Anil Thakraney: The TV gas chamber

14 Dec,2011

By Anil Thakraney


It’s been a long time since I watched a TV debate. Because I found, much after a lot of torturous viewing, that it’s a huge waste of time. Might as well watch Bigg Boss 5. It’s far more interesting, at least the participants are fresh faces and they look glam too.


Here are some reasons why TV debates suck big time on our news channels.


1. The same dull and sleepy faces. The same spokespersons of various political parties hop from studio to studio each night. Each a big bore, and each clueless about his/her leader’s real agenda. And compelled to support any idiotic dictate from their bosses. If you are glued to your idiot box when people like Abhishek Singhvi, Chandan Mitra and that lady from BJP pontificate each evening, you badly need a life.


2. Because news channel editors and their assistants are too lazy to make an effort to discover new voices, we are stuck with the same ‘experts’ each evening. Suhel Seth, Shobhaa De, Prahlad Kakkar, etc, are now telling us how to decode every news item. From terrorism to FDI in retail to the Kingfisher mess to harassment of women. In such a vast nation, is it so difficult to find new voices? And more importantly, voices of people we can trust and respect?


3. The entire concept is fraudulent. Because the anchors deliberately pick people with extremely polarised views, the debate becomes an exchange of gas. Like a school boys’ discussion. No one ever concedes that the other guy may be making a valid point, even if he/she feels so. That admission will appear to be a sign of ‘surrender’ on a TV debate. So the participants keep yelping at one another rather than talking to one other. I particularly avoid watching debates on theBhopalgas tragedy. Because gassing levels shoot through the chimney on those days.


4. The anchors, who are supposed to be neutral, almost always throw in their two bits, thus adulterating the show by injecting their own agendas and biases into the discussion. This murders the concept of a debate, reducing it to a charade. I have often noticed that the much celebrated, award winning anchors lose their patience with guest speakers whose views they don’t approve of. You call this a debate? I call it nautanki.


Like I said, better spend the time watching a reality show. A porn star any day for me over a narcissistic, gassy TV anchor.




PS: Everyone is appreciating Mr and Mrs Aamir Khan for going public with their surrogate baby. There is even talk of making the couple spokespersons for surrogate parenthood. Well, methinks we are giving the couple too much importance out here.

Aamirbhai had NO option but to reveal the truth in the media. How else could he have explained the presence of a bachcha in the house, with missus having shown no signs of pregnancy? Trust some people to jump at making virtue out of necessity.


Anil Thakraney is a Mumbai-based columnist and commentator and is a former adman and editor. He is Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own.


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