“Good hard blows are a delight to the mind” - Babuji’s quote (Big B Blog DAY 2984(!)) - is, indeed, an inspiring advice to Big B when he entered the boxing ring for the first time, but as a boxer in his school days he also must be aware that hitting below the belt is against the rules and no one would expect you to take it with a delight. I give you an example from the early years of Mumbai cinema scene, when there used to be a very reputed journalist, Baburao Patel, editor of the most famous film magazine of the era, Filmindia. He would give such hard blows to the makers of newly released movies with really bad reviews that most producers considered him a terror as distributors of new territories refused to touch the movies and they suffered terrible losses even before the films were released in most territories. Okay, it was his right as a film critic to criticise it to any length if he did not like the movie, but his criticism became questionable when his bias against a particular producer was so obvious that everyone in the industry knew in advance that the film would be condemned and shattered to pieces on the pages of his prestigious magazine. The biggest victim of his bias was the famous producer-director Mehboob Khan whose every film, including some acclaimed by other critics as classics, like “Aurat” which was later remade by Mehboob Khan in 1950s with the title “Mother India”, was severely criticised. This I would call hitting below the belt. What Big B has been getting from some of the media for quite some time are hard blows below the belt which are absolutely against the ethics of journalism and cannot be counted as constructive criticism.
“Why does the media have an agenda against a particular group, family or individual?”
The answer: It is yellow journalism. It is evident that journalism no more acts as the watchdog of the society, it has conveniently shifted its spotlight from the betterment of society to fulfilling their own desire of climbing higher on the ladder of TRP ratings. This precisely defines yellow journalism. And this is how the mind of a yellow journalist works: "He is too famous? Then I'll make him infamous."
One must ask, is this a genuine use of freedom of speech, or is it an act of deception. Why, might you ask, would a journalist ever want to do such a thing? For one reason: it sells. Commercial news relies on "their ability to continue to feed any form of public frenzy over scandal, crime, and sensational discoveries. Money is the driving factor in any economy and nothing will stand in anyone's way of obtaining it. Does this mean that reputations, personal lives and careers may be destroyed? Possibly. But scandal, secrets and sex sell, and in the eyes of some journalists, paychecks are much more important. How often do we hear the claim that journalists only give the public what the public wants?
Unfortunately, with the judicial system as it prevails, the targeted celebrities cannot do much to punish the perpetrators of prejudiced and biased reporting about them and their work. The only option for them is to ignore it as media's ethical failure and have hope that their fans and followers are not influenced by the media manipulated false stories on them. The silver-lining for them is that media's ethical failure is well known. Overwhelmingly the people expect the media to exercise the vast powers responsibly, and are constantly disappointed that this is not being done.