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How the cookie crumbles !

Democracy is the last recourse for scoundrels is what is said and we seem to be hell bent on proving the adage right.
Our constitution is held up by the four pillars namely Judiciary who are its keepers, the politicians who are the makers, the bureaucracy who are the doers and the Media also called as the fourth estate the voice of the people, in short the reviewers. It speaks for the greatness of vision of the people who came up with the vision of our constitution to make a nation as nascent and adolescent as India when it turned into a republic, to aim for equality for all in all aspects of life. The primary dharma of each pillar is to stay true to its path and fulfill the work laid out for it. What the pillars have transcended into, in the short course of our independent existence after the imperial yoke being thrown away begets contempt beyond comparison.

More so the fourth estate which has to stand up and share in the collective sin in failing to do what it has been granted the civil rights to do. We see an occasional glimpse of what the fourth estate can do with excellent impartial coverage of an event without taking sides but then those occasions are so far and few between. Far from being reviewers of the other three pillars and the moral and social fabric, media has started to look like an extended arm of the other three. The strong voice and pen of the erstwhile thinkers are being replaced with sycophants and mercenaries which do not think twice of the damage being done to the role and the image of the pillar with their shenanigans.

When the common folks pick up a paper or switch on the TV for an opinion, they lay implicit trust in what they see and read. The connection is direct. We, the common folks do not have a direct contact with the political class, the judiciary or the bureaucracy on a day to day basis. The other three pillars work in the background as far as a common person is concerned, but the fourth estate is different. They share a bed and bug kind of relationship with the common people be it the first headline on the front page or a breaking news on the breakfast slot. Media has a responsibility to not just bring entertainment but also be the reviewer for the other three pillars. The voice of the common folks is the voice of the media, so that the other three pillars are always reminded that they are in the seat because of the silent denizens of the country.

Satyamev jayate - Truth prevails, the all pervasive motto of the Indian nation is by far the most idealist position possible. It cant get more equal than that in any aspect of life. What seems lost on the crumbling fourth estate is that, it is the “Absolute Truth” which prevails, not the make-believe “truth” that is generated by the views and opinions of a select few which sit in the editorial chairs or new desks. When a view is presented with sides already taken the viewer, if gullible is taken for a ride, and if the viewer being a thinker, is instantly turned off in both cases the view presenter not doing the dharma expected of it of being a view presenter and no more. We have not yet outsourced the decision making process to the media czars and it is extremely elitist to see some of the people who make up the intellectual chatterati of the country make a fool of themselves taking or what it seems to them intelligent position on a situation. With each passing day it is becoming more and more intolerable the way news or opinions being “manufactured” or generated in lieu of eyeballs in the vastly commercialized sphere of media in our country. A sense of elitism or holier than thou attitude also is being taken over by the so called channels and papers which each going out of the way to present a “I am better(at attracting trp‘s)” image at the cost of being upholders of our constitutional motto.

Example which beget the questioning of the media is the way some of the “elite” abetted a person to commit self immolation all but for the sake of a few eyeballs, what became of the elite no one knows maybe they got promoted. We have cases like the teacher who got framed by a wannabe “journalist” and get her career ruined to help bring news to the world. Even what is so evidently a political issue, the issue of reservations for a set of tribal converts against the non converts gets presented as a religious one as the bogey of saffron surge creates more eyeballs and wins more praise. Channels and presenters get awards not by standing up for the truth but by “presenting” the truth. The “elites” in the media take sides openly in the political spectrum to earn brownie points and maybe preferred slots for interviews, but in the process end up losing credibility which they have so painstakingly built over the period. For the media or people who make up the media, it is the credibility which is the holy grail. Just like money is for a businessperson, credibility is to the news person. If the view being presented is being done by a person who has lost trust the view also loses trust. We cannot have media barons lose the implicit trust that the people have on them by their open flirtations with power which they seem to have got intoxicated with. People are the best judge, they vote out politicians, protest when injustice is done, forgive when the need to move ahead is right and better for the country as they get more and more intelligent and more nationalist, people will start making choices on their own like the recent Gujarat elections proved and such a situation will be disastrous for the fourth estate for it will stand exposed for what mal-intent have committed themselves onto. The fourth estate having lost its way needs to take sides, not with “whoever is in power” kinds but “side with the nation and the truth” kind. There are no individual principles involved in nation building, individual agendas may be good for trp’s but are bad for the nation.

Just as Satyamev jayate being all pervasive, even the fourth estate(apart from the other three which anyways win the corruption indexes hands down) being sidelined for its unprincipled ways is not far off , it not yet too late for the fourth estate to gather up the pants that it has dropped. The truth is, if it does not, they stand the risk of having as much credibility of a American dollar in the years to come by. And that is not a good thing, not for the country after all everyone likes a cookie which is firm and crunchy not one that is soggy and crumbling.

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