The latest sensation in so called ‘intellectual spheres’ is the Sen-Bhagwati row. Both Economists and their opinions about each others viewpoint regarding policy and politics has become center of attention for Indian media.
Let me not write anything about ‘what’ the issue is about. But I would certainly like to write something about ‘how’ it has been made attractive by print media. The amount of space allotted to this issue is unbelievably large. Why? Simply because it sells.
Yes, Indian reader has been found to believe whatever he/she reads from newspapers. Seldom do masses probe into possible causes of events that give rise to a particular piece of news. They have a tendency to take facts and figures on face value. This is what media capitalizes on. They print/say and most of us immediately react via discussion/debate.
Do we really care to question their ideologies? Do we question their fairness? Do we question their ethical standards and objectivity?
If the answers to the above questions are not affirmative then such sensational headlines would be merely ‘touch and go’ kind of experience. Today’s opinion might be 180 degree contradiction of yesterday’s opinion. Shaky and unrealistic.
Sen-Bhagwati do have a lot to say. But both are academicians of highest order. They reflect spirit of transparent intellectual honesty and fearlessness. No wonder both are outspoken, loud and clear in their expressions. It is media that uses this openness to its advantage, to gather attention, increase readership and generate confusion that leads to thoughtless debates.
My only suggestion here, if I dare to think that I am capable of making one, would be that readers must complement reading of newspaper articles with original papers/books published by scholars like Sen and Bhagwati. That is the surest way to get influenced, if at all they decide to!