Thursday, January 12, 2017

Relevance of the self image and public image of the men who run Democratic Establishments

What this post try to deliberate is Media's role in creating self-image, as well as the public image of the democratic leaders who run the present day establishments.

We all who seek an equalitarian, progressive and modern society, wish that Democracy remains a peoples' governmental system in every respect. Leaders we elect and send to parliament should not act like old time Kings and his likes. They should not be given any hint that they are the 'rulers', and people are the old 'subject' material during kingdoms. But judging from the trend all over the world, we the people and our popular institutions, especially Media, consciously or otherwise, give these leaders an impression that, they are the same material those old kings were made of!  People and institutions do not mind them enjoying the glory, power, and privileges their predecessors had once enjoyed. This passivity from the side of the people and the institutions take away their reluctance to act like the old RULERS in every respect.

It is common knowledge, that one's self-image is determined and groomed by the factor of how others treat him and behave with him.

For example, if a wife, irrespective how educated she is, start a trend of touching the feet of her husband every morning, following such old Indian tradition, the most progressive-minded husbands also might fall for such images inflicted upon him and will try to mold himself to the image in her mind. This might gradually erode their modern day trend of husbands and wives remaining equal, and best friends like in their relations. In such cases, marriage as a working contract between two equal individuals, like that between two close friends, will lose its charm forever. It does not mean such relations where the wife treats her husband as semi-god will fail, but it is a different case.

About our elected democratic leaders too, the same example might be sufficient to explain the effect. In democracy, though it is not written in any constitution, the implied value, or the self-evident value ( as 'inalienable rights of man was 'self-evident' to the American founding fathers) is amply clear. Without such values in place, democracy will be another 'rule' by the RULERS. Elected representatives of people should not ever wear the mantle of the 'Rulers' under any circumstance!

They no longer will remain representatives chosen for managing the issues of people's collective living, a modern, progressive and sensible working arrangement! We all know, that our existing democratic model all over the world grossly suffer from the malady of people treating their leaders with adulation, awe, fear and even devotion! It has eroded fundamental values of democracy all over the world, wherein men and groups fight each other to capture those coveted seats of old time Rulers! 

Who is more responsible for the above vital image creation?

In the above example of devoted wife and husband, we found that, even if the husband wanted to be in a modern, close friends like equal relation with his wife, if she keeps a different image about the relation, he also will be forced to fall- in for the image in her mind, though, might be after some persuasion and coercion to mend the ways of the wife.

Here in the case of Democracy, those who deal maximum with our political leaders are our so called 'peoples' voice' holders, the Media. What they represent is also not any other right, but that of citizens' 'right of free speech'. There is no separate law in any country that gives media any special role in society other than the 'right to free speech of the citizens'.

This writer clearly remembers an interview the India's top Tv anchor Arnab Goswami of Times now TV once had with the former Chief minister of the India southern State of Tamil Nadu, the iron lady, Jayalalitha; Arnab was a media sensation, notorious for his roaring like a lion on TV screen,.His debates are famous for his evening time TV debates on every popular news item. During the said interview, hiding his usual roaring manner, he changed his tone into sheepish with the Tamil Nadu strong lady! He exhibited this sudden change of tone and body language whenever he interviewed men and women of Power.

Our media men keep a very weird attitude towards political leaders, the public, country and the world;instead of keeping their self -image as 'representatives of whatever is most modern about human equality, distinct rights and dignity of human beings (citizens of nations) peoples undisputed role as the ultimate owners of every modern democratic nation, they reduce themselves into the role of 'passive' reporters and story tellers about the goings in the world,without passing any clear judgment.

This very serious self-image difference was what encouraged and emboldened our elected representatives, instead of remaining in the simple job of efficient government running, stepping into that of professional 'ruler' class. Our media men follow these leaders everywhere they go, for recording and reporting everything they utter. This very unhealthy tendency taught our political leaders the dirty habit of NOT expressing their genuine mind, but what is 'politically right' at every occasion. They turned smart enough to realize the sense of importance these media guys feel in allowing access to their power centers and persona. They clearly realize, that these media men before them do not represent Peoples' sense of RIGHTS, or their right to have information or their due role of participation in the democratic process. They clearly know that media men are before them to devour NEWS, the staple food of their peculiar 'trade'!

These leaders clearly realize, media men before them are keen to have their photos from every angle, and the value these professional men gain and enjoy by having them. So, without any doubt, like the devoted wife in our above example, these men of Media are primarily responsible for transforming the otherwise a straight people's form of govt, with no frills attached, into a straight power-oriented governmental system, similar or more dangerous than any such system man ever had in the past. In our past authoritarian governmental system, people or the 'subjects' knew who their masters were, but here in the thoroughly degenerated democratic system, no one knows, by prostrating themselves before whom, their rights and freedom world be safe!

Modern govts have cleverly tamed the institution of Media into submission, drawing unwritten clauses and norms about their role in the 'manufacturing consent' among people. Please see its story at:

This role shift of media is a serious subject, the best minds in the industry should sincerely 

Putting it simply, media should return to her originating time role as People's Voice. They must strictly represent whatever is most progressive, most modern and most open about the centrality of people in the democratic system. They must learn the importance of looking straight in the eyes of our political representatives and interact with them as their MASTERS, not servants and meek reporters of stories! When Media start representing people in every respect in democracy, it will regain democracy's People centrism soon. People would be elevated from their present degenerated role as 'people material' for the primary entity, the state.

