Dear ToI, You Deserve The Slap You Got.

The recent ‘OMG Deepika Padukone shows cleavage’ controversy was mighty cathartic for me.

A newspaper is the first thing I look at in the morning, and the pain I felt every morning, for years, is indescribable. You hold the newspaper in your hand; you want to see what’s happening in the world. A supplement slips out on to the ground, with an article ‘Bips’ dog fucks Sushmita’s cat’. The rest of your day is shit.

The first newspaper I ever read was The Asian Age. They were gossipy too, but back in those days, even gossiping was done with class, I guess. At school, when I began to read the newspaper for cricket, it was The Hindu.

In my +2, I got to pick my own newspaper.

The Oriya newspapers were all printed on re-recycled paper, their pages greyish, their images blurred. Among English newspapers, The Hindu would arrive in the evening, so fat lot of good that did me. The other papers – The Indian Express, The Telegraph, The Statesman – were all published from Calcutta and carried news from there. The Times of India had a desk of their own in Bhubaneswar, and also, their pages were colourful and glossy.

And so, like a monkey that goes for a jangly toy, I chose The Times of India.

Shifting to Hyderabad meant a rekindling with The Hindu, and in spite of all its problems, it still is a better newspaper to read. They say ‘Tell Me Your Company, I’ll Tell You Who You Are’. I would say, what newspaper a person reads is also a parameter for me.

“If your window to the world is a sleazy money-minting newspaper, I wouldn’t credit you with much.”

– Judge Judgerson.

1. Gimmicky: The Times of India, especially if you read the mobile version, hits you as extremely gimmicky. Their headlines put the Sen in sensational. And what can I say about their entertainment articles!

All ToI entertainment articles are written in a certain way. It’s like the editor got a bit of news, it’s placed on the table, and the sub-editors are asked to make it as KLPD-ish for the readers as possible.

                                   ACTRESS CAUGHT TALKING ‘DIRTY’!

by Anjali Fakesurnamewali

Bollywood heartthrob Simran Shetty got ‘dirty’ on Wednesday while promoting her film ‘HairBrain’.

During the media interaction, the smouldering actress was asked what was her favourite city. When asked what she liked the most about Chandigarh, she said that it is the cleanest city.

She went on to add that all other cities should take steps to keep their cities clean and recycle their waste. Hmm, we wonder what made the actress to talk ‘dirty’ in public. Her fans sure want to know.

2. No Respect for Privacy of Any Sort:

While it preaches about the representation of women and stuff in its editorials, the entertainment section seems to have Shakti Kapoor as Chief Editor.
If Aishwarya Rai turns up at Cannes (which she does, every year), our brothers at ToI will publish an article saying ‘Aish’s hottest dresses at Cannes’. Shweta Basu was caught in the prostitution racket, there will be an article called ‘Actresses who were caught in sex scandals’. Out of which there will be two genuine cases, the rest would be ‘allegations’.
And not content with having people surf through such tripe, ToI ensures that they earn money while they are at it. So each of those articles will be in the form of a slide show, so you keep paying a little bit of your internet costs to educate yourself.
 
 
 
3. No Moral Compass Whatsoever: 
 
When the Times Group got into entertainment, it wasn’t in the GEC category, it was the entertainment section, in the form of ‘Zoom’, perhaps the most useless channel in the history of useless channels. For a group that claims to be the largest media conglomerate, encompassing TV, print, radio, and news, the quality of the channel seems like it has come from the Ramsay stable. 
 
Zoom leaves no ambiguity in what it wants you to do. Zoom – Isko Dekho. Isko dekho aur hippopotamus jaisa IQ pao. What passes off as ‘news’ on the channel would make even our sleazy brothers at TV9 – another torchbearer of sleaze – go ‘Yeh toh bada ToI hai’. Take for example this news about scratches on Deepika Padukone’s back. Which by the way was the reason for rising crude oil prices in the Middle East. 
 
 
 
4. Paid News: While the terms is freely thrown around in political battles and random bitching about the media, paid news is a highly problematic phenomenon. And our brothers at ToI are leading the way. You’ll regularly find articles called ‘Advertorials’ singing paeans about a company, institution, or personality. While it sounds like an oxymoron – how can ‘news’ be ‘paid’ for? – reading the Times of India first thing in the morning is a sureshot way to end up in an asylum. 
 

And in spite of the rather lame justifications for it, paid news is not the only problem. The front page of the newspaper is filled with ads for toothpaste, real estate, and underwears. And who can forget the fiasco they created when they entered Tamil Nadu. For those of you who live on Uranus, here is what happened.

