The Chutzpah of Media’s Sycophancy

A man walks into a lawyer’s office and asks how his consultation charges. “50 thousand rupees for three questions,” the lawyer says. “Gosh! Isn’t that kind of expensive?” the guy says. “Yes, it is,” says the lawyer. “What’s your third question?” This is what you called as Chutzpah. Chutzpah, pronounced “khoots-pah”, is audacity plus deception; it’s where arrogance meets presumption.

The recent events in public memory of two neighboring countries and coverage of media houses for this event are so contrasting in matter and perspective that it looks unreal and fictional war drama. I am referring to announcement made by Indian Army on September 29 that it carried out carried out “surgical strikes” along the Line of Control on seven terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) which caused “significant casualties” including two Pakistani soldiers. The strikes were conducted 10 days after the terrorist attack on an Army camp in Uri that left 18 soldiers dead.

However, Pakistan denied any such action and called it a “farce”. Pakistani newspapers reported that the announcement regarding surgical strikes was just used by Indian government to ‘fool its people’. The headlines show how the two nations will never be on the same page (and of course, no nation would want to accept covert operations of this magnitude). The Pakistani went on to say that they had killed eight Indian soldiers after the news of the Indian surgical strikes was released, but Indian Army denied those claims.

Surgical Strike

                                                                              This is how different ‘surgical strikes’ were covered in India and Pakistan

A few select people from India and across the border know what really happened. One country is rightfully claiming the truth while the other has farcely distributed wrong information and media houses from both sides of the border has absorbed it. The oblivion truth and media’s sycophancy baffles the experts here. Such is emotional charged-up atmosphere in India after Uri attacks that any anti-Pakistan act has been celebrated with great pomp and flare when the other side is claiming something else.

In case of Pakistan, media houses started by posting news of claims of surgical strikes and then started publishing statements from the authority that it was farce. The Chutzpah by which Pakistan authorities treated it and how media lapped it up shows media’s sycophancy to speak the mood of the nation. Amid the rising tensions between two nations, any news otherwise would have escalated tensions at home for both the nations. The same can be exemplified how media reports cricket in both countries as it is the only game both are good at and is served to public like daily dose of entertainment and sense of pride.

This sycophancy has viral effects. Media has power to shape our beliefs and influence our opinion. The incident seems to have mass effect on billions of people. After the surgical strikes, I posted a victory post on facebook to express my feelings of happiness. In reply to the post, my Pakistani friend replied, “Hahah bro there nothing like it…really don’t believe on #media only…you know it’s affected your stocks market and jerks very badly.” The reply got me thinking that truth could really be different for different nation. Media’s report was so influential that we could not think that truth could be something else. One nation’s citizens are fooled for sure and one nation firmly believes another.

Let’s look at hard questions. Why is media not quizzing the government for proofs of attack and vice-versa? Why is media accepting everything said and not doing their own investigations? Why has media lapped up popular emotions to serve people what they rightfully want to hear?

The truth may never come out as with most secrets at diplomatic levels. A child in Pakistan will grow up with view that India is trying to attack its nation and falsely claiming terrorist encounters in his land. The incident will have long-lasting effects and the chutzpah of few will surely go in history books of both nations.

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