Then, even the top judiciary in the country, the Supreme Court, will start recognizing that, more than the so called 'Executive' organ of govt, citizen, and the spirit ( the overall ideological direction of constitution) of constitution their collective had created, should be treated as primary; hope it would be appropriate here to refer to a very recent decision of Indian Supreme court, wherein she rejected a Public Interest Petition,(PIL) seeking  to include donations to political parties also under income tax net.

Supreme court, in her order rejecting the petition, said, that the decision of the 'Executive',( the council of ministers) when it does not violate any provision of the constitution, should be respected! There may not be any word to word violation of constitutional provisions is this decision of the Executive, rejecting donations to Political parties from levying income tax, but the fact that, such donations will certainly violate the unwritten 'spirit' of the constitution was ignored by the highest court! ( Refer Hindustan Times (PTI) report appeared on page 13 of its Jan 12th edition)

If Media had vigorously stood with the rights, liberty, and centrality of citizens in her daily picturing of the world, the top court wouldn;t have gained the wrong impression, that the Executive wing of parliament has more rights than the people themselves. Donation to political parties primarily by the industry is the root cause of Neo-liberalism, the modern phenomenon of industry and State turning partners in Ruling today's nations, for the sake of the one and only known model of country 'development'!
All the Journalism schools in the world must jointly discuss and reassert their role in democracy, whether it is Industry owned and run or not. Here, the role of industry is also centrally involved, as most of the media outlets in the world are owned by them. What is the harm in upholding people's centrality in the modern governmental system? It will free the world from the evil of Neo-liberalism, the evil of industry turning as instruments in the hands of govts, for the profit of both the entities. Now these entities blackmail each other, to the utter disadvantage of the world. Ever increasing crimes, terrorism, war threat etc. originates from our govts' playing wrong roles in society, thus orphaning mankind and people. 

If media wake-up and achieve the above a paradigm shift about their role and self-image, the world would be saved, and also the future of mankind. Her tendency now to hide behind her self-adopted role such as 'messengers', 'reporters' etc is a kind of escapism from her grave responsibilities. She should be there in every democracy, as her 'defender'. She should not adopt a safe role for herself in the great system, one similar to that of the 'brothers' of the first 'ousted' primeval son' from his 'papa's safe haven', as depicted in the following imaginary story on the advent of the 'first ever' establishment in history:

Authored by: Abraham J. Palakudy
He is an ardent seeker and researcher in areas like Mind&Reason, general philosophy, Spirituality and Polity
e-mail :
Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1

His profile and other blog-posts:
( image; courtesy Digital Trends
the history of social networking media, Source; Google free images)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Objective reporting of news by Media: Content relevance to people

( This paper was attempted per advice of a top Journalism School at Chennai, South of India, after this author shared some of his ideas about Media-reform to them. But, after sending this paper to them, they stopped communicating with him !)

Every one may not be aware how difficult a task it would be at this late stage, to look into the content, or other relevance of JOURNALISTIC NEWS REPORTING to people, or to the world at large, or to the human civilization itself. The institution of Media has grown into such gigantic proportions in the world, and to peoples lives, that it would be like debating on the relevance of other similar conventions, or institutions like, say, marriage !  

Media act, or to be more specific, reporting of news, can not be treated as any other genus of human activity other than as a human convention. It certainly had originated to cater to some need of man at some stage in the history.

Modern society abandoned many old  conventions like Sati, ( a tradition of wives jumping into the funeral pyre of their husbands in India ) and child marriage, when its ideological fundamentals clashed with man’s improved sense of Reason. Human society classified the genera of such conventions into that of ‘evil practice’ before legally banning it. 

There are certain similar conventions like prostitution, or say alcoholism that modern society is in constant dilemma as to whether legally ban it  or not ! Society’s sense of Reason could not yet find any rational ground to abandon these practices permanently like they had banned Sati, or child marriage.

But there are certain conventions like ‘education’, or ‘medicinal practice’ that society had constantly revised on the fundamentals from time to time, and kept it as alive as possible, in line with the dictum of man’s Reason. The purpose of this part of the discussion is to see why news reporting also couldn’t follow the example of the conventions of ‘education’, or medical science. They also had got converted into pure institutions of business long time back. Media also has developed, but the development could not touch its fundamental motivational spirit a bit. Development was confined to its technical aspects, like printing, distribution and communication heights. Its reach into peoples lives also has heightened to never before levels !

The motivational spirit behind the birth of news reporting ?

It is still unclear to modern society, what was the motivational spirit of the early stage media men. There are many accounts and stories about how and why the profession emerged. Such stories might be very familiar to every media student. But one thing seems to be clear, that unlike the convention of education, reporting of news was not purely for the purpose of sharing knowledge. News catered exclusively to the inborn ‘story’ need of every human being, and news was nothing but a story in every respect. It was an irresistible emotional need of manpossibly linked to the special features of his mind organ. Mind, in its surface meaning, it is the means of Ego to build its realities from external sources. Like birds building nests, Ego builds its entity mostly from the inputs of mind. 

Whatever may be the story of motivation at its inception stage, without doubt, the profession certainly shifted to the genus of ‘business’ soon after. News become means to cater to the emotional need of stories for man, and on this vehicle, the printer- publisher catered to the need of the other genus of his customers -the business class- who was in need of publicity for their merchandise.

