He caught the eyeballs of the whole nation, when, for the first time he became the chief minister of Gujarat on 7th October 2001. It was after his swornship that Gujarat faced the worst hit of riots in 2002. Many accused him as the main reason for those riots. It is because this that he is always in media. He may like it or not, but the media would never leave his trail. In media terms, Narendra Modi is a ‘Newsmaker’.
Media knows the value of Modi. The weightage attributed to Modi is very high as compared to any other politician in India. His speeches are so carefully heard by the media personnel and only one casual word from his mouth can make a big front page story or breaking news on any television news channel. The end product is a fabricated, scripted and media manufactured word. My intension in writing so much before actually coming to my point is that, I want to make my point clear that how media not just reports but manufactures news at times.
Recently Modi was in news for his comments, which he made in his interview with the Reuters news agency. Now, whether the comment was controversial or did the media made it look such? Well, both the possibilities cannot be denied. Now let examine through the point of view of the media.
2014 elections are near, and media is on top again, chasing sensationalism. Media did a simple thing, played the only part, where Modi uses the word ‘puppy’ and ‘Hindu nationalist’, of the interview again and again. So, without telling us the whole scenario it is only reporting that which can spark a party against party war and media can get a full loaded content for telecasting 24*7. This is very clear on how media is setting its agenda (agenda setting theory, refer my first blog for more details on this theory). It is not giving us the false side of the story but also not delivering the whole truth. This is how media should perform its social responsibility?
Now, the reporter from Reuters who interviewed Modi made a clear statement that the context in which modi said these lines were not at all controversial. He was just explaining a situation but the media projected it otherwise. Is media setting their agenda for the 2014 election? Is the media giving us what we want and not actually what is required by us? Is just taking bytes of various leaders from various parties on a particular topic and filling up content slot is media’s main motto?
There are a lot of questions which go unanswered. And we are a part of this dumbing down of news. It at times also depends on our peers, on what opinion we form. There is always someone, to whom we look for guidance or in our opinion forming. What if the person we are counting on is biased? Two Step flow theory; which states that whatever information we acquire, comes two us in two stages. First from the media to the opinion leader and then from the opinion leader to us. Hence, we listen to what the opinion leader says. Also knowledge theory plays a vital role here (for further information about this theory refer to my first post).
This is how the news media works sometimes. Yes we cannot do much about it but we can make ourselves aware of the media business and thus can help ourselves in forming right decisions.
Well as always, you are free to drop your comments and yes I will answer your queries for sure. Also if you want to know more on media and contemporary reporting, be my guest and go through my earlier posts.