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The civilizing mission of our journalists

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Members of every profession tend to aggrandize themselves, and attempt to portray themselves as the basis for everything. Lawyers, Doctors and Engineers all fall victim to this trend. But a singular group of people that stand ahead of these professionals are the self-proclaimed ‘guardians of democracy’, Journalists. Their arrogance and obsession with the greatness of their profession is mind-blowing to say the least. They  have assumed for themselves the mission of bringing the unwashed masses to their enlightened religion. It is at the least, obnoxious. At the most, they appear to be the worst curse on our democracy.

This sort of obnoxious self-importance is best encapsulated in replies to this tweet by Rahul Pandita :

I have been travelling through Bihar. Every child, man and woman knows about “surgical istrike” and that we got 300 of them for our 40. They are totally convinced. — Rahul Pandita (@rahulpandita) March 29, 2019
Glad that you have been able to correct the misinformation for these significant number of people! — Kakul (@kakulprasher) March 29, 2019
Maybe you missed my point. So asking again: Did you correct the misinformation? Not talking about anything else but what you did when you found so many people believe a lie. Did you tell them the govt is lying to them? This is not a matter of belief (??) but facts after all. — Kakul (@kakulprasher) March 29, 2019
Oh ya ya, I am travelling with a caravan which has audio-visual shows about truth of Balakot. If you have any Patna waasis on your TL, tell them I am showing tonight outside Gandhi maidan Gate 13. — Rahul Pandita (@rahulpandita) March 29, 2019

I found this exchange hilarious. I have no idea who Kakul Prasher is, but it seems she is a regular op-ed writer for DailyO. The exchange illustrates my point: Journalists think that they know best. They ought to ‘change’ people’s perceptions to what they ought to be. This reminded me of another comment, by Vinod K Jose, the illustrious editor of The Caravan, on a Mathrubhumi election special after the UP elections – Liz Mathew, an editor of The Indian Express was utterly convinced that Demonetization was bad, but it was Vinod K. Jose takes the prize. He states, somewhere along the 10 minute mark, that UPites do not have the same level of ‘knowledge’ and ‘political acumen’ that Malayalis have, which is why they win. Brilliant, no?

Another example of arrogance is when Journalists start to pontificate on topics that they have no idea about, and are called out by Domain Experts, or normal online ‘trolls’ for the same:

Ramesh Kumar is an MP and according to the SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme launched in 1992, aren’t parliamentarians in the category of eminent persons who don’t require visa to travel as only a sticker issued by the member country suffices. https://t.co/0hXybXpO4C — Monica (@TrulyMonica) February 24, 2019

Journalists think that they are visual representations of democracy, that they are more important than the people they report for. They see themselves in a role larger than their own lives, an exaggerated self-importance. It is that obnoxiousness that pervades in them. As this piece in HuffPo states, Journalism will only succeed when journalistic arrogance is killed. Unfortunately, it is hardwired into every journalist. And that might be the end of conventional journalism as we know it.

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