Was ‘content’ ever a matter of relevance ?

As reporting of news was only a vehicle for the printer-publisher from the beginning to this day, more than the content relevance, the ‘story appeal’ factor was more relevant than the content for him, and for his trade. It is not a different  fact even today too- - -the ‘news worthiness’ is nothing but the degree of its ‘appeal’ to the old story need of man. Content was selected based on its ‘appeal’ value for the senses of readers or viewers

Hence, there was no logical or moral motivational factor in the convention of news reporting, to compel the media men to be selective about the content aspect of their themes in the past, or even today. The appeal factor always determined the content

For similar other conventions, say, education field, they had compulsions of compliance with very old traditions and mythologies around teacher-disciple relations to guide their growth. In the medicinal sector, there was the oath of Hippocrates etc. to act as a strong moral bind. But media had none of such traditional or mythological forces to bind them, except the examples of few outstanding media men who set certain examples for others to follow. This may probably be one of the reasons why there was no attempt for a total review of the spirit, or motivational energy in the news reporting profession ever. Its directive spirits remained on the strength of the old convention alone, without much relevance to the content relevance to people.

Another reason for higher level of growth in other similar sectors like education  might be the need of the mother sector of industry, for experts in fields like engineering and management, to fill the need for work force in factories and offices. Whereas in the news reporting sector, it benefited them the way it was, with its priorities on the ‘news appeal’ factor alone ! Like political states always prefer a police force less educated and intellectually submissive to the state, industry preferred the news reporting industry to remain on the old, well worked, ‘convention’ level itself.

Hence, we may have to believe that the news reporting industry did not attempt any research on the ‘relevance to people aspect’ of their profession in any manner.

The unique ‘image building’ and ‘visibility making’ capability of the new (electronic) media has greatly improved the magic attraction of the institution in the minds of public, as well as its new custodians, the political leaders. Hence the ‘content’ aspect was naturally adjusted to suit its new reach and grandeur. What was the need to shift to people oriented, or civilization oriented content, when something without any relevance on content had worked very well for the industry ?

The old 'convention' of news reporting has, thus, developed into the ‘institution’ of new media of today, as a convenient weapon for political parties, as well as industry, to improve their own institutions to greater heights. Once a convention has turned into an institution of a sort, its logicality becomes out of any relevance. Its benefits to the stake holders become the sole criterion to judge the relevance (to them).

A very similar story can be seen behind the development of the institution of Democracy too, though unlike in the ‘news reporting profession’, the fundamentals of it were pious and noble. When it became a convenient means for the professional political class to access the throne of governments, pious fundamentals were ignored , or discarded, and democracy has turned highly institutionalized today, beyond the reach of any introspection, or genuine research into the lost fundamentals. Its beneficiaries will never want any such probing. Media was the only accredited agency in the world to undertake such tasks in their ‘assigned’ (by whom ?) role as ‘watch-dogs’ in democracy, but the game is unfortunately run in close partnership between both the parties today.
What is unique about media that separate it from all other human institutions ?

Hope we have delved enough into the reasons as to why mere lack of ‘content relevance’ is not the sole issue with media act. We have seen that ‘content’ was never required to be relevant for people in the institution, as the motivational spirit had nothing to do with the content, but only with its ‘appeal to people’ factor.

This does not mean here that ‘content’ factor in news reporting is always irrelevant for people. It has the most life defining effect on people, but the meaning here is that media never had to bother for its relevance to people because of their over relevance on the ‘appeal’ and ‘news worthiness’ factor.

But can we ignore these lapses, like we were forced to ignored the twists in the spirit of Democracy ?  No. Because, unlike the political institution of Democracy, Media act is, life and mind defining for the people of an age, as narrated below: 

1) Creator of world institutions and myths :It is the one institution that can help to create other social institutions, and even common myths for societies, because of their special image building role. What is ‘expressed’ would only counted as reality. Media is the sole institution with the exclusive function of EXPRESSING THE WORLD. Hence, it creates the very face, and the very reality of the world, whether they accept it or not. 

Like a giant black-board fitted on top of the world, people infer their truths and non-truths from the edicts written over there by media every day !

While politics carry a routine negative image in the society, media carry the most noble image in the minds of people, as just mentioned above. People feel that, Media will represent, and stand for, what people want in the community. Media is there to represent their voice, their sense of Reason and Justice ! This SLOT has great centrality in a democratic society. But when media keep their highly dogmatic professional vows of reporting the goings in the world without taking any ideological judgement, above referred CONFIDENCE of people naturally stands misplaced ! Peoples' belief that media will direct the world into sensible and rational directions is totally misplaced, because, their professional vows are against offering any direction to the world. Their act is like lighting a torch at world events; NOT at all events, but only upon such events and people, that they think are relevant. Here, the subjective world view of Media as a community play a big-role in making this choice. This 'subjective' choice factor is the most crucial-point that defines world's color and her general picture !

People will see only such a world,where their light of the torch falls. This discretion of the media, as to where all the torch to be directed, and what all events and people to be brought to the mainstream attention, is the most crucial deciding factor of the media role.

The myth of media objectivity falls apart at this point - -above discretion of media, a very subjective choice, makes the whole difference of  what kind of a world picture people ultimately get from their act of reporting !  

