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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Is Media a Sucker?

Or are these lazy moghuls playing the game?

I believe when the majority of the electorates voted in the General Elections in 2014, they voted with a one worried eye on their wallets. I am not referring to cadres or members of political parties but to the general unaffiliated voters. Truth is one can never win elections only on the back of cadres and members, at least not in a fair election, not in India, not yet.

Just to refresh our collective memories, if we remember the primary discourse during the elections was development colourfully described as Achhe Din or Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas mentioned in more details here.

I am is a Salesman trying to earn an honest bread. I equate Achhe Din with receipt of fairly decent and steady orders, growth in my business, faster collection of receivables and customers visiting if not thronging the stores to buy without me having to resort to offering never before discounts. As a result of the above, hopefully an increment and the confidence to invest in long term asset building products. If the above are the benchmarks, then I am sorry the Achhe Din hasn’t arrived for me yet. I expect many to proclaim that it takes much longer time to correct "60 years of misgovernance". However my expectations are not some lofty scenario of customers queuing up at stores but a nominal movement upwards to clear my inventory and a sense of assurance to produce further. Sorry I don't see that happening. Ennui persists.

That brings me to the topic of this note. The primary discourse that I notice if we are to glance at the Media headlines or twitter trends gives me an impression that the media has been given a sucker punch. Beef Ban, communal polarization, reservation have been the focus of its attention. This is just what the Govt would have wanted! I am not discounting any of these issues and should be rightly highlighted and discussed but don't we know every election season from time immemorial in India communal polarization has been attempted and often achieved, political party no bar? Wasn't ban on beef in the rulebooks of most govts for decades? Aren't we aware that no Government worth its salt can do away with Reservation? And yet every statement, every event, every occasion is being projected as a threat to the very Idea of India. Sorry! The Idea of India is not so fragile that a few hotheads can usurp and destroy it.

Instead of debating and asking questions on hard issues like the economy, the media has swallowed the bait thrown by the proponents of disruption. I would like the media to ask the Govt where is the black money that was to have been recovered. Where is the growth that will put more money in my wallet? Where are the jobs? Where are the investments on the ground? What happened to GST? Why isn't the govt able to manage a miniscule opposition and ensure functioning of the parliament? Instead of asking tough and relevant questions, the media is being taken on a ride by disruptive discourse and they are following it like the mice did to Pied piper! And in many cases the media themselves have been digging at molehills in the hope of unearthing a mountain. The focus, instead of being on the Govt's performance or the lack of it, is on social media trolls!

I concede many of the relevant questions mentioned above have been asked and continue to be. But even a lay observer will agree the consistency with which media has chased these issues when compared to the shrill decibels and airtime/newsprint allocated to 'constructive' issue of the escapades of a certain Indrani Mukherjea has been zilch!

The Nation wants to know?

Lastly, if we agree on the above premise, then the question asking to be begged is why is the media so doing? My view is the media is not investing sufficient time, money and mind to research questions which can make the govt uncomfortable while answering in a promise vs delivery debate. And more likely, TRP and Circulation not to forget clicks are easier achieved by airing emotional and divisive issues than hard hitting constructive ones. The media is following the Pied Piper because it wants to. Media is being taken for a sucker because it has allowed itself to be so! 


PS: After overcoming the tyranny of distance for a case of ‘national’ importance, Indrani Mukherjea, and conveniently forgetting the devastating floods in the vicinity possibly due to it being only of ‘local’ importance, thus spake every media rockstar  “Does Indrani Mukherjea case deserve so much of attention?”

Achhe Din : Happy Days
Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas : Development for all, with all.