Over the recent past I've noticed an interesting trend in this newly freed media of ours, where the media as a conjoined entity seems to float new issues every now and then which are suspiciously reflective of the mood in the parliament, the military establishment, and other high echelons of power.
If we just go back a few weeks we find that the media had been railing and ranting about how the Kerry Lugar Bill puts the country's sovereignty at stake, about how our politicians are in cahoots with the US, and how the military wants the KLB, but without conditionality. If I were to pick a source for the views that seemed to be emanating from our media establishment, then my best guess would be that this was the military's take on the KLB, and an effort to build public consensus against the bill.
Well the buzz hyped up to a climax as Hillary Clinton came and went (pun not intended!). The US State Department essentially asserted that no changes needed to be made to the bill even before Hillaria had broadcast her hillariaty into the airwaves. And less than a week later.. **poof** no more whining over the KLB, the issue went to rest all of a sudden, almost magically.
Now the TV channels obviously need to sell airtime to their much loved corporate sponsors so they need viewers like you and me, and since lounge-room politics bashing is pretty much our national sport, they can't really afford (in the strictest sense of the word) to have an issue-less vacuum suffocating the longish sets of their talk-show hosts; so what do they do?
The issue factory churns and grinds, and **boom** a new issue is produced for the masses to lament on, curse at the government, and whine at their dismay: Behold the NRO!
Now the NRO is something that's been kicking around since the Musharaf Era. It's interesting that the media decided to pick up on it in sync with the movement against it in the parliament. Now everyone's railing and ranting about the NRO.. the media establishment conveniently shifted focus from a US legislation to a Pakistani legislation without even a hiccup to mark the transition. I'm sure if we give this a week or so, even this will disappear from popular mention without any closure or reconciliation offered by the media.
These issues seem to be produced and vanquished without any cause/effect relationship almost like clouds on a sunny day.
Look at the Long March for instance... remember that sudden burst of euphoria that gripped the masses accompanied by commercials of desi ghee. What happened to that whole sentiment? It's all a matter of keeping a captive audience, as long as the audience is interested the theater of madness continues to broadcast whatever nonsensicalities its higher-ups can dream up, and as soon as that interest wanes, **ta-da** another issue appears out of nowhere like a rabbit out of a hat.
Such media behavior doesn't liberate, or promote independent thought, it just thrives upon mass emotions, and has developed a science to tickle those emotions whenever it's politically necessary and/or commercially convenient to do so.
Honestly, I don't think these talk-show hosts would care if the awam started rotting in front of their television sets as long as they're tuned in to the right channel.
the great escape
I look around and eye the **exit** my great escape, the red flashing sign, the word EXIT, written up, loud and clear, I eye it. And I make a run for it. The two hosts grab me before I even take a step, each with one arm locked into mine, they **crack a joke** about me, the audience laughs. They hand me a metal statuette, I hold it --the heaviest thing I’ve ever held on to-- it falls through the stage, through the wooden floor, with me holding tightly onto it, through and through. “Ladies and gentlemen we just witnessed **a great escape** for the first time in the history of this event, has the winner escaped in such a dramatic fashion, and without giving a speech either.”