Last week, even if Maoists had killed over 2000 and left them on any main street in New Delhi including in front of Parliament House or if T Rajendhar had won both the Oscars and the Grammy for lifetime achievement or if Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden were revealed to be gay partners, we would not have had even a clue about them from the various sections of the Indian media. You know they (the media) had no time for them as they were fully immersed in giving us the most inside of info and up-close details on the IPL shenanigans.
The coverage of the IPL has been so comprehensive that even a man in the street can tell you now with authority as to what brand of inner-wear Lalit Modi sport inside his bespoke suits or whether Sunanda Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor use...well, forget it, this is getting too intimate.
The point is we are all so well fed on the IPL that we know everything about it, except the part that is shady ---- that is to say all parts of it. The round-the-clock frenzy on television over the murky sideshow in the IPL must go down in history as those moments that were accompanied by round-the-clock frenzy. Beyond this, nothing is clear.
Here is what happened on three main English news channels. What you are going to read may sound silly and stupid. But understand, satire has its limitations. The reality was far worse.
Arnab Goswami: We can now confirm to the viewers that this channel is the first one to break the news this afternoon after breaking news in the morning and also breaking news last night in the continuing saga of rapidly unfolding events of fast breaking news for the benefit of viewers of this channel.
We now have on the phone line our chief political editor who has been constantly tracking all that is happening on the cricketing arena for the last 20 years or so (To the correspondent on the phone line) Okay, tell us what breaking news do you have for the viewers of this channel that has been breaking news in breaking news?
Correspondent: Arnab, our sources in the Home Ministry, which has been probing cricket events, have just confirmed to us to that the latest developments that we have been breaking to the viewers of this channel are indeed confirmed. We can also tell the viewers of this channel that we break only confirmed news. Back to you, Arnab
Arnab Goswami: Indeed it is a very damning piece of information. It has been a momentous period and the time has come to ask the question that every cricket fan in every corner of this country who has been watching this channel is dying to ask in the light of what has been unfolding before us in the last week ever since we first reported the first-ever reported ..... and as I am speaking to you, we have more breaking news coming in from our chief cricket correspondent who has been keeping track of politics for the last 20 years...
Rajdeep Sardesai: As the clamour for the nationalisation of the IPL gets louder and louder, CNN-IBN has learnt from extremely reliable sources in the External Affairs Ministry, which takes care of cricket played across the globe, that the government has decided to completely internationalise the IPL and bring it under the ambit of the UN. For the latest on this development, we are joined in by our sports editor who is in charge of foreign affairs.
Correspondent: Rajdeep, indeed sources close to the development aver that the government has moved close to the idea of internationalising the IPL in the face of mounting concerns in Parliament. With heavyweights like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav, who are neither allies nor rivals but wouldn’t mind if Ministerial posts are offered to them, making it clear that they want to do something to the IPL including banning it, the government has veered down to the view of internationalising cricket and pushing it to the UN.
Rajdeep: To get a true perspective on this new turn, we have now with us, okay he never gets anywhere out of the studio, Suhel Seth, who is an expert in being an expert on all matters whenever a mike is proferred near him.
Suhel Seth: This is backdoor cronyism. The government seems to have bowed to the pressures of the lobby that wanted the IPL banned.
Rajdeep: How does IPL being taken to the UN amount to it being banned?
Suhel: (Shaking his head and dishevelling his already dishevelled hair further), Rajdeep, who heads the UN? It’s Ban. So taking IPL to UN is prima facie, not to speak ipso facto, banning it.
Anyway, the way out of this mess is more clarity. The need of the hour is transparency, especially since Shilpa Shety and Priety Zinta are involved in this. As far as Sunanda Pushkar goes, let Shashi Tharoor bother about transparency. But any way, her case is a see-through.
Barkha Dutt: According to reports just in, the Congress has made it clear that the IPL mess has to be cleaned at the earliest. In fact Congress sources are telling us that Sonia is discontented with the developments that has brought disrepute to the game and also seen several thousand crores of rupees flow to the NCP. It is also learnt that Rahul Gandhi is unhappy with the state of affairs. (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for his part, continued to maintain a facial expression that means to mirror Sonia’s anguish. Of course, Barkha did not say this).
We have in our studios, Shashank Manohar, the president of the BCCI, which is supposed to run the affairs of cricket in this country.
Barkha: Mr Manohar, Hasn’t IPL done more harm to cricket than develop it?
Shashank: The game of cricket is...
Barkha (interjecting): So you mean to say cricket is just a game; if so how do you explain the crores and crores of rupees flowing to the game that has caused anguish to Sonia, Rahul, and perhaps others?
Shashank: Money and market forces....
Barkha (interjecting): You are suggesting that the market is forcing things upon your organisation? Are these forces inimical to the nation’s secularism and Sonia Gandhi (and Rahul Gandhi)?
Shashank: Modi is....
Barkha (naturally interjecting): Ok, without needing to put any words into his mouth, Shashank has eloquently stated that Modi’s presence is detrimental to the country’s secular fabric and leather.
(clang, cling, bang ...sound of TV screens being smashed to smithereens in many households).