May 18, 2007

NDTV's Deceptive Game

I loved this:

The stark disconnect of various presenters and guests, particularly on NDTV, from the dynamics, as it were, of the elections and the real people who voted was painfully palpable.
On NDTV, particularly, the debate anchored by Prannoy Roy and Barkha Dutt remained stuck in the street-smart rote of petty machinations and manipulations. With a few similarly myopic and dishonest politicians for support, they hopelessly tried to explain why their "intelligent" media representing the superior "English speaking universe" and their supposedly ultra sophisticated predictive models, totally failed not only to foresee what was coming but also to subsequently see what really happened.

The only thing Barkha Dutt saw, as she wrote glibly in the HT, was that the voters were smart!

I recall the exit poll results after the first phase of polling on NDTV. The image that remained glued to my mind was that of Prannoy Roy hyper-excitedly telling viewers like a schoolboy that the "Rahul Gandhi" factor was working exceptionally well, almost in the fond hope that such proclamations would influence voters to vote for the Congress.

This deception continued right till the very end even when all other exit polls were not half as gung-ho about Rahul's impact and the results started coming in. Psephology had obviously taken a backseat to the political agenda of the news channel. Even, when all was lost for the Congress, Roy and Dutt simply could not go beyond the usual brain-dead reasoning and the "analysis" of how the Congress was important to the BSP, particularly because of the Taj corridor case against Mayawati!

Not a word telling the viewers that Rahul Gandhi could get victory for his party in only six of the 108 or so constituencies he vigorously campaigned with virtually saturated media coverage. Such a huge investment of airtime and money wasted... they both seemed more devastated than the Congress for this loss and completely oblivious to the monumental significance of Mayawati's victory.[

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