Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wake-up calls from Uncle Pai



This post was prompted by the reaction of friends to the closing remarks in my previous post: “Statutory warning: All reactions are based on reports that have appeared in the mainstream media”. A couple of friends even asked me why such a statement was required.

Now the only brush that I have had with the mainstream media was when I was featured recently in an article about Mr. Anant Pai a.k.a. Uncle Pai the man behind “Amar Chitra Katha” and “Tinkle” comics. (I work for Mr. Pai in his new venture that is focused on creating animation and live television software for children.)

In fact the article begins with me. The scenario is Uncle Pai calling me up and talking about narrating all tales in rhyme format for our forthcoming publication. And when I look at my watch it reads 5.30 am.

Nothing of that sort actually happened.
The author got the idea for this opening because I had (I think) casually mentioned that whenever we have any event or promotional activity Uncle Pai always calls me up early in the morning to discuss the same. This is to ensure that everything has been planned and taken care of for the day. In course of the conversation I mentioned that he once called me up as early as 6.15 am.
However 6.15 a.m. and preparations for a promotional campaign were not deemed interesting enough and the time shifted to 5.30 am. and the discussion shifted to rhymes and stories.
Purely from the point of view of maximizing the dramatic impact.
That there is dramatic impact in the opening line I do not deny, but it is not exactly what I want my Boss to feel I have said.
Especially not when I was trying, very subtly, to get a good increment.
And definitely not when the statement is not a 100% accurate.
Luckily all that the sentence elicited from Uncle Pai was a guffaw and all was well.

But it led me thinking about how much of media reporting, in general, is a 100% accurate and how much is because the author decides to sex things up a bit. Nothing malicious mind you, just to make things a bit more interesting and dramatic.

And how much of the reporting is based on the author’s own judgement, background and point of view? Does this mean that any given story can be viewed differently by different journalists depending not on facts but on their affiliations? Or the Network they belong to? And if the answer is yes, then what about that boring, pesky little thing called Truth?

Interesting questions don't you think? Will ferret around for answers; meanwhile do let me know if you have any opinion on this.

1 comment:

Shahryar said...

You need to see this: Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media


Since Murdoch bought the London Times I stopped buying it.

Actually lately I only read the news online!