Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Justification of IPL obsession by a News editor.

* Bit delayed post. Was my first attempt at satire. :) *


A citizen journalist (CJ) got an opportunity to grill the editor of a popular English news channel on the recent obsession with IPL-gate which led to missing out of other ‘so-called significant stories’ developing simultaneously. Mr. Sumon Roy, Managing Editor of ‘Times Then&Now’, took time away from his busy Twitter schedule to oblige us with this interview.

CJ began by asking him why the Prime Minister’s visit to the West at the same time of the IPL mess did not qualify as substantial news on his 24 hour channel. Discussion of Af-Pak with Obama is news after-all we thought.

He said, ‘Look, IPL is way cooler. Because there is no Pakistan in here.' But in the same breath he added, 'I am not saying we are collectively ignoring Pakistan like the IPL owners. If anybody dares to allege that we are indeed blacking out Pakistan in media, I have got two words for them : Shoaib Sania’.

Visibly delighted at the awesome and spicy byte he just got, the CJ went on to ask him about non-coverage of the PM’s attendance at the Nuclear Summit following the USA visit. Roy said, ‘ We live in times of change. Few years ago, the nuclear bomb was the strategic deterrent for USA, through which it ruled the world. Its not the ‘in thing’ now. 21st century is India’s era. IPL is the new strategic weapon. Don’t tell me you din’t see Shashi Tharoor’s TED talk on India’s soft power. We are merely following that. If you don’t listen to us, India won’t drop a nuke. She would bar your players from IPL and not telecast games to your country. For the resulting loss of revenues there, they will probably take on board some more sponsors. After all, sky is endless and there is space for so many more blimps’. It aint the 4th biggest league in just 3 years for nothing.

The Prime Minister also visited Brazil by the way. A key strategic ally. In response, ‘Well well well, why would you ever want to report anything on Brazil if it is not football, or those wild thong-clad chics at the Rio carnivals? Waste of time and space. Brazil time on news will be later this year from South Africa, subject to end of IPL-gate by then’.

On being quizzed about the lack of news reporting on Pankaj Advani’s successful title defense at the Asian Billiards Championship, he put all the blame on technology. He said, ‘Anyway, we have reported a lot on Advani and the overwhelming response has been that oldie should retire and die in peace. So keeping in mind the public sentiment, our news channel system installed a program which blocks any news featuring the name Advani. So, this young boy’s achievement got filtered. All because of his unfortunate surname. Anyway, since he plays so well, I am sure he will win more and more in the future, and give us more chances to let him down’.

Final question to him was what about Indian football team qualifying for the Asia Cup 2011 after 20 odd years and tournament draw that was held last week. He was surprised and said, ‘Whattttt?????? What is that???? Is this a trick of FakingNews.com ? India qualified for Asia Cup 2011, that too after 26 years, are you sure??? Are you sure this is football and not some other believable sport???

Off the record, he told our correspondent that he is not too worried about important news being missed on private news channels. He said, ‘The truth is everybody is on twitter. Smart-ass bloggers invariably post links from BBC and Wall Street Journal etc. So we are covered in that respect. And prioritizing sleaze and glamour over important news is keeping in mind the new Indian urban attitude. I know this because a lot of my friends are actually following Mallika Sherawat on Twitter ahead of Cricketwallah etc, just because she posts pics every now and then showing a lot of cleavage.’

‘Popular media should mirror the mindset of the nation, isn’t it?’

Who are we to disagree?

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