Ken Auletta writes in Backstory:
I’m still a sucker for the romance of journalism, but I’m also a realist. My adult lifetime graduate course has taught me that my metier’s virtues, like those of the Greek heroes, often become its vices. Its very successes—illuminating the civil rights revolution, helping open America’s eyes to Vietnam or Nixon’s depredations or financial mismanagement—induced excess. Reporters wanted to be famous, rich, influential. As a media writer, I’ve reported on a new generation of windbags, of callow people who think they can become investigative reporters by adopting a belligerent pose without doing the hard digging, of bloviators so infatuated with their own voice they have forgotten how to listen, of news presidents who are slaves to ratings, and of editors terrified they may bore readers. As in any profession, some folks take shortcuts.
This is more true of America than of India. Here, where our journalism has always been mediocre, we have the vices without the virtues—only the flip side. And to see the levels we can sink to, consider this sentence from my friend Anand Vasu’s report of the hysteria following our ouster from the T21 World Cup:
On Monday, Dhoni’s effigy was burnt in his hometown Ranchi, but apparently it was ‘arranged’ by two channels.
In other words, the news itself was so appetizing that if it didn’t exist, it had to be invented. This is an extreme, but it is still representative of what our media is like. Isn’t it?