I have never admired Barkha dutt. I found no reason to do so. I always see her as someone who has gorged on the self manufactured hype that she has attracted towards her. She went to Kargil and made sure that she along with India emerged as the sole winner. The focus I still remember shifted from the Bofors to her as she reported the war with dramatic effects that were meant to portray a picture of a woman who is risking her life to cover the war.
She made sure that the right visualizations were carried out to the viewers just like the way she did years later when she was reporting the Mumbai attack. She would cover her ears in articulated gestures as to show how near she actually was to the real shooting that was taking place. The intensely scared look on her face made sure that the viewers had to forcibly digest the fact that she was actually doing a very good job.
She did everything good, no pun intended. But when she tried to cash on it and tried to turn into a larger than life situation, she flunked. Exaggeration fetches and catches the ‘ooos’ and the ‘aahhs’ but modesty and humility makes sure that the real admiration stays forever.
And in the case of Barkha Dutt she has never stopped from making sure that the headline shifts from the news to the anchor.
The above justifications were long overdue as my friends would repeatedly ask that why I dislike Barkha Dutt.
And now when I am about to jump in the cauldron of angry noise that are being made after the recent telephonic conversation expose between her and a PR lobbyist , noises that call for a introspection about the way media works, I thought that this was the right moment to speak my mind out that why I dislike her way of reporting.
But in the present situation though hard I try , I am not able to point a finger and say “ See I told you- this lady is everything but a sincere journalist”.
As I read the transcripts of her conversation with the PR lady I couldn’t stop from asking myself what wrong has she done now?
People who have even slightly been exposed to media and politics will laugh in disbelief if you say a media-wallah should not act as a bridge between the various political leaders.
That doesn’t happen. It’s like saying that when you are taking bath your head shouldn’t get wet. That is not impossible, you can cover your head and wet yourself. But then that woudn’t be a proper way of bathing.
By the nature of the job media has to interact with everyone. Be it a Policewallah, a Tadipari or a Lobbyist. And when you are on regular talking terms with someone the sphere of your subject increases. And as is human nature favours are sought and offered.
Let’s just try to forget the whole Dutt issue for a while and try to paint this while scenario in black and white.
Assume that I am a journalist who like every other species of my kind has close contacts with political entities surrounding my professional work-sphere.And I may be more familiar and close with some than with the others. Say that I am friendly with a leader “Mr.X” . Now a situation arises where “Mr.Y “, another leader wants to have some political arrangement with Mr.X and he knows that Mr. X doesn’t trust him. So what he will do is that he will come to me and tell me to act as a bridge between him and Mr.X. And I oblige both of them in a my capacity of someone who is a friend and an acquaintance.
What wrong will I commit if I rang up a particular CM with whom I share a friendly relation and ask him if he is willing to take a particular MLA into the cabinet? and what sin I will be accused of if I ask or 'lobby' with the CM for inducting that MLA?
Simple and period.
So where did I go wrong? And what did I do wrong?
Now put Ms.Dutt in my place and decide where did she made a mistake? What are we making so much noise about? That one journalist and a public relation lady were talking about two leaders and were working on a political arrangement?
Critics would say that media should mind its business and it has no right of working as a bridge between political leaders and parties. My response would be “ Son – the utopian world that you are talking about never existed, not even in a book of fiction”.
It was a normal conversation that took place between a journalist and a PR person but since it was secretly recorded and then revealed in the public arena it came out bigger and larger than what it really was. Sensationalism prevailed over the real content and the intent. The adrenaline rush made the readers and the viewers compare it with the previous such expose' that we have looked at with much awe.
Media and politics have been fraternal twins or more aptly offspring from a same surrogate mother. No one can separate them or join the two. They have always been a “identically separate” entity.
They work in their own different realm, one which is borderless.
Instead of picking out issues of media ethics we should be more concerned with the string of corruption that is mushrooming around. And those who find the current expose as their much awaited chance to take on media they need to get a life.
And Ms.Dutt please for once try to shift the focus from what you say , how you say and why you say to the news and the discussion that’s taking place. Maybe now you have realized that you are not immune to criticism, fictional or real. You are not the only pillar of Indian media but one of the many bricks that have gone into making of that pillar.
And you did nothing wrong this time. Thankfully.