The Times of India was entering Chennai, traditionally the stronghold of The Hindu. In true ToI style, they released an ad depicting The Hindu as a newspaper that puts people to sleep.

 
The Hindu reacted in stellar style, delivering one of the greatest bitch-slaps ever delivered, with an ad that showed Times of India for what it really is – an encyclopaedia of who dated whom. 
 
 
5.  Coverage of Rape/Violence News: In spite of parroting lines like ‘We shouldn’t shame the victim’ and other such rhetoric, the Times of India has its own unique way of reporting stories pertaining to rapes and molestations. Every story will have an image of a woman crying out, or covering her head in shame, or screaming in fear. These graphics stand out, adding further sensation to the stories, which aren’t really reported with much sensitivity. 
 
times of india

Every story has an image like this.

 

So here’s the deal, dear Times of India. You might be the largest read English newspaper in the country, but that is more due to the spectacular spawning rate we Indians maintain. It is hardly surprising that someone like Arnab Goswami heads your TV channel. Reading your newspapers feels like entering his brain for half an hour every day. 
 
If you really take pride in being the largest read newspaper in the world, grow a spine. Act like the largest read newspaper in the world, not like a sleazy daily version of Manohar Kahaaniyan. 
 
I am glad someone gave it back to you. You really had it coming. 

***

14 thoughts on “Dear ToI, You Deserve The Slap You Got.

  1. Ankita Shreeram

    Boring. I came here after reading your Aamir post but suddenly, Deepika isn’t a hypocrite. So what, you’ll support some and tear the others to shreds, depending on your whim and fancy? See everyone through the same bullshit-intolerant lens if you can. Else, you’re as bigoted as the people/publications you write about.

    Reply
  2. Anna (@Annagarg)

    I used to hate my newspaper (TOI) for the sheer dumb placing of their news and ads and a mix of both. I never even looked at the retarded entertainment section but there were enough problems with the main sections.
    Consider this, when rupee was falling against dollar, the pro establishment inclination that TOI has, it reported in the first 2 short paragraphs that our currency is falling and in next 3 long paragraphs it listed the currencies we were still better from. The currencies of countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, African countries, etc. There was no mention of the difference between so called worse-than-our-currency and the rupee. Just the names like I should feel thankful that we are still holding a good place. They could have covered the reasons behind the fall, government’s concern and plan of action… but nothing.
    I lost it.
    Since then, I am with HT and though they are nothing like The Hindu, I am somehow surviving. See, TOI being No. 1 and pro establishment, HT has to be against everything that TOI does thus more critical analysis of what government is up to. Also, No.2 means lesser front page ads. Moreover, No.2 always tries harder to come closer to consumer.
    I despise TOI.

    Reply
  3. Sitting Duck (@S_erendipits)

    you know, I stopped *reading* ToI a long time ago. Recently, though, I had to renew my subscription because (seriously) no other paper has as many sheets…and I need those for my puppy’s toilet. So, basically, for the sake of plentiful TP, I subscribe to ToI. BUT. I cannot in all good conscience be counted as a freaking subscriber to this shit paper anymore so, I will, once again, be cancelling the ToI and maybe subscribe to 2 (any) other papers to meet my needs. :-/

    Reply
  4. aneez (@aneezkunju)

    Excellent write up! TOI is a worst kind of newspaper which i abandoned a decade back. And I am very happy with my decision. The Hindu although boring and slightly Left, it is worth the buy and very authentic. At least they print grammatically correct. TOI u can find grammatical mistakes even in serious editorials.

    Reply
  5. hungoutodry

    What an excellent write up! I had no idea about the ToI Hindu tiff and I’m an avid Hindu reader (despite what they say about the caste that shall not be named) because at least it reports real news. Thank you for this?

    Reply
  6. Gaurav Joshi (@GauravJ_09)

    Lovely article. I’m also one of those idiots who reads times of India everyday. (I don’t really have a choice as Hindu isn’t available in Mumbai. And Hindustan times/Indian Express are as crappy as Times.

    Since you’re following this story, you ought to read the ‘so called counter article’ by TOI in reply to Deepika. It’s a disgrace that TOI is leading newspaper of India. What a shame!

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/We-dont-go-into-a-frenzy-when-cameras-capture-SRKs-and-Hrithiks-6-pack-abs/articleshow/42636398.cms

    And loved the Hindu ad. I had watched it quite a while ago.

    Reply

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