Just check some of the stories that appear in the media nowadays…
Will Priyanka enter active politics in the 2014 polls?
Was Priyanka to fight with Modi in Varanasi?
Priyanka denies that she was to fight Modi in Varanasi.
Priyanka not to enter active politics this year…
Add all that together and there never was any story in the first place. There was great speculation whether Nehru-Gandhi dynasty member Priyanka Vadra would enter politics in 1999, 2004 and 2009 too, but it was all a waste of space.
The truth is all this actually forms a part of “Red herring journalism”. The dictionary defines a red herring as: Something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue.
That’s the case here. When the media doesn’t want to discuss a particular issue, then it picks up something else to discuss with full gusto to obfuscate the original one. If you had to pick out the biggest story of the last 10 years, then it would be how Congress President Sonia Gandhi has brought the nation on the brink of ruin.
However the media has been busy with something else.
First, how many scams have come out in the last couple of years? Dozens! Aren’t they an investigative journalist’s delight? But most of the major scams have been brought out by bodies like the CAG and CVC.
The media has mostly broken exposes against only one man: BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Take a look at the security situation of the country. The Indian Navy hasn’t seen such bad times. An Army chief fought with the government and joined a rival party along with many high security functionaries.
Chinese forces are making incursions regularly. Pakistan moves are also suspect and things may get worse when the US pulls out of Afghanistan.
The Indian Mujahideen is the single biggest threat to internal security.
Yet the single biggest story revolving around security happens to be the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.The coverage is always skewed in this manner.
Just take the case of Arvind Kejriwal.
A recent opinion poll says that BJP will get 226 seats, the Congress will get 92 seats and the AAP will get 1 seat.
Another report comes of the media coverage given to leaders during this same time period is: 1. Arvind Kejriwal. 2. Narendra Modi. 3. Rahul Gandhi.
Why this crazy and unhealthy obsession with promoting Kejriwal as a PM candidate and promoting the AAP in such a lop-sided manner? When the AAP stormed to power in Delhi and Kejriwal became CM a lot of people thought that they could be a factor at the national level.
But a lot of water has flown under the bridge and the AAP is no longer a factor. Kejriwal has been reduced to a joke. So why do the media outlets continue their coverage? What’s their agenda?
Why was Rahul being promoted so strongly by media outlets despite having zero days experience as a Chief Minister, zero days experience as a Cabinet Minister and zero days experience as even a bureaucrat?
Why this obsession with Priyanka? Why this fixation to save Sonia at any cost?
There was a time when the mainstream media always knew the pulse of the nation and reported accordingly. However ever since the CWG scam has broken out, the media has been in a desperate denial.
They have been attacking Modi with all their might. They have been pushing Rahul with all their might. They have been propping up Kejriwal with all their might.
Interestingly that is one reason why the social media is gaining pace. Whether or not their penetration is high, they are setting the pace. What the SM says today, the mainstream media says tomorrow.
The rural masses may not have heard of SM, but politicians, editors and intellectuals are rattled by it and are changing their behaviour accordingly, usually for the worse. They have already entered a vicious circle where the SM is winning hands down.
If Modi does indeed become the Prime Minister, then he would be one of the first to totally by pass the mainstream media and it is in danger of becoming irrelevant.
Why is the media behaving in this way? Is it due to paid news like its critics claim? Is it due to the fact that the media sees itself part of the establishment of India which is too closely wedded to the Congress?
Either way, the mainstream media in India in its current form will perish in the long-run if it doesn’t re-invent itself after 2014.
More from the author:
Misogynist politicians: Roll of dishonour
Six firsts if Modi becomes PM...
10 priceless Kejriwal U-turns
Leadership SWOT analysis: Narendra Modi
How everybody really loves Modi
Manmohan, the butcher of India's national security
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.