Hence, there appears to be a wide gap between what media believe their role in the society is, and what impact their act create in peoples mind in reality. While the rule book of journalism stands only to report the world like an impassioned spectator, people falsely hope that Media is there to offer them rational directions, and intellectual enlightenment !

2) The creator of the 'self' of man: Media also has a very special role in defining the very EGO entity of individuals - -under close observation of this process of self-making, one can notice that, world acts like a canvas for individual to draw his self-image from. It is like a canvas which is essential  for a picture to exist.  It is like ‘space’ that is essential for a physical object to exist. 

Ego is a notional, subjective entity, hence it needs a notional space to exist. Hence, individual first create his notional image of a world, and place himself at an appropriate location in it.  This is the way the usual ‘I’ factor for majority of men is created.  Media is the exclusive creator of this notional world ‘space’ for today’s men to define themselves. It creates ‘selves’, by virtue of the ‘belongingness’ factor. ( those interested to have more details on this phenomenon of reality making may visit our blog site: One's entity is defined by what, and where he belongs to. Thus the quality of the world naturally goes into making the quality of the lives of the individuals belong to such worlds. 

Besides acting as the ‘canvas’ for egos to create and define selves, this world product also act as the collective ‘other’, against whom the individual reacts to.  One’s personality, basically is one’s defense mechanism against his immediate environment. This general environment image is provided by the media, as the personified 'collective other'. Hence, whatever the world image media projects, men’s personalities tend to evolve around it.  Such world becomes his immediate reality against what he should equip himself to react,and then respond to.  This is one of the latest factor in 'human-collective', wherein serious studies and research is called for. This author's study is shared herewith, which is at link: 

While this phenomenon push someone to be active players and members in such synthetic worlds, it pushes some others into isolation, and alienation. They fail to create belongingness the popular world around them. Their personal values and the values of the collective world clashes. They feel inadequate for the world around them.

Yet some others are pushed to its dark corners, as its custodians ad agents - -they make best use of its impersonal spirit, and internalize its  wilderness aspect. For them, world is forest of a sort. While most men walk ‘lost’ in its wilderness, these smart ones feel at home there ! They form the lumpen, and the underworld elements in the modern world !

3) The category of ‘impersonal’ : This world men ( as described above) soon ceases to be ‘individuals’ in its traditional meaning. He has no 'inners', and its associated rational spirit. The pattern of the world becomes his source to evolve his 'logic'  from . He adapts to the practicality of survival in such worlds. It is a dangerous trend. This trend achieves just the opposite of what the civil society,and the very civilizational process had intended to be, by the introduction of peoples own political system of democracy. Democracy had intended to create the atmosphere for citizens to become self-respecting, dignified individuals.

4) The spirit is the deciding factor: The ‘content’ of the reported news has nothing much to do with the above described turn out, and calamity of the modern world. It is all about the general world view of the news reporter, and his spirit behind his act that makes the difference ! It is the spirit, or the motivation of the one who dealt with you affects your relation, than the actual content of what he has said. It was Kafka or Albert Camu who said, words are used in today’s world more to conceal the truth than to reveal it. The language media uses serves the purpose of concealing truth than its revelation ! It is mostly a reported world of indirect information. News reporter as a person with ‘live’ Reason is absent in the act.

Hence, it is the spirit, or the values that the media represent that affect and influence the world, and peoples mind, than the content of their news reports. As seen in the above paragraphs, media  have no clear people friendly, or civilization friendly spirit or value to represent in the world.

5 ) The passive educator : It is from the media that present generation learn actual facts of life, as against the book knowledge they had learned from schools and colleges. Real world is what is depicted in the media ! Even cinema gives only fictional stuff.

In a recent survey conducted by a leading news paper  about the likes, ideology and political leanings of today’s youth, it was found that though they are mostly family oriented,( keep parents as their role model) majority were found keeping rightist ideologies. Almost 90% found to be religious too. Most of them were found disinterested in active politics. Director of a leading news channel wrote an article in a leading news paper recently commenting on this finding, that the survey is pointing towards a grim future for the world. She said the chances of rebels and dissidents, a must for a healthy society, evolving from these lot is difficult. The chances of great scientists, or literary figures or even daring entrepreneurs emerging among them also would be doubtful !Because youths are indifferent to the external world. They tend to be secluded within their small worlds, enjoying the best what it gives, like trendy cloths, expensive foot wear and exotic food varieties ! Let the world move wherever it want !

But she failed to find the role of media as the passive educators for these youth in what they 
are ! Today’s youth’s world view is exactly what media project, and they stand for ! Do media ever attempt to project icons in society other than in sports, politics, cinema or under world? Intellectuals or literary figures find it extremely difficult to find their due place in the media. Except the senior journalists, media is reluctant to share rights of opinion on world affairs to any other sector. Even human right activists are projected scornfully in the media, as possible threat to their world ! 

6) Always at the side of the establishment :News reporting, or media profession in general, show a tendency to project the world view of the masters of the then establishment, of each age. In the old times of slave trade, media used to carry advertisement from slave owners for the sale of their ‘merchandise’ ! Even today, when the main pages carry stories about police crack-down in flesh-trade cases, back pages openly display scores of advertisements from 5 star and 7 star ESCORT SERVICES, which are surrogate offers from brothel owners ! 

