Vishnu Bhagwan was lying on the great serpent Sheshnag in the middle of the sea having in his four hands a lotus, a mace (gadaa), a shankh (conch) and a chakra (wheel), when the first perpetually peregrinating Indian journalist Narad Muni came to see him. As usual, Narad was carrying a Veena in his left hand, and wearing a dhoti and with a garland of orange coloured flowers around his neck.
"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad on beholding the Lord, and he bowed and folded his hands.
"Vatsa Narad" said the Lord, "Nice to see you again. How are you ? How are you doing in your profession of journalism on earth ?"
"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad, "Lord, it is for this very reason I have come to you. Please grant me a pension as I wish to retire from journalism.
The Lord showed great concern. " Why, what has happened Narad ?"
"Lord, I cannot face the competition anymore with these young Indian journalists."
"Oh come on Narad" said the Lord " You are such a senior journalist. How can these youngsters create a problem for you ?"
"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad, "Lord, it is not journalism anymore. What exists in India today in the name of journalism is not journalism but magic, and unfortunately I have never learnt magic. There is a new medium called television which never existed in my time. It is truly magical. The job of this medium is not to inform but to create public opinion by whipping up sustained mass hysteria over a certain issue, such as the corruption issue, the Delhi gangrape issue, the beheading of an Indian soldier issue, etc.
Most T.V. channels, hungry for higher T.R.P. ratings, and convinced that rabid demagoguery is profitable, are falling head over heels over one another to make people angry, frenzied and hysterical and go to the streets over some issue. For doing this everything goes : half truths, downright lies, sensationalism, trivialization, etc. and a meticulous search and empanelment of ' experts' and 'opinion makers', who often advocate and indulge in jingoistic chauvinism like 'unleashing the sword', anchors who instead of being neutral and objective, aggressively give a slant to a story, rudely interrupting and not allowing those invitees who disagree with their views to speak.
Some time back most T.V. channels projected Anna Hazare as a modern Moses who will lead his chosen people to a land of milk and honey (though a careful study of the man's statements show that he has no scientific ideas). The whole country was led in a frenzy by the media, somewhat like the children of Hamelin led by the Pied Piper, over the issue of corruption, but where is the issue now ? It has disappeared, and so has Anna Hazare. Obviously because the issue is now no longer profitable as it does not increase the T.R.P. rating. And has corruption dropped by even 0.1% in India ? Not at all.
Then the Delhi gangrape issue exploded. For over 2 months most T.V. channels created a manufactured hysteria which drove young people to the streets and to Jantar Mantar. Rape had become the one and only issue, a matter of life and death for the human race, while poverty, hunger, malnutrition, unemployment, price rise, lack of healthcare, farmers suicides, etc. became non issues and counted for nothing.
When this hysterical wave subsided another was created by our T.R.P.driven broadcast media : the beheading of an Indian soldier allegedly by Pakistanis. Despite offer by the Pakistan High Commissioner to India to hold an objective probe, our media whipped up jingoism and war mongering, leading to attack on Pakistani hockey players and sending them back, postponement of the agreement on visa on arrival for the elderly, etc.
"And what about the print media" asked the Lord.
"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad, "It has largely become advertisements. Many leading newspapers really begin on page 3, the first 2 pages being advertisements. And the print media is often led by the nose by the electronic media with its 'breaking news'.
Paid news is so rampant in both print and broadcast media that there is no point even talking about it.
Lord, please give me a pension otherwise I will go mad in the company of the great Indian journalists of today."
"Tathaastu" said the Lord, and disappeared, and now Narad Muni is sitting in padmasana in a Himalaya cave with his eyes closed and wishing for nirvaana!