Monday, 16 July 2012

AnchorGate Reflections – The Shameless Media Machine

Let’s all just applaud our free and vibrant media for another chapter in their book titled “utter shamelessness”. I know they are quite distinguished in the above mentioned field but the AnchorGate episode does warrant special praise.

I mean just look at how everything has simply died down, no bumps, no glitches, it’s just smooth sailing now. Perhaps smoother than it was.

When that two part video went viral, putting Aloo Anday and Wadera Ka Beta in their place, all hell looked set to break loose. The outrage was only matched by the hilarity of it all; a storm was well and truly afoot and it seemed like the Pakistani media was in for a beat down.

Didn’t happen.

At once the journos, adaptive creatures that they are, joined the chorus of abuse against their fallen comrades. Meher Bokhari was Zeher Bokhari, while Mubasher Luqman had always been the failed film director, never part of the esteemed and honourable profession. The whole fraternity distanced itself from the episode, complete with mock rage and some really dramatic soul searching.

Instead of being a source of shame, the fact that journos took money from Malik Riaz became a source of laughter. Over and over again the earnest complaints of not receiving any plots from Malik Riaz marked out the rightful ones from the corrupt lot, which apparently comprised of just Mubasher Luqman and Meher Bokhari. Every other media man/woman supports a halo, which is paid for by their own hard earned money.

What really happened in the aftermath of AnchorGate? Well, Hamid Mir took some pot-shots at Mubasher Luqman, steering well clear of mentioning the Villa he had received from Malik Riaz, as had been claimed in the leak. Sana Bucha found herself in the awkward position of hosting a debate on yellow journalism. Said debate was attended by Geo’s finest, so expert opinion on yellow journalism was readily available. Interestingly, the beacons of truthfulness (Najam Sethi please stand up) spent less time discussing how the media is so corrupt and more time complaining about Shaheen Sehbai.

Sehbai’s crime is that he did what the media doesn’t want to do; report. So down with Sehbai, and up with the people who didn’t want to speak of Malik Riaz on TV and used a timid “Sahab” at the end of his name each time they did.

Maybe it is naïve to expect journos to be fair when judging themselves, they are only human. I did though expect some hue and cry about Malik Riaz, about the whole “Bunny’s Call” incident. No sir. Many simply blanked it.

At times I wish instead of Gillani’s son calling, there should have been a call by some Major Shamshad or whatever. I mean an hour of Nusrat Javed screaming, jumping and breaking stuff would have made good TV.

Talat Hussain was one man that seemed to do justice to the issue. I almost fell for his act too, but thank Najam Sethi for revealing that Talat’s actually CIA. One thing irks though. When Talat gave what were obviously false financial details on his show, Sethi didn’t reciprocate. Najam sahib instead chose to lie, in the casual, confident manner that has become a trademark, that his financial details can be accessed under the freedom of information act.

A man of his wisdom and experience definitely knows that said act only applies to government servants and even his tax returns are deemed “private”, not obtainable according to the FOI Act. But maybe I am being harsh. It could be that Najam wasn’t hiding behind red tape; merely confusing being “in the employ of” with being “an employee of”.

Anyway, the honesty brigade on TV couldn’t even get rid of Meher Bokhari, while Mubasher Luqman is rumoured to be negotiating a return. The media machine has already surpassed pre-AnchorGate shamelessness levels, as evidenced by the Young Doctors Association issue.

I hinted in the Observations post that the real money in media comes from the hairy brothers of Lahore. If any evidence be needed just look at the Punjab Gov adverts overtaking Bahria Town adverts during YDA strike. Anchors were just going for the kill; Javed Chaudary – the Lifafa is strong with him – asked a doctor point blank how is it right for him to murder people. Every report by the “Iqbal Jamil camera man Shakeel Ahmed ke sath, Baghwanpura, Lahore” was mocking the “messiahs” and denouncing them as goons or murderers.

Nothing has changed in light of the AnchorGate debacle and yet the trumpeting never stops. Every single media outlet is a sham and every single one of their employees will use the TV, the newspaper and even twitter to proclaim purity of soul and integrity of spirit.

Godspeed o shameless ones.

1 comment:

  1. Before he became a TV anchor, Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin were known as biggest blackmailers. News media is a blackmailing racket but these two were reportedly the best. Disclaimer: haven't read anything about it so it may be that jealous contemporaries just wanted to drag their name through the muck