Are You A Slave To News?

Newspaper

Are you? Really? I know some people who have to tune into the news channel all the time, or rather stay tuned into the news channel. Nevermind if anything important is taking place or not, they still need the idiot box telling them the next big break is happening right now. Of course it’s highly debatable how much of such important and breaking news is really important or it’s just plain time wasted and that too lots of good time wasted. I have personally stopped reading the newspaper and also don’t tune into the news channel on the television and in fact watch very little of the television itself. I know a lot of you are wondering how can that be? Don’t you want to know what’s happening around the world and even around you? No I don’t, and yes I mean that really. Before you get me wrong please do hear me out. I read about a person who did not know that Saddam Hussein had died until two months had passed. Yes, the person really did not know that Saddam Hussein had been captured and executed until about two months had passed. Now the concerned person said that this news did not matter to him or even effect (or affect) him in anyway. He said knowing Saddam Hussein had died would not have given him anything or added anything to him and similarly not knowing Saddam Hussein had died did not take anything away from him or make him less in anyway. However, instead of being glued to the idiot box while all the news about Saddam Hussein was being aired, this person was instead spending his time in his chosen manner and doing what he wanted. That got me thinking. Very obviously I was following the “breaking news” on CNN or BBC or some other equivalent news channel when Saddam Hussein was captured and subsequently executed. I remember even more specifically spending a good part of 6 hours glued to BBC when Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. Now I will not go to the extent of saying it was time wasted (especially no offense to fans of Princess Diana since I’m myself one), but what I do mean to say here is that after the first hour everything else was redundant. All of the news channels kept airing the same content all over since there was nothing else or new to air. The same happened with Saddam Hussein too. Anyway this was a lesson learnt that I’ve learned to benefit from and put into good practice too.

Idiot Box

Just last week when I and the rest of the world mourned the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, all the news channels as expected went berserk. Yet honestly as everyone will say, even the most diehard fan of Michael Jackson (and yes I am one too) nothing worthwhile was shown after the first 30 minutes to an hour. After that it was just plain repetition of the same content being rehashed all over again. Even today you can turn on the news channel and you will still find the dead Michael Jackson hogging the headlines but with useless information about conspiracy theories, the coroner’s report, and what not. In truth none of this matters to any one of the millions of Michael Jackson fans, all we care about is his music and his dance and we are all sad that we will not have any more of that brilliant stuff from him. But to state the obvious, none of the news channels could care any less. For them news must be sold, even if it needs to be sensationalized or create mass hysteria among the masses, the news must roll on for otherwise all the news channels will be out of business. So many a time news is created in the absence of any real news taking place, even if it means feeding the masses garbage in the name of news.

George Bush Phone

Of course this time around I was prepared and very well aware of the facts. As it is I don’t read the newspapers and do not watch much of the television. When my sister-in-law called in from the United States to break the news that Michael Jackson was dead I turned on the television to watch the news for a while. After that I spent the remaining time watching VH1 and MTV with their tributes to Michael Jackson, all of the Michael Jackson videos being aired and his great music being played with an occasional interview. This was a much better way to spend watching the television and the news about Michael Jackson rather than waste time on the junk churned out by the news channels. Well I could go on and on, but I suppose you should get the message by now. Is the news really profiting you? Or can you put the same time to better use? The ball is in your court my friend and that’s a decision only you can make.

Rajiv Abraham

Ajith Edassery - 5 years ago

Interesting post Rajiv. In fact, sometimes I get really frustrated with the way Barkha Dutts and Arnab Goswamys go about doing their journalism. It's all about sensationalizing the news and Times channels (TV, news) are known for that kind of tabloid acts.

To be frank I really miss some of those great journalists from the past such as Nalini Singh. Nowadays, even Prannoy Roy is boring.

Off topic: Good to see that you have switched to WP Framework…Are you updating it by any chance right now? Because, I did not see the add new comment box for a while…now I could comment.

Rajiv Abraham - 5 years ago

Hi Ajith,

Sorry for the delay, but the flu bug got me too. Now I'm much better. I've been off TV for a long while now except for some big news or sporting action like the IPL, Wimbledon, etc. and I can say it's a much better investment on my time. I just get to do a lot more things and also useful things.

Coming to the change in theme I just wanted a change and wanted something very simple actually. Guess I was updating when the comments section did not show up. But honestly finding a new theme that works for you on all fronts is really tough. Probably soon I too will have a custom designer for my blog. That way someone will be there to implement what I want.

NFL jerseys - 3 years ago

haha. Im not slave to news. But reading newspaper is sometimes comes in handy to be updated. :)

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