The Media’s Mediocre Darlings

A few days ago, a leading daily carried an unusual article about Sonali Bendre adopting a dog. Reading this, I wondered if this is news at all. The sheer incongruity of the piece surprised me. This was a ridiculous example of the media’s tendency to publish anything that has to do with the glamour icons- an image the media itself has unnecessarily aggrandized.

The media of today gives undue importance to glamour and its disciples. Our newspapers give front page coverage to Aishwarya Rai’s injury, our TV channels telecast “item-bomb” competitions during prime time and our magazines depict Bipasha Basu and her ilk on cover pages. With the prevalence of such norms, fame has become synonymous with glamour. To be famous, the quickest route is through the glamour industry and it will be shorter still if you are willing to expose yards of skin. It has therefore become a self-fulfilling chain: the media’s preference for sex symbols and wannabe starlets donning skimpier clothes for the media’s attention.

Needless to say, both electronic and print media prefer the ‘gliterati’ to the ‘literati’. Sex appeal, estrogen/testosterone levels and on-screen unabashedness are slowly edging out talent, brains, values and character. The scientists, artists, writers and other intellectuals find no space in our newspapers and no channel allots enough time for their achievements. Our ‘reel’ heroes receive pages and pages of critical acclaim for their brilliant ‘acting’ but many of our real life heroes escape into oblivion. How many of us remember Bapi Sen, who died protecting a women being molested? A leading news magazine once declared Preity Zinta as a youth icon ‘for standing up to the mafia’. But how many of our policemen who die in not-so-glamorous encounters with the mafia are glorified that way?

Isn’t it small wonder then, that our primary school going brothers and sisters want to grow up to become John Abrahams and Mallika Sherawats? The children of today have no heroes with impeccable character to look up to- only sex idols with loose morals, thanks to our media. We as viewers and readers are helplessly at the media’s mercy. When such is the case, why be shocked and cry hoarse over the DPS MMS scandal? That is the inescapable logical conclusion to the media’s excess.

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