[MJR] Famous Grouse: High-pitched hysteria on the box

01 Mar,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


Day after day, as I watch television news, I am in a state of constant frustration and rage – so many journalistic mistakes made day after day and not a sign that anyone is going to correct them. Wholesale editorializing by reporters, daft theories for every event conjured up by editors, complete lack of coordination between a reporter at a “live” event and the newsroom, high-pitched hysteria in TV studios at prime time when the debates and discussions happen. Heck, they can’t even get the grammar or the facts right on the little bit of text they put up on their screens.


Then, circumstances and real life conspired against me and I haven’t managed to watch much TV news this week. And shock and horror, it’s been traumatic. I have severe withdrawal symptoms. My melodrama gene has been severely denied and it is protesting.


My chief grouse in this first of a list of grouse is against newspapers. I propose that they start a TV section. Not a review – which so many of them do so well and I do enjoy reading Shailja Baipai and Poonam Saxena and Mihir Sharma’s columns for Indian Express when he was still there and Sevanti Ninan and all the rest of my esteemed colleagues whom I may have left out.


No, I’m talking about a page, at least, dedicated to the TV style. We can have wild accusations, absolutely no subbing of any copy, every impossible theory treated seriously, a studious attempt to avoid objectivity and a debate where two people who know the least about any subject are asked to write 500 words about it with no punctuation and plenty of highlighted words and CAPS SO THAT YOU KNOW WHEN THE CONTESTANTS (sorry participants) ARE SHOUTING.


Is there a print equivalent of interrupting? If so, stick that in the mix as well.


Aaaah, bliss!


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