Since then I have been constantly aware of and acutely pained by the partisan attitude adopted by most of the print media as well as its electronic counterpart. What we see these days is mostly infotainment – fodder for the parasites looking for “spicy stuff”, something which can give them goose bumps – the extent of its veracity notwithstanding. This is something we saw again when swine flu broke out a few months ago in parts of the country. The media had found its new bestseller. The reports on how swine flu was the “new epidemic” inundated the front pages of the (regrettably) leading newspapers of the country. The up side is that it created a certain amount of awareness among the citizens about the flu. But that was not the ulterior motive of the media. It was sales. And moreover, most of the knowledge regarding the flu that was spread through the newspapers was often misleading, mostly incorrect. The people of the country did what Indians do amidst such hysteria – they panicked. Swine flu was touted as the next big thing – something which could wipe out humanity within the next few years. It turned out to be a magniloquent statement, which was correctly punctured in the ensuing weeks. The hullabaloo turned out to be an empty vessel which made more noise than it was supposed to.
Today, the news of the swine flu, just like the monkey-man uproar, has seemingly left the salubrious environs of the front pages and has acquiesced to blend with the nonentity of the middle pages. It does not come as a surprise to me. But what confounds me to this day is the fact that the newspapers and the news channels that place values over market-share, principles over TRP ratings, have much lower sales than the ones that honestly believe that infotainment is the ultimate tool to fool the gullible customer. I sincerely hope that the Indian public strongly stands behind such paragons of uprightness and supports such morally empowered media houses with something more than mere acknowledgment.