Following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto the tv channels worked tirelessly, vying with each other towards providing a information hungry nation the latest form the ground in Pakistan as well as trying to increase eyeballs by getting political office bearers past and present to give their views on the dastardly act and its repercussions across the globe and more importantly, on India. The experts with their repetitive views did get boring after a while and it did help that no one was on for a prolonged period of time. Also helping the viewer stay glued were the slip of tongues and the like which the politicos managed.
Topping the charts was Natwar Singh, who in a bid to remain in the news (or at least on the news channels) seemed to have given his assent for an interview to quite a few news channels. So when Barkha Dutt asked him her first question pat came the reply: "May I know who am I talking to". Old age i guess. Retirement plans?
Next in line was former J&K CM and presently out of favor politcal heavyweight Farooq Abdullah. Though excusable his statement on how "Benazir Bhutto, India's former PM" death would affect relationships did nothing to boost the present day politician's image of one who talks, then thinks and finally denies the statement. A point worth noting is that Mr. Abdullah was very quick to correct himself on this.
Not to be left behind was Pranab Mukherjee, who holds the post which Natwar Singh so dearly wants, while reading his statement decided to be very correct and read the statement as"... comma ... ". I am unaware if this is the usual practice and if it is, excuse me. But that does not stop me from wondering why they do not take slightly more effort and make sure that full stops are also carefully noted down.
Adding to the fun were the editors at a couple of rival news channels who decided that since there was nothing much to differentiate in terms of content and the details regarding the assassination the least they could do is to use different weapons of attack, while one channel proclaimed it was a sniper which got Benazir, the other claimed it was an AK 47. In the end I guess it was neither. One only wishes that in their over eagerness to win the race for breaking news they do not bury the fundamental principle of journalism which is to ensure that the information being broadcast is correct. This is the very least that we expect from our media.
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