Now that everyone has an opinion on what happened in Mumbai and how it could have been prevented and so on and so forth it would be instructive to look at the way the whole crisis was handled by the media, which incidentally is most opinionated of them.
I am afraid it is not helping people in making in any informed and considered opinions. That require calmness and equanimity that it doesn’t have and neither does it afford. In fact, the kind of media we have earned for ourselves, feeds on frenzy and passion, which at best of times, is misplaced.
The sheer magnitude of the event that struck us put all that in sharp relief again. Scurrying for information media had nothing but bits and pieces to form their stories. This can only be slightly better than a cooked up thing but what was served to us in these four-five days was a quite a dish.
The terror strike had people afraid, initially and as soon as they were assured that security forces were in place it gave way to anger. The way whole events unfolded anger became the leitmotif.
It is the job of the media to report all that is happening around them. So if it was anger out in the streets it was anger on the screen.
But to see anchors, editors, reporters and guests on TV was a shock. Now I am not easily shocked but I was to listen to Simi Grewal on ‘We the People’ with Barkha Dutt on NDTV. Overwhelmed by the response from the frenzied crowd in the programme, she went on to spout a thinly veiled suggestion to attack Pakistan.
It was sad to see the TV discussion, in which she was supposed to be one of the main speakers (what an expert to have on discussion on any sensible subject!). Is this the way we are going to respond to the grave crisis that we are facing. And this is the set of people who like to describe themselves as “educated”.
It would have been interesting if it was not this insensitive to see what she looks down upon from upper storey of some hotel. The slums below have Pakistani flags, she told the audience.
Now I would have lost all hope if a young man had not shot up and told her if she thinks Pakistan is our enemy then she is the real enemy.
Thank you very much young man for helping me retain some faith that sanity may prevail after all.