You’ve seen the Headlines Today ‘blah’ ad, right? The one where they imitate other news channel shows with the people saying “blah blah…” ad inifinitum, implying that other ‘typical’ news channels of the day are doing nothing but blabbering on about nothing in particular, and then that Headlines Today is the refreshing channel which does not give you blah but substance?
Now can you tell me the number one blah news item of the season? Ofcourse it’s the mighty WWE warrior Khali! World’s envy India’s pride, if I may borrow the line from Onida.
So what was the self-proclaimed blah-free channel doing, showing us a story about how Khali gave some Indian gifts to his opponent The Big Show, had dancers doing Bhangra in the ring and all that jazz to become friends with his opponent, and then how The Big Show hit him instead of being friendly, and then how Khali fell down senseless after just one blow?
Now what was the poor white man supposed to do in a wrestling ring? Hug his opponent and call off the fight, because they have become best buddies?
But I’m digressing. The real question is, if you want your target audience to believe your claim that you are a non-blah channel, then why is a blah item featuring on your waves?
How does it go? “The King is dead, long live the King!”
Around a week back, the Pointy-Haired Dilbert aka Chandoo wrote a blog entry about the “must read” section of a famous Indian news channel’s website. That just corroborated the general sentiment prevalent among people who care about journalism and news and its present state in the country.
News channels have been serving us items about ‘ghosts’, supernatural ‘incidents’, television soaps news, page 3 type parties, kissing scandals, timeslots dedicated to comedy shows, while keeping journalistic professionalism at bay. A ghost story or a faith story is covered with sensationalism, but without any coverage on the rational angle as is done by any self-respecting news agency. Page 3 scandals are covered with juicy gossip intact. And half the time when you switch to these channels they are either discussing cricket with a has-been cricketer, or showing a comedy gig featuring one of the new crop of Indian stand-up comics.
And ofcourse the love affair of these news channels with India’s first family – no, I’m not talking about Mrs. Pratibha Patil & family – the famous Bachchan family of Allahabad to Juhu fame is there for all to see. But they took it too far today with this:
The “Breaking News” ticker reads: “Amitabh Bachchan ko thand lagi” (Amitabh Bachchan catches cold).