US President Donald Trump announced his own “Fake News Awards” and in the process exposed a lot of faux-pas by many reputed media houses. Needless to say, the media has not taken it lightly and are calling it as attack on the “Freedom of the Press” except for the fact that Trump has evidence of lies published by media whereas the media has no way to prove Trump wrong.
The only thing which the media is doing and probably can do, is shout and call this an attack on democracy. And when I read about it, it makes me laugh. It makes me laugh at the insecurity of the journalists and this insecurity is global. Notwithstanding the fact, that in the eye of exposure, it’s only the liars who are scared and shout to divert attention.
I have myself witnessed a lot of false reporting done by the media and for various reasons apart from the need for sensationalism and TRPs. But, these media people are extremely wary of criticism. Somehow, media thinks that lying is its birthright. I recollect my conversation with a reporter and very casually she said – “So, what we just twist some facts to make the reading more interesting.”
The callous and casual manner in which she treated faux-pas as if it was some kind of birthright, gave me a peek into the kind of indoctrination the journalists are subjected to, so that the media can be used as the socially accepted means of dissemination of information in order to keep people divided and fighting over issues that really do not affect them.
And the dip in the credibility of the media as we knew it two decades ago is evident from the rise of the social media and a new type of writing known as ” Citizen Journalism “. There is a growing section of the people who are refusing to believe the content distributed by big media houses and have thus resorted to their own ways of keeping up with the world.
The Trump campaign for presidency was riddled with attempts of his character assassination by various media houses and yet they did not succeed. People voted for Trump and he did become the President of the United States. Back in India, the media that was once averse to Narendra Modi slowly softened up to him as he recorded landslide victory in the 2014 elections.
The three leaders of very powerful nations – Trump, Modi and Putin care very less for the media and the journalists and that’s what is bad spell for the pathological liars in the media industry. What many lying journalists do not understand that when they lie, when they spread wrong information, they are not only murdering the trust of the millions of the people who rely on the fact that the media does not lie and believes the media blindly, they are also undermining the very tenets of democracy which they take a scourge under when challenged.
Do observe carefully and you will figure out that the world and the society we live in is not as bad and disgusting as the media paints it out to be. The focus of the media is always on spreading bad news and negativity and they are so driven by this exercise, that they don’t even realize the boundaries between truth and lies anymore and any criticism of this, is marked off as “Freedom of Press”.
And that brings us to the Freedom of Press “trump card” which the media plays every time it is criticized or derided for its free run. Now, it’s not the journos who are the ignorant ones here. The ignorant ones are us – the gullible readers! The journos know quite well to play the card. And they know that they can use the card whenever they want. In reality, the freedom of press concept is overrated. The media simply says whatever it wants and does not bother about the consequences and later shut the critics saying “Attack on Freedom of Press”.
Having said that, the press does not have the freedom, whatsoever, to ruin people’s lives by spreading misinformation just because it means business to them. The press does not have the freedom to impose their opinions on people and make the people chose wrong leaders who come out with harmful and myopic policies which only serve their paymasters. The press does not have freedom to run amok with the society.
So, if any journalist, you feel is doing a disservice to journalism, do not keep quiet merely because they tell you about “Freedom of Press”. Because freedom is a great power and with great power comes great responsibility.
So, when Donald Trump came up with the “Fake News Awards”, it’s a step in the right direction and what are the key takeaways for us and the media from that?
The takeaway for the media is simple – Do not defend against criticism by simply straining it down as an attack on the freedom of press. Rather, look back into yourselves, do some introspection and put a check on the faux-pas, with which the media is currently riddled with.
The takeaway for us is – Do not take everything a media house (howsoever reputed) says on face value, rather take it with a pinch of salt and do not fight with your close friends over opinions formed by reading the media. Because, I’m seeing a lot of close friends become the worst of the enemies of each other because both of them read the media a lot, trust it a lot and both of them read polarized media with probably polar opposite opinions.
For, when you’d be in trouble, it’s your close friends who are going to come to your help, not your favorite media house or your star reporter. So, do not take the media so seriously. They are just doing their job and that too pathetically.
So, while Donald Trump had clean bowled the media, let some other players play for a while.
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