The role of the press in suppressing the communist experiment in the war weary Russia after the 1st world war is described by the great historian H.G.Wells in his book 'A short history of the world': ' a propaganda of abominable and disgusting inventions went on unchecked in the press of the world;the Bolshevik leaders were represented as incredible monsters glutted with blood and plunder and living lives of sensuality before which the realities of the Tsarist court during the Rasputin regime paled to a white purity . . .' The press was clearly with the reigning establishments of the day , that of the European allies. 

The role of the world press during the Holocaust is under heated debate lately. The most shocking incident in the history of the modern age was almost blacked out by then media. The chief complaint is about the low relevance accorded by the media about holocaust - -every report was tucked in the inner pages of the newspapers, including that of  NYT. 

This has stopped  the US government and the general public from reacting meaningfully to the world calamity. Latest debates argue that  US could have even curtailed the number of deaths if the stories were presented by the media in deserving relevance, with front page coverage of the stories ! 

7) Confusion about causes and effect :Finally, this is on the plain psychological confusion media creates about the probable causes of the reported events, and peoples failure to make sense out of world around.  Famous Russian psychologist PAVLOV had conducted an experiment using Dogs, about the effect of confusion with regard to living being’s failure to assess probable cause of the events they experience. Dogs were trained to choose food, or a mild electric shock, from the size of circles drawn on two doors. After a few rounds, he gradually reduced the difference in the radius of the circle, causing confusion for dogs as what door leads to food, or shock. Dogs started getting shocks more often, leading to total mental breakdown in many cases.

Un-directional news reporting causes the same effect on people. World becomes a place without any rational sense to people, in the process. 

Can Media adopt a rational direction in the profession, and still remain in business ?

When the traditional political institutions of the day, Democracy, stands deformed  due to the twist between the fundamental values and the opposite priorities of the professional people who are into the act of governance, world stands really ORPHANED in the world. Media, as we have seen, are drawn in to the game as passive partners. This leaves the world without any agency to lead them into the path of Reason and enlightenment.

Fundamentalism is nothing but the reluctance to open up to reviewing of one’s bottom premises on life and profession, from time to time. Whether science or social institutions, complying with  nature's inevitable need of periodical change is simple OPENNESS. Hence there is no harm for the media fraternity to assemble nation wide, and adopt the course of Reason as their bottom directive principle, in the act of news reporting. It would definitely be a better representation of world than being a passive scavenger for every one's 'reported' truth, in the name of 'objectivity'. 

Media representing the plain human reason and wisdom in the world !

 World can expect nothing more from this institution ! It then would become peoples voice, and watch-dogs in democracy naturally. They  can also adopt the self-evident course of human civilization as seen so far - - - -a sure and certain journey from the old exclusiveness  to more and inclusiveness and mutual tolerance and acceptance of human dignity, for taking mankind on the same road further ahead.( see our blog on the hidden direction of civilization at link:

After this voluntary adoption of a bottom directive course, there won’t remain any confusion for content selection, or news worthiness. It would be like a business house choosing ‘quality of  product’ as the singular bottom line for its business promotion. Time will tell the difference in due course, and such strategies has never failed in any field. Hence, when media adopt ‘truth’ and truth alone as their bottom line, replacing ‘news worthiness’ for stories, people will develop taste for it soon. Truth is that, even the appetite of man for ‘stories’ from child hood is nothing but the urge for 'reality' ! Human faculty of Reason is basically a ‘seat of order’, and truth is nothing but the ultimate‘order’.  Logical syllogism depend on the quality of its ‘major’ premise, the universal. When media adopts a healthy ‘major’ premise at the bottom, for inferring their world view, and developing their stories,   world always would get correct conclusions ! ( see our blog on the new perspectives of human Reason at :

Every other institution in society will fall in line of Reason and common sense when the defining agency stand for the root direction of mankind. Political masters will think twice before  playing their games with people and their rights. Mankind will get its guardian in the reinvented media institution. Industry also will not loss anything, as an enlightened people will make better customers and consumers.

Abraham J. Palakudy 

He is an independent seeker and researcher in fields like man's faculty of Reason, Mind, Spirituality, polity, especially the relevance of a Reinventing democracy.
Twitter: Voice of Philosophy@jopan1
His profile and other blog-posts:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Extinct real, enter virtual..

Barkha Dutt, leading Indian Media personality, had her article today ( 31st Jan,2015) in Hindustan Times, titled, ' Telling it like a good story'. She was depicting the near extinct of real, and the entry of virtual in modern political arena; she quotes Bernard Manin, Professor of Politics at New York University, that ' the most recent variation of image-and media-driven democracy is as legitimate a form of representative government as previous models' (ie. parliamentary and party democracies) It simply means, taking smart,full advantage of the high-tech 'image-building service' that modern media offer has become a new art and science in politics ! Those leaders who master the above art and science can only make it to the top !

She judges that both US president Obama and Indian PM Modi have acquired mastery in the above field at equal degree. She was referring to the former's recent visit to India to attend her Republic day celebrations.

A few human-interest questions arise from her above observation:

1) Were these Political leaders inventing a new method of influencing voter-mind, or were they simply and smartly utilizing the highly 'innovative possibilities' of 'virtual reality' that modern media have invented in their market ? In other words, does it mean the shifting of the traditional Media priority from roles such as 'peoples-voice', 'democracy watch-dog' the society, to that of creating innovating new products and possibilities in their niche market-place ? ( that of image building and its sustaining, and creating a 'virtual world' for its own sake ? )

The huge media budgets behind both in the US president elections, and also in the recent Modi win in the Indian Election is now in the public awareness. So, we could realize the motive behind the fierce fight in the media market to share the hugely-expanded 'market-size'of image-building business, and that of creating 'virtual reality' !

