The Many Ways in Which We, the Media, F*cked up in 2016

Great year for news; not so good for news reportage

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The 2016 calendar was filled with events that made headlines all over the world. From the Nice attack to Trump’s win, from the crisis in Syria to the demonetisation of currency in India, and the death of many beloved celebrities, this year has been marred by events that the world is not going to forget anytime soon.

This means that the press had a field day for almost all 365 days of the year. But were we always reporting the news ethically?


1. Om Puri made a comment about the surgical strike. Arnab Goswami shamed Puri for his comment. What happened next will not surprise you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suKjRS607gc

It is well-known that Mr Goswami runs his news debates like a courtroom drama. He barely gives his panelists a chance to speak, sometimes even asking them to shut up while they are in the middle of a sentence. He is also known to impose his opinions on others.

Om Puri made a highly controversial comment about the surgical strikes when he said that no one had asked the soldiers to join the army. He received criticism from all corners of the country. But he was also shamed on national television by Arnab Goswami, and such vulture-like targeting was completely uncalled for. Puri was actually reduced to saying, “I am guilty, hang me,” to Goswami.


2. When Bhupendra Chaubey was holier than thou in front of Sunny Leone, and she gave him the harshest burn.

Bhupendra Chaubey was extremely high handed when it came to the questions he asked Sunny Leone. From “Is your past behind you?” to “Do you look at acting as a serious profession?” the remarks he made reeked of arrogance and disrespect. At times, he even seemed uncomfortable saying the words ‘porn’ and ‘pornography’.

But sh*t hit the roof when he said, “Am I being morally corrupted by interviewing you?” Sunny replied with, “Well, I can leave if you want me to.”


3. When everybody said that Udta Punjab was going to be banned.

The news that Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt starrer Udta Punjab was banned spread like wildfire. Within hours, there were pages full of social media outrage against the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the 40 cuts it was demanding to be made.

However, it was later revealed that the movie was under the inspection of the Revising Committee and that it would be released at a later date. So much for all those hate tweets.


4. When Sania Mirza schooled Rajdeep Sardesai for being sexist.

During an interview about the release of Sania Mirza’s autobiography, Rajdeep Sardesai asked the tennis champ when she was going to settle down.

To this, Mirza said, “You sound disappointed that I’m not choosing motherhood over being number one in the world at this point of time… Unfortunately, that’s when we’re settled, and no matter how many Wimbledons we win or number ones in the world we become, we don’t become settled.”

Sardesai apologised for his question and acknowledged that he would never have asked a man about settling down.


5. Fake news circulating about Syria.

Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Flickr
Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Flickr

It is quite common for falsities and half-truths to circulate during times of war and conflict. But the sheer amount of fake news that has emerged during the Syrian civil war is appalling. According to Verify-sy, from reports about a town being occupied by ISIS to maps about rebel-occupied Syria have been fabricated or taken out of context.

There is also an increasing number of reports and revealing information about the Western reportage of this crisis as being biased.


6. When Buzzfeed India, the upholder of gender equality and feminism, objectified men.

ranveer-singh-buzzfeed

Bayside Journal is concerned about the state of water coolers in the Buzzfeed India office. The writers always seem to be thirsty, especially when they’re looking at and showing pictures of men.

All we’d like to ask is wouldn’t there be outrage if these captions were used to describe women?


7. When the Monica Ghurde case was reported in the most insensitive manner.

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-8-15-24-pm

Perfumer and former photographer Monica Ghurde was brutally murdered by a former security guard in October. Her horrific death was reported in the most sensationalist manner by most leading newspapers.

The graphic headlines of these articles are in themselves revealing of the kind of treatment that was given to this story: “Goa Perfumer Found Dead In Apartment, Her Hands Tied To Bed” – NDTV, “Perfumer Monika Ghurde murdered at Goa residence, body found naked with hands, feet tied up” – India.com, “Perfumer Monika Ghurde murdered, naked body found at Goa home” – Hindustan Times.

There were also cases where facts were blown out of proportion and the subject was treated melodramatically.

 

8. When the New York Times and other American media outlets disregarded the popularity of Trump.

Image Credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore
Image Credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

In November this year, the New York Times confessed that it, as well as other news organisations, had underestimated the amount of support Trump had amassed over the months. By early October, most organisations were convinced that Hillary Clinton was in the lead, after the first debate and the audiotape scandal where he talked about groping women.

The result is that they did not effectively report the success that Trump had achieved and that their readers too were misinformed. In fact, political scientists have even said that these wrong predictions may have prevented a lot of people from voting.

Feature image credit: Wikimedia/bollywood hungama and Wikimedia Commons/Abhinav619