Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On the Toilet paper Of India

For all these years I have been in the US, I had TOI's home page on my bookmarks, and read it the first thing in the morning- it was my source of news from India- and it stuck on simply for historical reasons - it was the paper we used to get at home in India when I left India 8- plus years ago. It's not that i didn't notice how it had greatly deteriorated over the years. I did, I cringed, I ranted. But perhaps the effect was lesser online than if I was seeing all that crap in reams of paper in newsprint. My father had stopped subscribing to it by then in India. I just kept on- one of those things you just don't bother changing.

B hates the paper with a passion. He refuses to subscribe to any newspaper in India and refuses to watch any news channel. When I rave and rant about stuff I read about - via blogs or that I saw first hand - on TOI or NDTV or whatever- B is mostly blissfully unaware of it. I poked fun at him - told him he'd never know what was happening if he didn't see the news, however crappy it might be. But he did just fine.  And always pointed out that by reading the rag, watching clips on Youtube, I was giving hits to all these people whose work was so loathsome and comprised the very dregs of reporting, if you could call it that. Then there even came an article on TOI's front page that talked about how they had the most hits and were the most widely read english newspaper or something. And I realised I had contributed to a good fraction them, as I often revisited some horrible coverage on TOI - mostly out of horror and disbelief.

The Mangalore air crash coverage was the last straw for me. The article in which a bunch of reporters purport that one of the airhostesses might have "had a hunch" of the tragedy because of a "chilling message" that was her "last update" on her "Social networking site". It made me want to barf. And it is truly shameful that so called reporters will stoop so low, manipulate the words of someone who just died in a horrible tragedy, to just sensationalize news. There is no shred of responsibility or ethics in that front paged article let alone any quality research. It got over two hundred comments pointing out their shoddy research- and the factual incorrectness of it- but no attempt was made at retracting it or taking it down. What is most infuriating is how they have no accountability whatsoever.

And just when I was about to add to one more page count by checking again to see whether the article was still there or not, I decided to stop it. No more TOI for me. I deleted their link from my bookmarks and replaced it with The Hindu, to get my daily dose of news from India. And I urge you all, who rant and rave about pathetic coverage- to do just that. Stop paying for subscriptions, stop contributing to their hit counts online. All the raving and ranting and fisking is falling on deaf ears. Only a real significant reduction in their revenue will be heard by them. And that starts with each one of us.


P said...

Good job. I'm glad someone stopped reading TOI. I keep telling many of my Indian friends exactly the same thing B told you..but no one seems to be able to stop reading the rubbish on TOI, rediff and some other such "newspapers".
Journalism in India has gone astray. No news seem to require verification anymore. Worst part, many people actually believe in these articles too. I know about the article you mentioned because someone found it so 'chilling' that they posted it on their FB wall. How stupid is that!

shub said...

Heh, yes. Just yesterday I was wondering why people still bother when everyone knows it's all trash.

It really annoys me, their claim of most widely read etc. If it's true, it's disturbing.

Drenched said...

TOI? Really? Really? Where's your inner Southie? I thought all you guys read The Hindu which is actually a real newspaper unlike the toilet paper of India. I decided to stop reading it after Shobha De became a regular around 2003 or something. Good idea about the boycott. I am going to change the channel every time some "Duniya ka vinash" or "Ab aur kitna expose karegi Kareena?" kind of crap pops up on India TV and Zee News.

Boy said...

Choose between The Hindu and The Indian Express; the rest are all crap.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...


yeah. i also saw that article being tweeted and retweeted like there's no tomorrow. that's what made it worse.

I don't know why I'd still read it? I think it was perverse curiosity and shock.

Well, I grew up in Mumbai so I don't have an inner southie in me, for most. :) Yup- boycott those channels too.

IE is also good, I am enjoying the Hindu for now. It is such a welcome relief!