2) If contract-killers offer more innovative methods of annihilating victims, with minimum chance of getting caught, who should be held more accountable for going for such methods; the actual contract givers or the product-creators ? Definitely, both parties are equally responsible for the 'paradigm-shift' in the technology aspect in the market.The products are always specifically intended for the special needs of the market.

3) The large possibilities of Media in cover-up tactics, by issuing purposely confusing statements and images, every failure and lapses could be made good before the public eyes ! Here, Barkha's claim that, ' this is not to say that only packaging and theatrics determine your political fate in the brave new world; eventually there is escaping the judgment of performance' loses relevance. People have no role in creating such judgement, as it is also done in media reports, images, studio-debates and social-media circles. We know that, every political party has special task-force exclusively to post comments and likes in social-media circle, to create VIRTUAL REALITY in-favour of their respective political parties.

It is now well known that the fall of UPA-2,( the 2nd term Congress led government under PM Manmohan-Singh) and its systematic maligning in public-eye was a deliberate and systematic creation of certain media groups, perhaps under collusion with opposition political parties. So, Barkha's stand that 'genuine performance judgment' by people is a myth. Virtual has totally eclipsed the real in modern world.

Assault of the Virtual in the real life sphere

Apart from the total take-over of the REAL in the political sphere, its almost total take-over of human-beings in real life sphere is also well evident. The increasing incidents of marriage break up could be cited as one example. What modern youngsters get married to are virtual-entities, not real-life human-beings/partners !

The non-stop of pumping of virtual images of successful men and women in media advertisements forces modern young men and women to internalize a suitable image from the multiple options, abandoning their real selves. These virtual creatures search for equally 'virtual' partners in marriage, for virtual sex, and virtual social needs.

Who can bypass real, existential energies of human-relations and life ? Forces of Free-market ideology wants every man and women to be ideal consumers. This purpose is served only when every one of them go for some or other of the multiple images of such virtual-creatures pumped into the market-place 24x7, all over the globe. The ideal of Globalization is nothing but such grand vision of the Free-market forces.In this sense, Globalization does not mean anything beyond a grand, globalized-market place' for products and services !

These virtual marriage partners, when live together under one roof, away from the market-place's synthetic images for a few weeks and months, naked realities of real life face them up-front. Most of them fail to cope-up with the sudden exposure to real life-situations, and demands of two raw-human beings living together. So, 50 to 55 % marriages end in premature break-up today. This trend was confined to Europe and USA earlier, but thanks to Globalization, it is true even in countries like India.

Take-up the life of our adolescent population. They too are serious victims of the assault of the 'virtual' realities. Images of the world as a market place of glitter and show engulfs them, and there is little opportunity for them to taste the virgin reality of life ever. In real life situations, it is impossible to sustain, playing virtual card for long. So, these youngsters too, fall victims to the assault of the virtual-world very early in life. Millions of images pumped into the world act in the form of a 'language' for young people, to 'enact' life in certain ways, away from their nature-given traits. Like modern politicians, they attempt to create virtual-reality around their persona, for effectively marketing themselves in the world.

As a conclusion, we could say that what orphans modern world more than any thing is the shift of professional priority of modern Media from their traditional role as 'peoples' voice' and similar specific pro-people and pro-mankind roles in the world, to the above referred role as creators of 'virtual-reality', whether it is for paid-projection of political-leaders as 'saviours' of people in the voter-market, or creating similar synthetic realities for products and services of the industry, or even for mere brand-image creation purpose of corporate-entities.This shift of priority of media leaves modern world at the mercy of many dubious agencies and dark-forces, in exploiting it for personal and large-group gains. World lost her one and only proclaimed agent of ensuring intellectual sanity and plain sense of Reason !.

Noam Chomsky's celebrated work titled ' Manufacturing consent' is forthright in establishing the integral role of Media in taming and controlling the minds of peoples' class; See part of one of his speeches below:

" Walter Lippman, who was the dean of American journalists, is the man who invented the phrase manufacture of consent. He described the manufacture of consent as a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. This, he said, is quite important, this is a revolution in the practice of democracy, and he thought it was a worthwhile revolution. The reason is, again, the stupidity of the average man. ...This is in Walter Lippman's book Public Opinion, which appeared shortly after World War I "  ( read the entire text of the speech at link:

How could our so called 'OPEN-WORLD' remain calm and cool,in accepting modern democracy and media as celebrated signs and blessing of the political system of 'EQUAL-HUMAN-BEINGS' ?  What we worship, out of our ignorance and foolishness is, our-own fetters and noose !

Please share the following blogs for additional reading on related themes:( other blogs in the same series also has few direct posts)

Authored by: Abraham J. Palakudy

He is an ardent seeker/researcher in subjects like Philosophy, Mind&Reason,Spirituality,polity etc
contact him:

Twitter:Voice of Philosophy@jopan1

His profile and other blogs:    

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Media: Logical contradiction between freedom of speech of the people, and the obsession for 'news value'

It is the constitutional 'freedom of speech and expression' of the people that the media utilize in their professional activity of publishing news. In India, as well as in USA, constitutional authorities as well as the judiciary did not find any need for creating separate provisions for press freedom. All of them found peoples freedom of speech and expression and the press freedom,one and the same thing. Media do not have any  special constitutional entity other than that of 'people' in this regard.  Media is merely representing people when they are engaged in the professional work of news reporting. What they are supposed to be doing is making the 'peoples voice' heard loud and clear. 

