I have thoughts, views and opinions and, like most Indians, some pretty strong ones too. However, I may not always have the full picture to base my opinions and views on, and this is where I value your opinions and views. I am willing to listen to reason, and a different perspective, AND am even ready to change my views and opinions, if I am convinced that you have added to my experience in terms of thought, words or deeds. Thank you dear reader for your considered comment.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Our Media needs to Introspect on why they believe that they are 'not out of touch with the news'!
An interesting article published at 06:52 PM on Jun 19, 2017 by Mayuresh Didolkar at www.myind.net. The article is reproduced from the mentioned website, as it makes a lot of sense to me. Sharing.
Modi does a Modi and picks Ram Nath Kovind as NDA's presidential nominee
Earlier today, BJP President Amit Shah announced the name of Bihar Governor and two time MP Mr. Ram Nath Kovind as the party’s nominee for the Presidential elections due next month. This was a completely unexpected move that no major media house could even hint at in advance. The reaction of the same media houses and their representatives, however, was completely on the expected lines.
“BJP’s Patil moment?” one asked. Another tweeted “And you thought Pratibha Patil was the worst choice yet”. Off hand, I don’t remember either of the two ever criticizing Mrs. Patil before. Rajdeep Sardesai called it “Uninspiring but strategic”. Shekhar Gupta called the Bihar Governor ‘an unknown’.
The people who are using sarcasm and scepticism to welcome the person who is probably going to be our first citizen very soon, are, largely, staunch opponents of the NDA government. Therefore, their cynicism about BJP’s choice should occasion us no surprise. But if you scratch beneath the veneer of urban snobbishness and elitism of the media elites, I am certain you will detect visible signs of unease. Unease about a model of business that is rapidly changing around them.
I have often said, that since 2014, media’s ability to control narrative has been at its lowest in the history of modern media. BJP’s victory in 2014, Brexit and Trump’s victory last year being just three examples where media went all out to pitch for a certain outcome and that outcomes was rejected in overwhelming numbers. And now, with Modi government at least, their insider access and ability to stay ahead of the news is completely lost. From successor to Dr. Raghuram Rajan to the surgical strike and from demonetisation to the Chief Ministerial choice for Uttar Pradesh, the mainstream media has been largely clueless about the eventual outcome.
While it is easy to give credit to Modi and his team for the tight ship they are running, I also suspect media hubris has some responsibility to this embarrassment too. A few days back, a columnist in USA had written about how the media bubble that is the geographical and ideological concentration of journalists along certain lines is causing them to lose connect with the masses and how the ‘groupthink’ was partly responsible for their inability to predict Donald Trump win in November. The problem is not too different in India too. If you are part of the mainstream media, you are likely to be located in one of the two large cities, you are likelier than not have similar thoughts on issues such as terrorism, secularism and economic development. Even worse, the stories you are chasing are likely to be restricted to the so called Lutyen’s circuit and thus while an IT raid on the house of Pranoy Roy becomes a cause of much alarm, a fellow journalist being burnt alive in a small town is almost not a news.
If you see the names being thrown around as potential presidential picks, you will realize that cutting through the ideological fault lines, they all had one thing in common- they were all big names that one could imagine being the talk of the cocktail party circuit. No wonder the name of the former chairman of the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation never came up.
The reaction to Mr. Kovind’s nomination points to a surliness of sore losers. To dismiss him out of hand just because he was not well known indicates an arrogant refusal to deviate from the narrative. Media’s take on this can largely be summed up as – if we were not tracking him then he must be somebody not worth tracking.
Can we instead ask our media houses what kind of tracking they did on this important news item and in light of the spectacular failure, what corrective action they plan to take? Can the media absolutely, in good conscience, assure us that there were no signs whatsoever of Modi-Shah duo considering Mr. Kovind’s name? If there were, why those signs were not read and reported more prominently?
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Every time Indian media gets a development about this government’s actions wrong, their typical response is either mocking the action or raising alarm over it.