The first week of August 2013 in India saw a heated reporting on the IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal’s suspension. The suspension was ordered by the UP government. Narendra Bhati, SP leader was caught saying, that he will suspend Durga Shakti in a month’s time. And the result was same. I will be discussing about the media’s approach toward this whole story and how theories are used while doing this by media houses.
Well, any news, which puts a state government in question, is bound to get coverage. Same happened in the case of UP government. Media picked up the line where the UP minister made a claim that he will anyhow suspend the lady IAS, which finally he achieved, and the media got a story. Media took a side, biased? It showed the politicians as villains and IAS Durga as the victim. No prior research was done by the media. The news became the most important issue. Hypodermic needle theory or magic bullet theory – the theory says that the news given by media is directly injected like a needle or shot like a bullet in our head. Thus, we see that the media projected this news as the most important ongoing issues of the nation and we accepted it directly.
The approach of media does have an impact on the government. The UP government ran out of answers and in terms of defending they even said that they would expose Durga and her family. The media reported this too and the centre had to come and intervene to stop this ongoing unhealthy war between Durga versus UP government.
Still, as the news progressed, there were stories which showed the both sides of the coin; the politicians versus the bureaucrat’s angle (a report by Economics Times), which puts the activities of IAS officers too in question. So we see that the approach of media was different at the start and later when the news was broken down into pieces. This helps us understand the theory mentioned above.
Also, theory agenda setting comes into play. The media set the agenda and moves around it. For example (hypothetical case), consider that media decides to show the story of Durga from the point of view such that- Narendra Bhati, SP leader’s statement looks legitimate and Durga’s suspension looks valid. This will be decided by media, that how to channelize the information and thus setting their agenda comes into play.
Thus, we can see that there are two angles to this story, from which media decided to pick one. The whole system of producing a content (about which I have written in my previous blogs vigorously) is to be understood clearly. So is it reporting or manufacturing news? Or it started with reporting and ended up being manufactured news? So, leave your comment and let’s discuss and try to understand this in more detail.