I love being an Editor

 Mail Today | New Delhi, August 31, 2014 | UPDATED 10:43 IST
Original link is here 

The editor’s free articulation of his views can ensure voices of public figures can often be drowned out.


I am a noble soul and was a spiritual glint in my parent’s eyes. I am the editor of a newsroom in the mightiest democracy of the developing world. I have immense responsibilities; to my image, to my brand, to my viewers and to my ever growing legion of fans. News is all about perceptions and I am the master conjurer; I love stoking your imagination and I love being an Editor.

For the last twenty-five years I have been part of a great game that I first devised and then played, with the rules always keeping up with my moods. News is, but a reason that brings me and mine closer, our monologue is what defines the nation, my sermons are what weaves together the believers and my outbursts are what keep the nation straight. I answer to a higher calling and carry a spiritual burden. I love being a digital gladiator, I love being an Editor.

I am the toast of the town. I have the best cars, reside in posh parts of town, host the fanciest of parties and am invited to every classy bash. Everyone who is anyone has my mobile number. Those who want to be someone, want my number. The numbers I delete are of those about to be obsolete. My recommendations for minister, for constitutional posts, for everything that means anything under the Indian sun, count for everything. I love being the hub, I love being an Editor.

Edicts

The past two decades or more of political chaos were the cue for me to assume leadership. In the absence of a worthy national leader, every ram, shyam and ghanshyam, in or out of the cabinet,tripped over themselves to give me a scoop -through leaked cabinet papers, or edited taped conversations. I know about government decisions before they happen. My voice on prime time is the national edict of the day. My criticism rolls back domestic policies and my whims lead to or prevent international crisis. I love being responsible. I love having the troubles of the world rest on my broad shoulder, I love being an Editor.

The Clintons talk to me of their plans and Kerry curries favour with me. I discuss the Middle-East with the Sheikh, human rights with The Aga Khan and secularism with the Pope. I know more about climate change, trade, IPR and security than I care to remember. Yet, my humility allows me to invite meek voices on my show. I need them as I need to share my wisdom. It is my adherence to the highest principles of corporate social responsibility that makes me share my studio with lesser beings. I love being humble. I love being an Editor.

What impresses me most about myself is how politically correct I am. I question the morals of politicians and businesses and babus and all the wayward souls. I fight to keep my studio mine alone. It is an endowment from the almighty. I resist any attempt by any political party, ideology or business agenda to capture this sacred space.

I show great accommodation when the nation seeks it. I allow colleagues to promote political agendas for months before finally taking the plunge and joining a political party. This is not space capture by a political unit as some have observed. This is a training programme for becoming spokespersons of political parties. I love grooming leaders. I love being an Editor.

Business

My job requires courage and this is what excites me most. I stand besides booming guns in the Himalayas because this makes for good TV. Yes, the infantry may cop a bit of counter fire – but that is the nature of the beast and brutes. I courageously describe the progress of counter terror operations in Mumbai to our next door neighbour, because you see news is global, information is power and would it be fair to deny me to the rest of the world? I love being valourous, I love being an Editor.

I hate the corporates and everything they stand for. They take credit for creating the business we’re in. Just because they created the platform, the networks and provided the technology and funds? Huh! They’re missing the wood for the trees because ‘I am Content’ and therefore I am the business.

Accountability

I hate their demanding accountability from the newsroom. What do they know about the power of this space? Or, how to exercise it. After all, did I not suppress a coal scam or two or a pharmaceutical fraud with sophistry? Did I not exonerate guilty as hell CEOs in the court of public opinion? Heck! Did I not cover up my virtuous friends land grabs in and around Delhi? I hate transparency, cloak and dagger love is so much fun. I love all the deals in the dark. I love being an Editor.

But the moment seems to be slipping away and a new game is in town. A man elected by the masses is in power, a government with a mandate to govern is on the job. And these accursed ministers appointed without my blessings. Aagh! Journalism through “access”, once a fine art is now dying, much like those dying crafts this nation hates to treasure and preserve. I feature in my sob stories every now and then. Self-pity is my companion, international press my friend. I’ll have to bide my time. Better still, I think I’ll perfect the prototype of a new-age victim. I love being a martyr, I loved being an Editor.

The writer is vice president at the Observer Research Foundation and tweets as @samirsaran

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