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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

You call this news?

So, after posting about the 'interesting' horoscope for the day, and because 'one good turn deserves another', I thought I'd write something about a particular incident that took place late last night. The Times of India (TOI) had a small article on the front page that detailed this incident briefly. Another newspaper, Vijay Times (VT), had this article too..except for the fact that they severely botched the facts.

Let me tell you about what I've seen of VT. Now, they started up about last year, and their main 'hook', as it were, was the fact that they had color on every page, as opposed to just the front and back pages and the supplements having color. This is what 'real' newspapers like The Hindu and TOI are like. Well, I have my own issues with the changes that TOI seems to be undergoing, namely it becomes more of a tabloid with each passing day...but they're still far better than VT which is pretty much already there. Also, since they first came out last year, they've been promoting themselves in a big way. How so? For example, we get VT free for three months...and thank God we're already a month into it! They've been consistently handing out free newspapers at traffic signals and at bus stops. But where are they getting their money from? I mean, how are they making anything if things have been 'free' for so long?

Alright, that's enough of that. Now, and in an attempt to get back to the story for a second, the incident was basically that the forest minister's son had been arrested for firing his weapon at and injuring a man inside a pub. He did this because apparently, the man, who is now in hospital, said something insulting/obscene to/about one of the people in the shooter's group; a friend's wife. And that's pretty much what happened. Here's what TOI had to say about it.
The TOI version

Pay attention to the title. Also, pay attention to some of the basic facts, namely that the shooter's name is Suryakanth Narayan Nagamarapalli, son of Gurupadappa Nagamaraplli, the Forest Minister, the man with the insults is Ajith, and the man who got shot is Rathan Kumar. The incident took place at 1912, as pointed out by TOI, and for those of you who know about it or have been there it's where the old 180 Proof used to be.

Now here's what VT had to say about it.

The VT version

Again, notice the title..."near" a pub as opposed to "in" a pub as told by TOI. Pay attention to the cartoons/illustrations too. 1912 is housed in a nice, Victorian-looking, granite structure. They've depicted it as another one of the local 'liquor shops'. And what about the name of the shop according to the illustration? 9/12aaaaa? What? Dude, at least get the name of the place right.

Then there's the whole 'conspiracy theory' about the bullet 'ricocheting' off the lamppost and hitting Rathan Kumar. As for the nature of his injury, according to TOI the bullet hit him in the collarbone. According to VT, however, the bullet after ricocheting off the lamppost and hitting him from behind as depicted in the cartoon, "[pierced] the chest of a completely unsuspecting fellow patron Ratan Kumar who happened to be entering the bar at that time." Hmm...interesting no?

And what of Suryakanth, the shooter, and Ajith, the dude-with-insults? They, according to VT, were friends who got into a quarrel outside "9/12". Oh, and let's not forget that his name is Suryakanth Patil...he he he.

So here's my question, and no, it's not which one of these is the 'right' version/account of what happened. Why would a person waste her/his time reading garbage that is at best cooked up, and at worst the "Bollywood" version of what happened? And in all fairness to "Bollywood", I'm referring to the dishum-dishum movies from the 80's. Who would have time to read such nonsense on a daily basis. And, most importantly, how can anyone, let alone a fledgling newspaper, get away with such a blatant act of 'disinformation' of the public. Wow. Something tells me it's an obvious attempt at pulling the wool over our eyes. But why? What on earth for? And the 'icing on the cake' is the fact that this is a local news event. If they can't get the facts regarding a story that happened in their very own city right, then why the hell should anyone trust them with national/international news?

Comments people. Is anyone as appalled as I am?

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