The number of news channels crowding the Indian television space is astronomical. But, watching them is pure Hobson’s choice.
A few years ago, the first thing I did on waking up was to switch on the telly and flick it to this decent English news channel to get an update of what’s happening around me. Sadly, the aforesaid news channel has now joined the crowd and become a purveyor of a potpourri of Breaking News, more Breaking News and of course, Breaking News.
Then someone cleverly thought of the idea of putting up the 10 Top Stories of the Day.
Now, in principle it was a sound idea. An easy way to get up-to-date with the news quickly.
But wait a minute. The Number Two on the news list says – “Virat Kohli’s fitting reply to Virendra Sehwag”. Period.
Yes I am waiting. That’s it. Nothing more? What did Kohli say? What was it in relation to? Was it a rejoinder or a statement of praise or what?
Nothing, no explanation. Just the sort of stuff which would make Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot pass on to the other side while exercising their grey cells. This is not an isolated incident. It happens day in and day out. The guys who write the stuff have this sadistic art of leaving things for you to figure out.
And sometimes the English or any other language is so poor that it turns out to be a double whammy. The tale of the ticker roughly follows those guidelines too.
Breaking News: “Finance minister says AAP statement is malicious” It repeats and repeats and repeats…
Okay, I get it. Sometime over the next 30 minutes, the full details will be revealed when the focus shifts to that item.
That, is provided, there are no more Breaking News happening. But don’t be surprised if there is more Breaking News coming your way by the “minute on the minute’.
Undoubted, the Breaking News bonanza is the order of the day every day. It is their mantra.
Breaking News could be anything – politics, murders, rapes, mobile phones, actors promoting movies and the merits of cow urine among others.
And if you haven’t had your thrills in the morning, there is a newly-launched channel which has a circus ringmaster in charge. His deft jumping up and down his chair as he blasts everything and anything under the sun in the garb of nationalism is pure entertainment and educational if you so believe.
It doesn’t end there. The Sports News is another segment where the mystery deepens. You have these news readers whose knowledge of the game is restricted to “He played well or as may be the case, he played badly,” followed up with a load of nonsensical statistics which wouldn’t interest a crow.
Nicknames of players are bandied all the time, as if the news reader was his bosom friend.
The occasional experts provide the only genuine sports stuff but the questions they are asked would make them cringe in disgust.
And less said about the weather update, the better. It’s not hot news by any means.
Believe me, this happens day in and day out on all the news channels. Breaking news…Bah!
I have decided that before breaking the TV set, it would be a better idea to start the day with some calming music before entering into the Mystery of the Missing News Link.