Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. Even the best of experts make mistakes. It’s just that some mistakes can be honest and not be so harmful and some are deliberate and fraudulent. Some mistakes can be hilarious and some can be very damaging or offensive to others. Watch this video (1.42 mins) from BBC 24Hours where the anchor interviews Guy Kewney an IT expert over the Apple (Beatles Music Co.) V Apple Computers case. (Do watch the video before you proceed further):
Guy answered all the questions the anchor raised without batting an eyelid. The ‘Guy’ in the video is remarkable for his composure considering he wasn’t the ‘Guy’ the BBC wanted. The real Guy Kewney is the one in the pic on the left. The Guy that the anchor interviewed was a taxi-driver who was hanging around in the BBC reception area waiting for an interview for a job at the station. His name is Guy Goma who became more famous after the goof-up. What is hilarious is that Goma not only carried himself brilliantly during the interview but even as a taxi-driver he gave some very convincing answers. That tells you how even ordinary folks are up to speed on issues. But that doesn’t say much for the BBC or the anchor does it? Poor lady didn’t even know what Guy Kewney looked like. Considering Kewney was an IT journalist till his death in 2010 one would have expected an anchor to know about or at least have seen a pic of Kewney. That’s the ‘expertise’ and ‘general knowledge’ of anchors. The best part? The anchor thought she had an “expert” as her guest, while Goma thought this was an interview for the job he was seeking.
In Goma’s case all ended well and everybody had a good laugh and no one suffered any damage. Life would be boring without such genuinely honest mistakes. But what about the viciously deliberate frauds that TV channels perpetrate on viewers? Take a look at the pics below:
These are screen shots of a semi-porn video aired by TV9 and SuvarnaTV in Karnataka. These channels and others never stop lecturing people about vulgar displays by and of women and porn and so on. Yet such cheap titillation is passed off as news item. There can hardly be any doubt that the material is offensive and in poor taste. What does one do with such airings? The man who sent these images (@Surnell) protested to the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) with an email attaching these pics. The BCCC then directed him to address the complaint to News Broadcasters’ Association since these were “news channels”. Yeah… that’s the NBA which I often refer to as the Union of Snakes. By the time @Surnell gets anywhere with his complaints he will find the NBA is like any other govt body.
Let’s talk about Anderson Cooper of CNN. Cooper rose to prominence for his reporting from conflict zones as a freelancer. Today, he is the superstar of CNN and probably a superstar among TV anchors in the US. Cooper’s rise in CNN was quite quick and his most promoted show is AC360. Still, despite being a famous studio anchor every time there’s a natural calamity or disaster, Cooper returns to report from the ground. He has mostly been in all hurricanes, tornadoes and floods as the following images would tell you:
Our big media celebs are too lazy to get their asses off their studio seats and get to the ground. For 3 days when the Uttarakhand flood was causing damage they were in their studios gossiping on the BJP-JDU break-up endlessly and beyond reasonable limits. Yes, for 3 days – June 15, 16, 17 – celebrities like Rajdeep, Arnab, Barkha, Sagarika, Kanwal and their siblings in other news channels didn’t have time for Uttarakhand. When they finally found time they sent some junior reporters to cover the tragedy. CNN-IBN sent Priyali Sur to one spot just to show they were “on ground zero” before they could send others to cover the severe damage caused by the floods. In such a situation there isn’t any doubt that reporting isn’t easy and no reporter should be put in harm’s way. But in the absence of visuals some channels just resorted to fraudulent reporting. Take a look at this image flashed by NDTV on June 18 (Via @unurag):
NDTV just picked up a video from Youtube from June 2010 and used it to report the Uttarakhand floods of June 2013. They were just 3 years late it seems. I have mentioned in the past the fall of TV journalism owes a great debt to NDTV and its “alleged” journalists. Twisting news, unverifiable sources for headlines, spin-doctoring – you name it, NDTV has got it. But this kind of bogus videos/images being used is an outright fraud on the viewers. One person actually tweeted me that he wanted to sue NDTV because he was alarmed by the image. As far as I know NDTV hasn’t even apologised for this serious lapse. They probably had a good laugh at having fooled the people for a while. Well, NDTV isn’t alone! Here’s another one from a lazy news channel called ABPNews (Formerly StarNews, the fountain that spawned Prannoy Roy, Barkha, Rajdeep and Arnab):
The ABP folks picked up a video of a bus falling off a cliff in Bolivia (Via @_SiddharthRao). Bolivia? The only thing I know about Bolivia is it’s the country which shot dead Che Guevara. ABP must have thought nobody would think of Bolivia to detect their fraud. That’s not all! The fraudsters even scroll their logo across the video to show it was some “exclusive” stuff they were providing the viewers. How clever! Both NDTV and ABP doesn’t seem to learn that Social Media is a watchdog over them and they can’t get away with such frauds anymore.
How sick can these channels get? Even in a time of tragedy they resort to gimmickry and fraud in their rush to cover up their failures of not having original shots of the flood fury in Uttarakhand. They want to bedazzle you with BS! The Twitter friend who was alarmed and annoyed at these bogus pics really wanted to sue these channels. There are air-passengers associations, rail-passengers associations so maybe it’s time for a ‘news-viewers’ association that will indeed take on these news channels for bogus news and images. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be sued and penalised for their floody frauds.