‘Pappi’ to ‘Puppy’ and a ‘Slap’- Media fascinations and the Fading Issues
From ‘Pappi’ to ‘Puppy’, the Indian Media hasn’t progressed much really over the years and its fixation with the trivial remains as compulsive as ever. Remember Mikka –Rakhi Sawant ‘Pappi’ incident. An event so trivial that it shouldn’t have gone beyond the doorpost. Yet, it became Media sensation, generating raging headlines and hogging incalculable media time. Those other ill-fated developments which had the misfortune of occurrence while Mikka was demonstrating his macho prowess simply got drowned in the ‘Pappi’ clatter. Such is the fascination of our Media with the frivolous!
It has this uncanny ability of smelling out the inconsequential and transforming it into TRP sensations. The chilling fact that two women are raped in Delhi every hour could not merit media attention. After all the Media is so thoroughly convinced that a wayward ‘Pappi ’of a celebrity is worth more time than a thousand rapes in obscurity.
The old saying goes-‘There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.’ We have a Modi-fied Media version now-There’s even a ‘Slap’ between the ‘Pup’ and the lip.
Remember the Sreesanth Slap that became another Media sensation. The infamous Slap that Bhaji wielded on Sreesanth , which outgrew the fame of even the two celebrities. The way it hogged Media limelight, it briefly over-shadowed the gentleman’s game itself.
Yet when Aam Aadmi Party volunteers protested the horrific gang rape of a newly married woman in Delhi and when they were beaten to pulp and their bones smashed by the police, there was not even a whimper from the Media. This ghastly incident should have sent shock waves across the Media and aroused national ire and disgust.
A heartless cop threatening to pee to quench a fainting protester should have become a screaming human rights issue by any journalistic standards. The media pressure could have led to the cop’s sacking, sending a stern warning to potential law-breakers who wear uniform. The brutality so unleashed certainly deserved more attention than a heat-of-the moment slap.
The Media however thought otherwise. It had its well defined priorities. A worthless news of a slap with absolutely no redeeming social value overrides the news of glaring police atrocity that afflicts our society and puts our country to shame. Indeed, the Media really has its priorities where a slap has more significance than brutal multiple fractures.
And now comes the Puppy where the Media is again demonstrating its hollow credentials. Suddenly, the Puppy has overtaken the air waves. Little could the helpless mongrels that lay martyred on roadsides imagine what glory would be thrust upon them posthumously one day! Today they have star status. No, it’s more. Not even stars have drawn so much Media obsession. There seems to be an almost neurotic crush on the crushed puppies. There’s a competitive scramble among the Media for maximizing Puppy exposure. The Puppy is on multi-screens. No sooner did Modi let go the “Puppy” shot, he gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “let slip the dogs of war” .The ‘Puppy’ war had begun. The Congress vocal artillery was on full blast, the BJP’s defenders in matching roar as the poor Puppy lay riddled in the crossfire. While the secular brigade cried foul, for a community being outraged by a canine comparison, the so called communal outfit decried pseudo-secularist insensitivity to the pain and pathos in Modi’s heart. Another Media sensation was born. Cutting across channels, in its new found celebrity status, the Dead Puppy became the cynosure of Media attention being flogged perhaps even more than the proverbial dead horse. BUT——.But…. But, what happened to the bleeding national issues that were begging Media attention.!!!
During the Puppy debate on Centre-Stage when a visibly shocked Headlines Today anchor and Managing Editor Rahul Kanwal turned to Yogendra Yadav of Aam Aadmi Party with the question-‘Are the parties walking into a Modi trap, Yogendra almost turned the tide of the debate. Ever so composed, ever so humble and yet the ever so brilliant Yogendra corrected Rahul-It is we who are walking into the trap. He lucidly explained that as the elections come closer, such shallow and inconsequential issues will be raised to subvert the substantive issues that confront the nation. Explosive issues like gas hike by Reliance will be lost in the din of meaningless sound bites generated by the deceptive debates on Puppy type remarks.
Sensing the danger of the debate getting derailed from the Puppy lines, an astute Rahul Kanwal masterfully turned away from Yogendra Yadav and restored the discussion in the predetermined Puppy direction.
Needless to add, as long as the Puppy-type issues will occupy ‘Centre-Stage’, critical issues like entrenched corruption, crony capitalism, criminalization of politics and safety of women will keep fading away. How long shall we keep falling into such traps?