Polls Apart: Election Results & a Partisan News Media

12 May,2023

Picture taken from https://telugu.oneindia.com/



By Shailesh Kapoor


Shailesh KapoorIt’s the day of election results tomorrow. The prestigious and hyped-up Karnataka elections were held earlier this week, and Saturday is the appointed day for counting the votes. Election result days have always been fascinating, even when the results are a foregone conclusion, simply because there’s a format to the coverage that’s inherently real-time and suspenseful.


Of late, there’s an additional reason why I find news coverage of election results, especially in the electronic media, fascinating. And that is because, unlike all other news coverage, election results do not give the channels and the anchors much room to peddle their political agendas. Numbers don’t lie after all, and if the political party they bat for through the year is losing, anchors on news channels cannot spin a yarn of rhetoric like any other primetime show.


It’s like a ‘Gotcha’ moment for those who can see through the evident politics of our news channels. It’s that rare day when they must keep a straight face, and be careful of those Freudian slips, like “Why did we lose?”


Exit polls suggest that Congress holds the edge in Karnataka. If that turns out to be the case tomorrow, you can be assured that most of our news channels will delink these results with the 2024 General Elections. Using the Prime Minister’s mugshot as the party face being BJP is winning, but going with the local leader as the fall guy when BJP is losing, is now a well-known tactic.


The parallel narrative will be ready too, if the results come in closer than what the exit polls suggest, whereby the Congress doesn’t get a clear majority. In this narrative, the Prime Minister will take centerstage, and 2024 will be discussed more than Karnataka itself.


Election results are one area where social media feeds or internet articles cannot match the excitement that television can offer. But the predictable politics of our news channels have made election results coverage predictable too. How the TV industry has managed to make the few interesting TV formats they should have held on to less compelling with time is a mystery. Election results are high on that list, as are some reality shows, whose formats have been mutilated beyond recognition over the last few years.


Meanwhile, an exciting and ever-so-close season of IPL is entering its business end. With just one week of league games to go, at least eight teams are in contention for a playoffs spot.


It’s a weekend of two big contests, and for once, the sporting one looks like the one that will make for better TV.


Shailesh Kapoor is Founder and CEO, Ormax Media. He writes on MxMIndia every Friday. His views here are personal. To access the archive of his columns, please visit: https://www.mxmindia.com/category/columns/tv-trail-media/

Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Today's Top Stories