Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On hacks, once more

One thing I found out long ago about journalists (one of my reasons for quitting, besides poor pay, irregular hours and too much time wasted on the kind of people we call faltu in Bangla) is that though they make a living out of pointing out everybody's faults and weaknesses, they are by and large - even the pettiest cub reporter, not just high-and-mighty editors of international newspapers and TV channels - very houmourless and self-important people, precisely the sort who throw stones at others' glass houses all the time but get furious if a few pebbles are occasionally hurled at their own (so here's a link to the kind of jokes about them that everybody except they themselves should enjoy). You hear far more doctors and lawyers making fun of their own kind than you'd hear journalists (and, as I never tire of pointing out, anyone with the remotest connection with a media house flaunts the tag these days, even those who are no more than ad copywriters, subeditors or basically stringers who are allowed to cover nothing more substantial than models doing the catwalk). Just watch how self-righteously they scream when anyone says something sane about putting some reasonable restrictions on their sacred 'right' to pry, provoke, prevaricate, concoct, exaggerate and vilify: power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot through the ages, as a British statesman once famously said! Suggest that every Tom, Dick and Harry does not constantly need to be told disgusting and trivial home truths about high government officials and celebrities (where they buy their underwear, whether they religiously kiss their wives and kids good night every night), or that journalists themselves might have lots of skeletons in their cupboards, and they loudly predict the return of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.

But if you want to get them really angry, tell them they slaver for the kind of wealth, power and fame they are always criticizing, but they neither have the stomach nor the talent to make it on their own as tycoons and even doctors, lawyers, corporate managers and some teachers do, so they feed on scraps in the same fashion as lampreys cling to sharks. And this also I have noticed: those who frequently invoke the names of Daniel Pearl or P. Sainath to tell the world what a noble profession they are in rarely, if ever, choose to follow in the footsteps of those stalwarts. (P.S.: For those who don't know, Pearl wasn't even a hero by choice, he just happened to be abducted and murdered, and that, cruel as it sounds, did infinitely more for his reputation than any journalistic work he had ever done! It's quite like Stephen Hawking, who'd have been about as much of a pop-celebrity as Murray Gell Mann but for his debilitating handicap)

Abhirup sent two very interesting links in his comment on the post titled 'Journalistic ethics'. You might also try this and this before making up your own mind about whether this is the right career for you. 

1 comment:

Sayan Datta said...

Sir, I was just watching Aseem Trivedi's interview, and if I am not convinced otherwise soon enough, I will continue to think he is a complete psycho! It is these self-righteous fools who haven't the slightest idea of responsibility and very-very warped ideas of freedom of speech, who inflict the most serious of damages! Imagine how easy it will be for a Hitler to convert these creatures into his hordes! For all their sanctimonious, holier-than-thou balderdash, Nazi Germany many still become a reality. That thought makes me shudder. How true is the saying - little knowledge is a dangerous thing!?
Sorry if that wasn't relevant...but what you have said in your post was uncannily similar with what was going through my mind after listening to that interview.