July 10, 2012
Gone are the days when actors were the sole participants in the race for the ‘No. 1’ position for attention. Television anchors today are very much part of this game but in a different way; they don’t dare claim their ambitions as openly as actors, but do get their message across between the lines.
Bollywood and Lollywood actress, including Reema, Meera, Katrina, Kareena are the top participants of this game while previously there were Madhuri, Sri Devi, Anjuman and Saima. One actress would claim to have the highest number of fans while the others would criticize her for not having appropriate acting skills. One would point finger at the other for flashing too much flesh and the rest would indulge in taking her to town.
Some actresses would strive hard to achieve the top position through underhanded means while others would do it by tactfully developing ‘strong relations’ with directors and producers. Some would try to achieve it by letting it be known that they would be available for steamy scenes in the movie while others would deliberately set off a rumor about an affair or impending marriage.
The public would be quick to judge, saying ‘cheap tricks’ was all such actresses knew.
But what would we call it if the same tactics are being used by the majority of anchors in various news channels? Obviously it’s not a professional requirement. As far as one understands it is their desire to be at the top that makes them adopt such an approach.
There is literally a tug of war going on between the anchors and hosts of various TV channels. They constantly accuse each other of being spies, agents, ruthless and having no moral, professional or religious ethics.
It has also become a matter of routine for an anchor in his program to disagree with the opinion of a rival anchor and then go to great lengths to prove it is he who is correct. Their desire to influence is so strong they cannot tolerate it if they think their viewers do not believe what they do.
Sometimes this contest becomes so intense they even taunt rival anchors and when that individual responds with an insult, the whole process goes one step further.
Anchors on one television channel spent around 10 minutes criticizing an analyst and proving it was they who were right and not him. It was a tit-for-tat and spiteful act as the same analyst had criticized them in his own program on another channel.
Each TV anchor and host tries to prove that whatever knowledge and views he has about various international and national affairs is the best while the rest is just rubbish. I have heard one TV anchor talking about his vast experience in journalism and then criticizing others for having ‘planted agendas’ or being puppets.
We have also witnessed during the recent mediagate scandal that top TV hosts accused each other of having black money. Talat Hussain made public his assets while questioning the assets of Najam Sethi. Meanwhile, Sethi did the same in his program. So the mud-slinging game continues.
But just who is No 1?
Most people say these so-called hosts and anchors are ‘dramabaaz’. They truly believe that anchors are actually acting out scripts on the screen. If such tactics could lead to the No. 1 position then Kareena Kapoor’s ‘Kurbaan’ would not have been such a flop despite the steamy scenes it contains.
Instead of going at each other and making a mockery of their profession and themselves, it would be so much better if these egoistic peacocks would concentrate instead on their jobs and what is actually needed.
(The writer is a journalist who has worked in Pakistan for several years. She is now based in England)
Daily Times, May 29, 2018