…but does that mean I must not express my views, criticize the media or cry foul over its dirty games? If we were to go by what Mr. Vir Sanghvi, Editorial Director of Hindustan Times says, I am one of those “pseudonymous bloggers”, who sits in a darkened room in my ivory tower and disses all that the mainstream media does and says. He says I am part of a “blogging elite”. Well, let’s not discuss either the “pseudonymous” or the “elite” bit, but I certainly am a blogger. Even assuming I sit in a darkened room in my ivory tower and criticize, what’s wrong with that? Don’t you have armchair critics all over the world? Before I go on, check out these brilliant rebuttals by Amit Varma, Rohit, Patrix and Lekhni. Each of them has fisked, very effectively, Sanghvi’s pointless and rather incoherent rant against bloggers and tweeters. Oh yeah! Forgot to mention here that he’s done this in the form of a blogpost rather than on a column in his newspaper!!
In dissing bloggers and tweeters and categorizing them all as elitist and out of touch with reality, Sanghvi conveniently sidesteps one major issue. What exactly is the role of the traditional media? Playing to the galleries and ensuring maximum TRPs? He painstakingly explains how TRPs and circulation are calculated and says programmes with maximum TRPs on television are the ones having maximum viewership. Right! I agree. But since when did the media start pandering to the will of the majority? Isn’t it the very same media that dissects election results and criticizes the decision of the majority? And even assuming that the traditional media reflects the sentiments of the majority, is that its real role? I thought the role of the media was to shape public opinion. Oh! I beg your pardon! I never realized that somewhere along the way, news channels became entertainment channels and newspapers tabloids a long time ago.
No Mr. Sanghvi. In criticizing the traditional media, I do not, as Lekhni so rightly puts it, claim to represent anyone but myself. Anything I say in my blog, is my opinion. Others are free to agree or disagree with what I have to say. I run this blog, I pay for it and I maintain it. Unlike HT or other major newspapers, I do not claim to be the most popular, the most intelligent or the most widely-read blogger in history. I leave calculating TRPs and readership to the likes of Mr. Sanghvi. I have better things to do with my life, especially since my livelihood doesn’t depend on how many people read my blog.
Finally, in the unlikely event that you are reading this, Mr. Sanghvi, let me tell you this. I care a damn about octogenarian N D Tiwari’s sex life. Nor do I care about Mika kissing Rakhi Sawant or wild speculations about Arushi Talwar’s murder. I am concerned even less about whether Michael Douglas uses Viagra (yes…it figures on HT’s homepage today!). If your newspaper can give me real news, it’s fine. Otherwise, there’s always Google News! Clean up your stables before dissing us Mr. Sanghvi. That’s all I ask!