BJP lost because of hostile media
By Subhash Bisaria
It was the media that did the BJP more harm with its focused, negative, venomous and malicious onslaughts than anyone else.
How many public meetings did Rahul Gandhi attend—100, 150 or 200? Even if we take 5000 as audience listening to him (of whom many would be party workers) how many people did he reach? Just 10 lakh out of 110 crore. A pittance! But media reached him to all. Contrast this with Shri Advani, Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Rajnath Singh’s much more qualitative and substantive public meetings, how many people did it reach? Media, out of necessity, showed a few glimpses of those portions specially that were unimportant or controversial or quoted out of context. Harm done? Double. Plus it did not fail to hold group discussions, or sought opinion from so-called experts thus establishing the bias deep down in the psyche of the people.
I remember one Jan Jagran Abhiyan held at Balrampur Gardens in Lucknow for which people deliberated, held meetings and month-long preparations were done. The yatra conducted state tour and was received into the city from Hardoi. About ten thousand people attended it, but it was hardly reported by the media though they were all there.
What I mean to say is that nationalist forces fail to get themselves across to people. Similarly, BJP has many issues before it, but it can’t build up the pressure in the absence of media. Neither Shri Modi nor Shri Varun Gandhi are responsible for the debacle of the BJP. In fact, Shri Modi tried to rejuvenate the masses (but his Hindutva was often deflected or communalised by the media) of the Congress and media propelled notions of secularism. Hindus today need mass awakening, awareness and revival and for that a vibrant, honest and fearless media is required. Attitude of 110 crore Indians can’t be changed overnight but it can be done.
What can the BJP’s media do?
- Awaken 50 per cent non-voting class
- Mitigate the adverse publicity made by the secular media that maligns the Hindu image
- Restore the confidence and self esteem of the Hindus through short serials, documentaries etc on our great leaders like Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Vir Savarkar etc
- Counter the propaganda against the saints, RSS, VHP or other Hindu bodies. Show the other side of the coin too on issues pending before the nation. For example, Kashmir problem, show the plight of the Pundits in camps repeatedly, how their properties are being seized by the local jehadis in Kashmir. Infiltration by the Bangladeshis and plight of the local Assamese and Bengalis.
- Not to report the random cases of terrorism or conversions but to complete the jigsaw picture of converting India into the pockets of Islamic and Christian states and to seize power from the Hindus.
- Issues of distortions in the text books
- Convince how only swadeshi or India-centric policies can ensure food and employment to all
- Pick every opportunity, festivals etc, for talking and discussing the Hindu customs, traditions and scientific values attached to it and removing the doubts created by the opposition and many more.
- Teach Sanskrit and scriptures through TV
- Importance of cow
- Bring awareness to love-jehad where Hindu girls are purposely trapped by the paid Romeos then converted and married.
Even backward looking and averse to technology, Muslims have launched a channel deceptively called Peace Channel.
India has 5 crore cable network connections and DTH and if there are five members in a family the cable has a direct access to 25 crore people especially in the urban sector and incidently it was in the urban sector where the BJP lost more than in rural or Vanvasi areas.
Media made the poor victims as the perpetrators of crime in the following and created a false public opinion abroad
- Violence in Kandhamal
- Killing of Swami Laxmanananda
- Godhara retaliation
- Party workers should be respected and listened to
- No compromise on Hindu-centric ideology
- Media savvy
- Launch of at least two national magazines one in Hindi, the other in English and two TV news channels effectively managed and controlled.
Media has become partner of ruling party
Nothing is more distressing than to hear that corruption has entered the field of journalism. In pre-Independence days, journalism was a mission; now it has become business. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to take some of the more important newspapers as the last word in truth. Writing in the Free Press Journal (April 27) Sushma Ramachandran (described as an economic and corporate analyst) blasted business journalism in no uncertain terms. Here are some of her findings, which are extremely disturbing:
- “Many financial dailies publish news items that are blatantly one-sided…
- “There should be worries over the fact that puff pieces on the corporate sector seems to have become the order of the day. One leading mainstream English newspaper had a business editor for about a year who specialised in long articles praising one big business house after another.