Though such a dimension was not there at the time of  inception of the institution of media, it is now stand well defined in many constitutions of modern nations.During the inception stage, media by all means originated as private enterprises, without any collective,social dimension. The new dimension was evolved gradually, and now even constitutionally in the modern age. 

The establishments were traditionally authoritarian in history, and even after the emergence of Democracy, the political system of equal men, this tendency of governments to remain a seat of power and authority has not changed. Hence, media was naturally positioned to be the 'peoples voice' to keep the much required balance between peoples rights and governments' traditional power. Hence, media's rational and constitutional position was that of representing peoples rights, mankind's overall civilizational progress, and world's openness and sense of reason. Modern day democratic governments, at least in blue print, are exclusive means to achieve the above ends. Every constitutional document vouch for this fact. Constitutions here are to be treated as expressions of the collective sense of reason and wisdom of a people, for philosophical as well as practical purpose. 

As said earlier, our age could not be fully free from the evils of authoritarian traits of governments, despite their being democratic in nature. This makes the role of media very central in maintaining the spirit of constitution, which is, as mentioned earlier, clear documentation of such open agenda of modern human civilization.

When media represents people and their rights and voice, question will naturally arise as to what section of people they should represent ? The two major division in any society historically is that of the CONVENTIONALISTS, and the LIBERALS, or the ones who always want to stick on to the old ways and systems, and the ones who move ahead with changed perceptions and realities. Every clash in human society is between these groups. 

Despite intermittent outcomes, the ultimate winner is always the latter, as obvious from the various ladders human civilization has climbed during its course. It was clearly a journey from darkness to light, non-freedom to freedom, exclusiveness to more and more inclusiveness and tolerance ! 

The America under Abraham Lincoln had to fight a fierce civil war with her own people to liberate the country from the evil of SLAVERY. So, the direction of human civilization is distinct and clear, and there need not be any doubt as to what sect of people media have to represent ! They have to be with the open, the civilized, the progressive and the rational section of the people. 

The contradiction of media priorities and spirit with the above hidden direction of human civilization 

But when one analyse the professional concerns, priorities and existential motive and spirit of modern day media profession, the logical contradiction with regard to their professional existential role,priorities, concerns and spirit is well evident ! Media is all about collecting and reporting news and stories, and nothing else ! They are in the society for the very specialized purpose of making news and stories out of the world, and reporting it  for its own sake, and nothing more or less ! Taking a rational, moral or pro-mankind stand, which is directly in tune with safe-guarding of the rights of people, or in tune with the above direction of human civilization is no where near their professional goals and priorities ! 

They are here only to be story tellers and news reporters ! They do not belong to the 'peoples' class in this meaning, as people have nothing to gain from having news and stories about them ! They have nothing to gain by being mere 'objects' for media's stories. Their plights do not have any special relevance under their definition of 'saleable' stories!
( News value) 

Even under strict logical analysis, they do not represent any one's 'voice' or concern, if analysed vis-a vis with their specialized professional 'vows' !  

Their chief criteria  for choosing news and stories are : ( as per Journalism book-lessons) 
  • conflict
  • currency
  • impact
  • prominence
  • proximity
  • timeliness
  • human interest - - -
in varying degrees of importance and relevance, as interpreted by each member of the journalistic profession in the world ! But the crux remains the same. 

Another central criterion sacrosanct for the media-men is 'objectivity', the value around the truth of the story, or news they report. It says news man's opinion is irrelevant, and should be absent from the stories and news. He is expected to be merely a passive spectator. 

The historic background of  this obsession for 'objectivity' is easily traceable when a keen observer looks at the similar attempt undertaken by every social science in the world to gain equal respectability with 'SCIENCE' .

Science, with its mind-boggling inventions and discoveries that transformed the modern world had achieved enviable prestige in the world. It was accurate in its calculations and result,and systematic to the core.  Objective observation ( ie.avoidance of all pre-notions and judgement in the path of discovering the truth of any new phenomenon ) was the key 'mantra' of science. Hence, every social science of the day like Economics, Psychology and even Sociology started claiming status of science, claiming objectivity in their approach and method ! 

Media too had followed the suit by claiming to be 'objective' in their path of finding truth. 

The miserable outcome of this attempt is in front of our eyes. When media quote 'versions' of all the parties involved in an incident for the story, everyone tries to mislead the investigator by attempting to be the victim , or the crusader. People and leaders are now professional media 'handlers', the art of manipulating versions for media ! Every government department and big corporate houses has their own 'media wing', specialized in creating 'media versions' of events. These regular media objects in modern world 'manufacture' 'media briefs', or special lies for public consumption. Thus, what people get from modern media is a 'parallel' synthetic world, away from ground reality on any matter.

The crux of the matter is that, in spite of elevating the status of media by modern state constitutions as 'people voice', and pillar of democracy, their old internal values, spirit, dogmas and priorities on 'news values' etc have not undergone any change. What should change is, media men's self image as mere 'news and story collectors'. Inspite of media- industry's commercial compulsions, they should have kept their CENTRAL RELEVANCE and CRUCIAL ROLE as mankind's self-image makers ! What they write and depict CREATE the the SELF-IMAGE of mankind!  

