Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Five Benefits of Watching News


Image Courtesy Twitter

With tweeple heaping ridicule on news anchors, English news channels are the new dart boards for collective national catharsis. It all began when the hashtag #ShameOnTimesNow trended on Twitter after Times Now suggested that the defeat of the Indian cricket team was a national shame. Despite efforts, the channel failed to shame the team and got shamed instead. Yesterday, when they tried to shame General VK Singh, who had earlier called the media ‘presstitutes’, channels were punched on twitter. With the hashtag #Presstitutes trending today, television media is currently writhing on the twitter mat.

Two things. One, despite the veneer of righteousness, the outcome of television debates does little for the subject. Second, since there is a reason for everything, I believe, television news is transmitted into our living rooms for a higher purpose. Don’t look at prime time debates with contempt. Steer clear of perceiving them as self-serving, TRP loving, sensationalist shows. Instead, look at them as nature’s way of healing the mind, body and soul. Stick with me and I’ll tell you why.

Men get to speak

If you are a married man, you get a chance to speak. Whether it is beef ban or a Toyota Fortuner for Telangana babus, you can vent it out. In an attempt to breed outrage, channels invite you to speak out (get angry) after an outrageous comment begins circulation. Shout out for public flogging or street hanging. Don’t worry, nothing changes. But you feel better. Remember what Kareena tells Shahid Kapoor in Jab We Met? Yes, like that.

Nature’s way of restoring health

As in physical exercise, blood pressure shoots up while you are watching News Hour. Regular viewing of News Hour, like exercise, can help lower your blood pressure, as long as you keep it up. This is because your heart pumps more to enable you to make sense when panelists  scream. Healthy heart, healthy body. Got it? What’s more, you learn to modulate your vocal chords, thereby exercising the throat muscles like the contemptuous anchor.

Mental health as a perk

A University of Michigan study says that gossip releases progesterone - a stress buster. Because our news is about ‘who said what’, watching news can reduce anxiety levels. Look at the last few days. We’ve spent days dissecting Giriraj Singh’s shocker, Sharad Yadav’s blooper, Goa CM’s blunder and VK Singh’s twatter. Common, admit it. As long as it’s not your bum, there is great fun  in public spanking.
Moreover, TV debates convert complex issues into simple binary choices. So you are either with the anchor or against him. Easy peasy.

Lessons in secularism 

 Apart from health benefits, there are other perks of lessons in secularism. Even if the debate about adult diapers, some twist the debate towards what sections of social media call ‘sickularism’.
Panelist: Government has decided to increase the production of adult diapers.
Anchor: So this is about Hindu nationalism.
Panelist: Err, how?
Anchor: Our survey says there is 18% increase in communal intolerance.
Panelist: Communal intolerance? But we’re talking about urinal incontinence?

Inculcates patriotism and Inspires

If you’ve always wanted to join the armed forces, you can fight a virtual war with real life Pakistani Generals and Naval Chiefs. The scene is straight out of a war zone – fire brims off the ticker, loud noises shatter the window panes and emotions run high. Above all, with the anchor on your side, you win.
Once you realize above benefits, it gets better. Tell me, which other show or person inspires you to be the best. With channels screaming about being number one and children following the supremely conscientious anchor with a suicidal love for his voice, we will soon be a country of leaders. Always number one. Leaving competition far behind. Decimating them for 100 weeks.

As for me, thirty minutes, once a day, five times a week has reduced my blood pressure by 20 mm hg. Regular gossip keeps me stress free. Twenty odd angry tweets per day help me vent out. Above all, constant carping criticism on TV creates space for positivity in my personal life. I mean, how much negativity can one tolerate, right? So I either make an extra effort to be happy, or be happy in knowing that nothing is good enough. 


Also on HuffingtonPost.

42 comments:

  1. That's a bitter truth and one of the reasons I can't remain loyal to one channel. I get khichdi of a news , and after a point it just stops to matter. Loved this post tough - it gives a peek into everything that's wrong with our news channels.

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    1. I try khichdi too. Just flip through them.
      Look forward to meeting you tomorrow.

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  2. You know I miss the DD days. News told in Simple non complicated manner, with decorum and dignity ! Our news channels are nothign but macchi bazaar these days !

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    1. Life comes full circle. Soon we will come back to good old simple DD.

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  3. You outdo yourself, Alka! I take issue with your first point, though - unless, by men, you mean ONLY Arnab Goswami :) I actually thought that being a panelist on his show was good training for men preparing for marriage. You get accustomed to the frustration of trying to get in a word edge-ways AND failing :P

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    1. Now that is another advantage. I should have thought about it.
      :) Thanks.

