ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Media as Gospeller

The Indian media’s coverage of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was marked with an obsession for polls and polling.

Henry Luce of Time once famously advocated the theory of “fakery in allegiance to truth”. In the Lok Sabha elections that swept the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Narendra Modi to power in the world’s largest democracy, the fakery in the media plumbed abysmal depths. Never before has the media’s obsession for polls and polling been so charged as various outlets vied with one another to be the first to put out this or that forecast. Opinion polls, exit polls, projections, rejections, interjections, dejections, objections, flashes, lashes and bashes – the whole razzle-dazzle generated by the media provided a field day for psephologists, crystal gazers and soothsayers.

Walter Lippman, one of the great figures in American journalism, reminded us that “manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements...and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the processes are plain enough.”

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