Playing a Blame Game, the Politics in Reporting

How Reliable Is Our Media?

It’s official! Smt. Pratibha Patil is the first woman president of India. Simple.

But politics unfortunately is hardly about being a ‘mere’ people’s representative. It is never that simple. A complex web of intertwined motives and strategies, it is difficult for any politician to come out clean, what with endless media diggings and searches into the candidates past, present and even future. The obvious reaction of any politician to any news story centered on him/her is to go into the defensive and play the blame game. Often, they end up making sweeping statements or unsavory comments, which are exaggerated by journalists preferring yellow journalism to an accurate reporting of facts.
Half the politics of politics arises from the way it is reported by the media. Each issue reported about a ruling party manages to arouse the criticism of the opposition. Moreover, most informants of the society are under the influence of powerful politicians, causing biased views, nepotism and even negative campaigning incase of elections.
The question that arises, how reliable then are our informants, our journalists? Midst the washing of dirty linen in public and frequent political spats between politicians or parties, the real picture gets diluted, resulting in non-believing, confused citizens.
Consider the issue of the election of India’s new President, Pratibha Patil, and this question gets a far more serious angle to itself. A glance at the numerous news channels showed a confusing take on the UPA’s nomination for President. While some portrayed her as a champion of women empowerment, others dug into her past and excavated legal issues related to her.
Certain news channels even went to the extent of asking her if she thought she was worthy of the post of Presidential. While in the case of party organs such as ‘People’s Democracy’ of the CPI(M) one-sided views are expected, but it is disappointing to see the coverage of the supposedly ‘neutral’ news channels. This, in no case, is to undermine the importance of an independent, fearless opinion of a social informant, but to question the reliability of such an opinion.
How does the public know which portrayal of the President of India is accurate? How does one decide whether or not to believe the validity of the sting operations that have now turned into a popular way of attracting public attention? How does one believe the news reported twenty four-seven from various news channels?
This is an issue of dire concern as social informants must portray the true social picture to the public and give it a well-informed opinion. Till that does not happen, it would be difficult for people to believe in the power of politics. We might just end up as a misled society, which might be a major deterrent to our democracy.

Neha Bhat