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  4. Hahaha...as long as it not your bum, there is fun in public spanking...loved this line. You forgot to add that they give migraine attacks making you aware that there is a brain within.

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  5. Someone should teach the anchor the meaning of debate.It is becoming too much for my ear drums.

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    1. I watch it only because I get fodder for my blog.
      :)

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  6. Ha ha.....Grabbing a popcorn and switching on a news channel.... All for the same of my heart.....

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    1. No more than an hour, once a day, five times a week. Overdose can be detrimental.
      :)

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  7. Ha ha.....Grabbing a popcorn and switching on a news channel.... All for the same of my heart.....

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  8. I wonder why people go on news channels and Twitter to argue and lunge for each other's throat. I thought that's why we get married. So that we don't have to fight with strangers!

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    1. Ha ha. I am new on Twitter but how folks vent out!
      A great platform for collective national catharsis.

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  9. Aap toh happy and healthy feel kar rahe ho, but one of these days, one of the 24 panelists on an Arnab show is definitely going to drop dead of a heart attack. On live TV.
    Then they will debate about that too.

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  10. Watching TV debates is no better than watching a street brawl these days and no matter what are the health benefits, they are rarely in a good taste!

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  11. Haha But like you said we should be glad there is a place to vent. That is exactly what the channels are doing, but the difference is they get paid for it. Tweeples dont :D

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    1. Given that anchors use hashtags in order to be interactive, tweeple voice does not go unnoticed. And that itself is a big thing in democracy. Barring a few incidents like when Ms De's innocuous tweet was used to intimidate her.

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  12. haha this reminds me of a debate on Headlines today hosted by the secular Sardesai.. They had conducted a survey asking people is communal intolerance has increased after BJP came into power and to their surprise, especially to Sardesai's surprise majority were of the opinion that nothing of that sort has happened...You should have seen his attempts to disregard the survey at that point because he clearly believed otherwise...

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    1. I saw the debate Naba. He kept repeating the 18 % communal intolerance figure. This post, in fact is triggered by his response.

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  13. I have stopped watching news, reading news, anything related to news. I prefer my world peace :P Although it would be interesting to get make my BP fluctuate once in a while :)

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    1. Try it, you'll get enough fodder for writing humor.
      :)

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  14. Lol! I should note these down and maybe prescribe these to my patients ;) on a serious note, i think the advent if 24 hour news channels is to be blamed for throwing off indigestable amount of shit every hour!

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    1. You are right. When you have to manufacture news 24/7, outrageous comments are the easiest topic. And so we don't have documentaries or short travelogues because there is no market. Viewers are also complicit.

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  15. Haha .....the news channels to some extent, really are stress-busters....But, Mr AG ..every time he starts shooting my husband says, "consider yourself lucky". :-D

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    1. Good Lord, I just realized we share the same initials. I mean AG and AG.

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  16. when TIMES NOW was new,it did start on right note and arnab was sensible.after a year ,arnab lost his mind to competition,he has become psychotic and unbearable.arnab goswami is just PSYCHOTIC. CNN is another news channel that is very repetitive,you will go mad watching cnn. bbc is lil better.but headlines today with rajdeep and rahul is better channel compared with indian news channels.everyone in times now are taught aranab mania journalism,they need some rabies vaccines.

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    1. The viewer is complicit if Times Now is the number one channel as Arnab alleges. I don't trust Rajdeep, he may be good but fair? Not sure.

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    2. rajdeep is biased and he does like most of them for survival. i din't say rajdeep is ideal,he doesn't irritate people with his debates like arnab does. rahul is more mild compared to everyone.there are instances during 2009 election where rajdeep took money from congress and has shown bjp totally negative.he gave up raja bhayya trial after airing raja bhayya interview exclusively on cnn ibn. media is totally corrupt,am not speaking of ideals.

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  17. Maybe I should start watching the news again. Will give lots of fodder for a post ;)
    That aside, nicely done, as usual, Alka.
    You've managed to capture everything that's wrong with our Indian News channels.

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  18. I miss out on all these benefits by not watching TV news :( Should have realised that after all there's at least some good in everything! Thank you for enlightening me, Alka :)
    Fun read!

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    1. The generous soul that I am, thought of sharing the benefits with the world. ;)
      But seriously, not for you dear Beloo.

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  19. Watching these shows, I get a vague feeling that I am one in the crowd by the roadside, gathered to enjoy the slinging match between two parties involved in a skirmish.

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    1. So good to see you here.
      My thoughts exactly.

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  20. Haha...I laughed out so loud my baby woke up!! Seriously, with entertainment channels (read saas bahu soaps) being deadbeat dumbass, news channels are the new 'popcorn with family' destination. I loved your post...bookmarking this one.

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