Monday, March 1, 2010

Drowned out by opinions

So many columnists, so many opinions, so many viewpoints, so much of everything!! Yes, you are right when you are able to relate to it. I am trying to say that too much of anything is good for nothing. 

That the number of news papers, 24/7 news channels, columns and blogs have multiplied and are multiplying at an astonishing pace doesn't help if I need the truth. It is like being left with the feeling that the 'search for truth' is incomplete. Having too many opinion-makers or rather, people who think they are opinion-makers, is not exactly helpful when the unvarnished story needs to be told. In the name of opinions, sometimes I feel facts are twisted or selectively presented. This is not altogether different from being the front of powerful barons or lobbyists to advance their interests. 

I am not trying to say that all of these esteemed camera-savvy gentlemen and ladies can be painted with the same brush. It is just that moderation and restraint are compromised. When a 1000 word column should be written on some thugs vandalizing an office (just to take an example), it is presented with so much vehemence and flamboyance of prose that is precisely not warranted. 

This has two major effects - 

  1. The reader/viewer (for the print and the electronic media respectively) never gets the real degree of importance an event/incident should merit. 
  2. The players who act out (like the MNS and the Netas) get free marketing. Their causes, reasons and plans are broadcast to the nation. 
To read or not to read, to seek or not to seek, to be informed or ignorant - these are not easy choices anymore . Take climate change for example. If I read 10 columns by eminent experts on the subject, it is as good as having read nothing or close to nothing. This is a shame. 

Discretion on our side is needed to stay aware, alert and informed. This can be done by reading selectively and relying on time-tested sources. Diversity is not always good and a little knowledge in today's world is better than getting bogged down by too much. Try reading Jug Suraiya and VR Krishna Iyer on the same day or the editorial of THE HINDU and TOI for that matter. It is a recipe for craziness!  One important thing before I end this post - things are not always as simple as some columns reduce them to nor for that matter is truth a matter of black or white. The reality always lies somewhere in between.

5 comments:

V.Haricharan said...

Sometimes, most of these columns end up contradicting themselves. As an exercise, just try this, Read the first paragraph of a column and then read the last paragraph. 95% of the times, the author would end up saying the thing contrary to what he/she wants to say.
And one more thing that I find quite rampant these days, is that, there is no 'stuff'. The same words are being rephrased and rehashed.
I find this to be a totally unhealthy trend and seriously recommend doing away with such hilariously stupid columns.

$$ said...

Oh...!! Very very well said! Rather, intellectually put! :) :)

During "Only DD" days, it was so easy - we clearly knew what we were supposed to know! Unlike today, when they even announce as breaking news, "Kareena Kapoor didn't smile at Saif! Do we see their relationship breaking?!" Don't be surprised if you see an hour discussion on the same topic!

Shiva said...

@ Hari: "Sometimes, most of these columns end up contradicting themselves" and "And one more thing that I find quite rampant these days, is that, there is no 'stuff'. The same words are being rephrased and rehashed." - very aptly put. Totally agree!

@ Shalini: Thanks...
"Unlike today, when they even announce as breaking news, "Kareena Kapoor didn't smile at Saif! Do we see their relationship breaking?!" Don't be surprised if you see an hour discussion on the same topic!" - :) Some channels are doing it I think.

roguegene said...

There are some channels that have an hour long discussions on soaps. "Why munni left Aryan??" types and even those shows have multiple view points on them and sometimes they end contradicting each other.. The problem is too much information..increase in quantity and diversity (definitely makes an interesting read) but a steep decrease in quality and i guess the temporary solution for now would be to rely on time tested sources when you want the truth..

Shiva said...

@ roguegene: Yes, right, too much info with less quality.

Also, in all these television debates, one extreme is pitted against another.