Propaganda – Blatant? Or Subtle?
I really don’t have too much of an inclination in terms of one political party or the other. But I can’t help notice how some media entities blatantly support one over the other. I have been a regular reader of the Times of India for over 15 years now and am making this post before calling up the newspaper guy tomorrow to get my subscription changed to something else. Their sense of fairness in covering news has fallen to an abysmal low.
Two days ago, the results of the elections held to five Indian states came out. Next day, the first page of my ‘favorite’ paper had a headline saying ‘Cong Wins Semis 3-2’. For god sake, Mizoram is one of the five states and BJP bucked the incumbency factor and retained two states. TOI still thought Cong had a major victory! This headline was at least much better than what IBNLive had posted – ‘Congress decimates BJP’s terror plank….’
Below that main headline was an article titled “BJP terror card doesn’t pay”. In MP, BJP got about 70% of the 230 seats. In Chattisgarh, it got 55% of the seats. In Delhi, they won more seats than last time. But still, the media celebrated the disastrous ‘failure’ of the party.
Below that second headline was an article titled – “Congress unveils Mascot Rahul”. Awesome propaganda through one of the ‘leading’ newspapers of India.
But what was completely unbelievable, and, the clincher in my decision to switch away from the paper was this table they had put together next to the main article called “Snakes & Ladders” which had 10 names in it – 5 “Bouquets” and 5 “Brickbats”. It was as below (Times of India, Bangalore version, December 9 2008)
- Sheila Dikshit (For leading Cong to crushing victory in Delhi)
- Shivraj Singh Chauhan (For winning MP)
- Raman Singh (For winning Chattisgarh)
- Ashok Gehlot (For leading Cong charge in Rajasthan)
- Mayawati (For expanding BSP’s footprint)
- Vasundhara Raje (Losing Rajasthan)
- Ajit Jogi (For failing to win Chattisgarh)
- Suresh Pachauri, Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath (The 3 who failed in MP)
- Arun Jaitley (In charge of BJP’s Delhi campaign)
- Venkaiah Naidu (In charge of BJP’s Rajasthan campaign)
I have reproduced the above lists verbatim from the newspaper.
Notice how the word BJP is missing from the Bouquets section and the words ‘crushing victory’ and ‘charge’ used for Cong. Again, in the Brickbats section, the word BJP has come out very clearly while Cong is missing. BSP won 7/200 seats in Rajasthan, 2/69 in Delhi, 2/90 in Chattisgarh, 7/230 in MP – thats a total of 18 seats out of nearly 590 seats and it finds a mention in the list.
The propaganda has become blatant!! No longer can we rely on such media for ‘fair’ reporting and analysis. And the television channels are even worse!