Have you ever wondered why pets-dressed-like-human contests and thousands-join-to-brush-in-public finds slot in headlines of our channels? And why people dying daily in countries like Iran or Africa news were not given much importance? Few months back, I was shocked to learn that media project mostly good news about developed countries. Even small happenings there are force fed to all of us. That’s why we watch the dog show happening in US/UK which doesn’t have any relevance or impact on us. What about under developed nations? Only the worst of worst news is projected and they don’t even receive the deserved attention.
So what makes news NEWS? You may find numerous answers to this question, but it can be mapped to single most powerful word - Impact! What’s the disaster? How many people died? How many affected? How much loss? The more the damage is, higher the Impact. Higher impact means more TRP. Why TRP is important? Because it’s what channels own and bid, to attract advertisers. When more people see the program, more demand happens from advertisers. More advertisement means more selling. That explains it, after all people are here to make money.
Media also makes sensational news out of nothing. Celebrities are always stalked by paparazzi. From every nail they cut to every step they take is open for everyone. Even if Obama hits a fly or an actress breaks up for nth time, it becomes the top most news. Forget about privacy, human values and social responsibility. It’s like the drug. Media teases, sensationalises such News until it becomes the topic of discussion for people. Employees discuss it in the pantry, students at the lunch hall and housewives in social gatherings. It becomes the vicious cycle. Media claims more TRP.
Today Media decides what we should and shouldn’t watch. The Media people decide the News to tell, how much of it to tell and in which angle to tell. Like this isn’t enough they find new ways of improving the TRP through reality shows. These shows, be it finding the best singer or the most truthful man, feeds either on ignorance, privacy, emotions and our basic moral values. The same values we learnt as kids, were put to better use (making money to say) by most intelligent and creative brains in Media.
So who gives them the vitamin M? “This program brought to you by” who? Isn’t our favourite drink, shirt and shoe company that sponsors it? After the Second World War, the American economy needed stimulating. The government and corporations decided to make consumption the priority. Victor LeBeau said and I quote: “Our enormously productive economy… demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption… We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate”. And After 9/11, President Bush told Americans to shop!
That's our priority for 21st century. It has got nothing to do with agriculture, conservation, education or finding medicines for killer diseases. It’s shopping! In a movie named "untraceable" the psycho character conducts violent and painful murders LIVE on the net. The more people who log on to the website, the quicker the victim die. We are living this story real. We are paying to watch our own shit and miseries. We shop for our own intellectual cannibalism!