They should alter their self image as true representatives of mankind, and their sense of reason, wisdom and freedom. When every journalism school in the world realize the need of this self-image change, their syllabus could be altered accordingly, and the budding new journalists that come out the schools would see them selves,and act themselves as true rational entities, with a mind of their own, filled with sense of responsibility towards mankind, instead towards their profession that convert world into mere news and story commodity. 

At present, unfortunately, media act results ultimately into putting a smart VEIL over  society/mankind.  The said society today is,  without doubt, is a 'self-interest' oriented 'underworld', run/ruled  by the political and industry leaders ! Truth has become the singular casualty in the above arrangement ! Media has become a real hurdle in the way for world and mankind to naturally travel in its way of development and progress. Instead of becoming a 'medium', or a channel  for real human progress, it act like a daily dose of 'sedative' for mankind, to rock it and its people  into an extremely dangerous intellectual SLUMBER! !!! 

It muddies the world ( like muddying water bodies)  with conflicting opinions and stories, without any clear intellectual direction. Every human being is got  lost in the confusion. The evil elements in the world take good advantage of the intellectual and ideological chaos, and utilize it for their best advantage. 

Therefore, the most pressing need of present day world is 'reinventing modern media', and re-defining their clear role in society. 

Love to reproduce here, a commentary by Noam Chomsky and David Herman, on the former's concept,' Manufacturing consent':

Media Ownership—The endgame of all mass media orgs is profit. “It is in their interest to push for whatever guarantees that profit.”
2. Advertising—Media costs more than consumers will pay: Advertisers fill the gap. What do advertisers pay for? Access to audiences. “It isn’t just that the media is selling you a product. They’re also selling advertisers a product: you.”
3. Media Elite—“Journalism cannot be a check on power, because the very system encourages complicity. Governments, corporations, and big institutions know how to influence the media. They feed it scoops and interviews with supposed experts. They make themselves crucial to the process of journalism. If you want to challenge power, you’ll be pushed to the margins…. You won’t be getting in. You’ll have lost your access.”
4. Flack—“When the story is inconvenient for the powers that be, you’ll see the flack machine in action: discrediting sources, trashing stories, and diverting the conversation.”
5. The Common Enemy—“To manufacture consent, you need an enemy, a target: Communism, terrorists, immigrants… a boogeyman to fear helps corral public opinion.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The seductive media !

The seductive media

When a dangerously attractive woman is there in any office as the centre of attraction of every one, the very direction of the office functioning gets altered considerably - - -men neglect their otherwise rational behaviour. The productivity slackens. Priorities change. Seeking her attention becomes an involuntary  priority for one and all.

Media’s avatar in its present strength and centrality has all the resemblance to the above office situation in the world today. Compelling governments to ignore the main business of country governance, she (the media) make governments to act for the specialized frame-work of  media demands. She is well aware of her power of seduction, hence, no one can easily ignore her.

 Main stream politics, thus, has become a media exercise first and foremost. Reality is forced to withdraw into closed room affairs, away from public eye. What leaders officially communicate for the media  becomes artificial realities for citizens, and the mainstream world ! Thus, the world depicted by the  media becomes virtually a parallel world of synthetic realities, a world- not of TRUTHS- but merely that of ‘reported’ truths !

Political players intentionally create situations and dramas to attract her attention. More than real performance, playing of successful games for media has become every one’s central priority. She has her likes, dislikes, and special choices. 

The ones who do not play her type of games before the camera are not her favourites. They get ignored from the mainstream soon, or even turn Media's enemy, as proved in the case of US President Trump (January 2017); he openly shunned Media, and Media declared a kind of war on him. Media put up a challenge to President Trump, that without media, he may not be able to establish his positive 'presence' in the world! World is watching with great interest, how would this strange war end! 

This extra attraction towards media attention appears to be a phenomenon more peculiar to former 3rd world countries, wherein, showing face before the camera is equal to finding a new identity for oneself. The charm of the magic light is irresistible. Even ordinary people indulge in any odd act and behaviour, to grab media attention. Eating live snakes, or glass pieces, or dragging cars, and even airplanes on strings tied to one’s teeth etc. are common tactics for gaining media attention. 

The seductive attraction of the camera is a vicious reality in the modern world.

The mainstream world is a synthetic world in the modern age, with its actors and characters ( political, cinema, sports celebrities etc.) develop special mannerisms and expressions to behave and talk for the media. They have a different face and personality for the camera. The real face of life for these mainstream collective world characters lies hidden, un-known to the world.

Thus, the world product presented by the media is a specialized sphere, as already  mentioned above. The ones out side the mainstream realm, the common men, when attempt to relate themselves to the above synthetic world product, disfigure their personality too in the act.  

To bring back the world in to sanity, either the media have to realize the danger in holding herself in dangerous charm, making the world and its men fooling themselves, or the people should grow-up into maturity, not to be played into the hands of media’s seductive charm. The first option is what rationally expected from media’s end, as the second option of peoples themselves maturing to resist the charm of camera will take many more years to take place.

conceptualized by: Abraham J.Palakudy

He is an ardent seeker and researcher on Mind, Reason, Philosophy,Spirituality and Polity
Contact him:
Twitter: Voice of Philosophy@jopan1

His Profile and other blogs: