleaze

Having been brought up in a family with a military background, journalism never excited me in any way. But I never imagined myself to be against it in any way either. It was a profession to me, just like any other. However, on the outside, sometimes it did look glitzy and glamorous, I think like any other person who has no idea of what goes on behind the curtains.

Plus, my sheltered life, where nothing ever went wrong or even if it did, mom and dad were there to lend a helping hand anytime, never allowed me to think of how people could behave with each other, what they could say that would defy all boundaries of decency ever defined.

Then, as luck would have it, I joined the ranks of journalism and came in contact with many people in the same profession, some I would call friends and some were just acquaintances. However, almost all of them had some experience to share at some point or the other. And the fact that most often than not, those experiences had sleazy overtones with deep dark shadows of ego hanging large over them saddened me. I write this when it all just cannot stay inside my mind anymore.

Once the worms started to roll out, not out of a single can, but an entire case, there was no looking back. People in the profession walk about with a sense of self righteousness, that they know everything, that journalism is the answer to all the problems faced by the human race. A technical detail like slow internet speed or a slow loading website becomes a problem that the IT guy has to sort out.

It doesn’t matter if it’s out of his control, just like the wind blowing or the sun shining, he has to find a solution. A journalist could find it out easily owing to his or her research skills. The editor gets to know of a thing called Blackberry Apps from someone and instructs the single IT guy employed by the company to implement it on their website as well.

He doesn’t care if it takes an entire team of professionals to work on one such application and the fact that the organization does not have pockets deep enough to put together such a team, or the fact that only three of the largest players in the entire country have enough resources to put together something of that scale.

Another incident that comes to mind is when a respectable (or supposedly so) editor of a gbi news channel mentored a journalist friend of mine. She respected him. Her parents would call him to make sure their little girl was looked after and she would always have a father figure around to help her in time of need. But he had other intentions.

Rumors started to roll out from his own mouth that his marriage of fifteen years was on the rocks and that he was having an affair with his intern, nearly half his age, who respected him like a brother, like a father. He finally asked her, without mincing his words, to sleep with him once.

The man even went to the extent of calling up her parents and asking them to convince their little girl to do so. Needless to say, his marriage did fall apart when his wife, a member of the journalistic community herself, found out what he’d been up to. She blamed the girl for ruining her life and her marriage.

The young woman, even after being subject to such humility, did not say anything, not even a single complaint was made by her. Is it their education that engrains ego into their personality that makes them do and say such things? I think so. Whether it was the editor with such vile intentions for a girl half his age or the girl herself who refused to complain, masking it as her helplessness.

I got a chance to see it happen up close. Maybe it scarred the young girl in so many ways yet undefined or maybe she too has given up hope that something exists beyond the newsroom that is not so appalling. And just maybe, that makes me a little biased towards this issue as it has affected me in more than one way. I do feel I got more than I bargained for. But the nobility of the cause that might have been associated with the profession is nowhere to be seen for sure.

Jaswinder Singh