Anil Thakraney: TV media is out of sync

09 Mar,2012

By Anil Thakraney


TV media is out of sync

So then why did Rahul baba get egg on the face in Uttar Pradesh? There are many reasons being flung around, and they’ve been discussed to death on the various news channels. Do allow me to add my two-bits: the single biggest reason is that Rahul baba’s suave appeal works only in the urban areas of India, particularly in New Delhi. For the small townies, he means NOTHING. They don’t connect with his jet-setting lifestyle, the voters know he’s a fly-by-night dude. That, even if they voted for his party, Rahul baba will not be seen again till the time of the next elections.


If this is the case, and at least I think it is, then we have to question the excessive coverage our chap got in the TV news media all through the UP elections. If I recall correctly, on one show, BJP’s Ram Shankar Prasad accused a television anchor of being unfairly biased towards Rahul baba. He was right, of course. Compare the footage winner Akhilesh Yadav got with the Gandhi scion’s coverage right before the elections, and you will be stunned by the skew.


And this totally lopsided coverage happens because the news channel editors and their crew happen to be from India’s urban areas. And their mindset is therefore very urbane. They don’t get India’s small towns and villages, and just because they find Rahul baba to be a charismatic figure, it gets wrongly assumed that the rest of India does too. Well, that’s obviously not the case, as we just witnessed in UP (and in Bihar in the recent past). Media’s darling was shown the door.


The Rahul baba saga is actually a pointer to a large problem with our television news media. There is just too much attention given to the urban Indian middle class and their issues. To the cost of the rest of India. A girl who gets molested at Bandra station will become a sensational story. But a girl gang raped in Latur will get an apologetic mention. A small fire in a building in Bangalore will send TV anchors into a tizzy. But an entire colony burning down in Ranibennur will be covered reluctantly.


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And this is why television studio views and discussions have little relevance to ‘non-shining’ India. No amount of frothing and fuming in the news rooms will make any difference to vote swings. By the way, even as I write this, all the news channels are very worried about Rahul baba’s future. Lagey raho!




PS: Wow! Pakistan TV sounds like great fun. “Gadhe! Bewakoof! Stupid! Sharaabi!” All this on live television. Makes our Arnab’s chat show appear heavenly in comparison. Hello, we have a thing or two to learn from our esteemed neighbour.


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