- “There is a view within the media community that despite the huge salaries now being paid to business journalists in the print and electronic media, the incidence of corruption remains the same as when scribes were paid a pittance.”
The Indian Express (May 23) carried a report on the same subject, the occasion being an address delivered by the chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice GN Ray, at a seminar organised by the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication. Justice Ray in his speech expressed serious concern over “the paid-news syndrome” in the media describing it as the worst form of misinformation or even disinformation. The chairman said that presently journalists are “working on package”, that “editors are being marginalised” and that they themselves have allowed “devaluation of the dignity” of their high and respected office. Or take what Sevanti Ninan writes about journalists in The Hindu (May 24). Asks Ninan: “Should you believe everything you read about a candidate in a newspaper” and she answers her own question by saying: “Not after these elections.” In Madhya Pradesh and in Andhra Pradesh, money was charged for press coverage of candidates which according to Ninan gave “a whole new dimension to the business of media impacting elections”. It would seem that in Andhra Pradesh, especially, every Telugu newspaper and some of the Telugu news channels charged for positive coverage “at the same column centimetre rate as they do for advertisements”.
Apart from misleading the voters, that helped candidates circumvent the limits on election spending. Or take the issue of exit polls. The Hitavada (May 14) provided a list of eleven TV channels that broadcast exit polls and not one of them came anywhere near the truth and they included Headlines Today, Times Now, India TV, Star News, CNN-IBN, Aaj Tak and NDTV. How can so many of them, all run by professionals, go wrong? One can understand a couple of them slipping, but all eleven of them? Many of the so-called professionals went wrong also in 2004. Obviously, an explanation is called for.
One learns that the media earns from an election more so than in a year of no-electioneering. According to a report, one broker offered an independent candidate three weeks of coverage in four newspapers for a sum of Rs 10 lakh. Learning that a certain newspaper was running a bad report on a candidate, the latter is supposed to have paid Rs 4 lakh to stop it. What can we call it: black mail? For many candidates, money apparently is of no great consideration. If Deccan Herald (April 30) is to be believed—and why shouldn’t we?—some 223 millionaires and 258 with criminal record were in the election fray. To such, what is a sum of just four lakh rupees?
In the last Parliament, there were apparently 128 people with a dubious past of whom 55 were allegedly involved in serious crimes. In the new Parliament just elected, according to The Indian Express ( May 25), there has been a 19.15 per cent increase in their numbers with the election of 74 MPs who are accused of grave crimes. Voters may have rejected communism, but they have obviously not been able to differentiate between an honest man and a criminal. Or have the voters also been sufficiently bribed for their tacit support? Who knows? But, after all is said and done, the one painful question remains to be answered: How come all exit polls failed? They were apparently carried out by “professionals” who knew their job. But from what they prophesied, they were anything but professional. Anyone who knows something about exit polls knows what “sampling” means.
Writing in The Hindu (May 24) Sevanti Ninan asks a sensible question: “If reporters talk to candidates more than voters, how can they get their predictions right?” But then there is another question of even greater relevance. Think of the CNN-IBN showing times without number the scene of Varun Gandhi making those remarks that put him in jail. What lay behind this show? Was it necessary to repeat Varun Gandhi’s performance to the point when one felt like throwing up? Then there was that interview that Barkha Dutt had with Priyanka looking all so coy and saying how much she admired both her mother and brother. While Narendra Modi was sounding harsh most of the time, Priyanka was sounding so nice and gentle. Was all that part of a well-organised public relations job? One suspects that the Congress had appointed a better public relations firm than the BJP. But all this is hindsight. One will never know why the voter behaved the way he did though several answers are available and all of them sound very credible. All that we do know is that the voter had foxed the professional twice. That raises an important question: Do our professionals understand the Indian mind? Was the voter interested only in continuity of a government and not so much in who ran it? And in stability of a government and not so much in its ideology? Only time can tell.