The standard algorithm goes this way:
When (bad events happen)
- Show visceral anger at the perpetrators and make a bold claim that the event did not really hurt us and that we stand strong and will get on with our lives. Cliched as it is, it feels strange if nobody says it, so the temptation to join that bandwagon is rather hard to resist. So as long as we quickly say it and move on to step 2, we should be fine.
- Then blame the administration/government/lack of security for letting it happen because hey, in India, politicians are to blame for everything, aren’t they? We blame the politicians, and they blame previous governments and those folks blame the Partition, and eventually, a route of reason can be traced all the way back to the first man who discovered fire back in Paleolithic times.
- Blame the media for a total lack of objectivity, balance, perspective and what do they call that thing we all need to lead a normal life? Ah yes, common sense.
- Optionally blame ourselves for being naive about (1), voting (or not voting) for (2) and not holding (3) accountable.
I am on step 3 right now.
The Indian Television media has essentially been saying:
“This is (insert channel name) TV and we are bringing terror live and exclusive. Nobody brings terror into your homes better than we do.Don’t you just love our choice of ominous orchestral music when we show random montages of terrorists?”
“We are proud of the fact that our TRP ratings are so high that even the terrorists holed up inside prefer to watch us broadcast live and exclusive updates on what exactly the commandos are doing at the moment. At the moment, the commandos are attempting to breach the 5th floor window. Bang. Oh my god. There has just been an explosion near that very window”
“Why are we not carpet bombing Pakistan? Enough is enough”
“Here we have with us a token journalist from Pakistan, and here is my question to him – You guys are guilty. Admit it. Why are you wasting our time trying to give us other perspectives that could confuse our viewers.”
“We don’t really understand social media, but we will also add to the noise by sharing updates from twitter as unverified facts just to cover our bases. We are told that quite a few tweeters were actually tweeting about stuff they saw on TV, but hey, isn’t that a wonderful recursive loop?”
“If you are not scared, you should be, because I’ll get fired if I don’t scare you enough. Can I show you security camera footage of those terrorists in a loop set to dark and ominous music?”
“May I also distract you by reminding you that our politicians suck?”
“The Taj Hotel is the icon of India. Hold on a second. I’m getting a text message from some one named S Jahan claiming that he built something more iconic on the banks of the Yamuna, but no worries. That’s probably a hoax.”
“This is India’s 9/11. At least for now. The Suburban train attacks of last year were the 9/11 of last year, and Parliament attacks were the 9/11 of their time. In fact, going all the way back to 1993, the blasts that killed more people and damaged more property were, in a Back-to-the-future kind of temporally warped way, the 9/11 of 1993.”
“Are we really safe? Our brave reporters went undercover and did a sting operation on hotel security in other cities, and all of you should shake in fear at what they uncovered. We were allowed to drive through security despite having a Leo Mattel toy machine gun in our boot. That could have been an AK-47.”
“Here are some reports that are coming in, live and exclusive. Needless to say, they are unverified. But hey, we’ve created enough FUD that we could practically afford to fire our fact checking department to save costs, and tell you any damn thing we want to. Wolf!”
“We are bought to you by products you ought to be buying whether you need them or not”
And we are all comfortably numb