‘News TV covered Modi US trip like govt media’

Like town criers in the old days, who arrived before the Maharaja and extolled his virtues, Indian news television reporters were in the United States even before prime minister Narendra Modi had set foot in God’s Own Country.

And, over nearly a week, provided breathless coverage that left little to the imagination.

Superman (or was it Spiderman) was interviewed at Times Square; Modi’s “rockstar” thanks-giving address to his NRI followers was shown ad nauseam; and all manner of policy wonks were rolled out to complete the circus.

Business Standard has an editorial:

“Prime Minister Modi’s trip to the United States was marred by news reporting that was excessively fawning. Coverage was, in fact, reminiscent of the bad old days of state-controlled media, when the nightly news bulletin on Doordarshan was little more than a paean of praise to Rajiv Gandhi or Indira Gandhi. In fact, the saturation coverage was so disproportionate to the actual scope or achievements of the prime minister’s visit that it was embarrassing….

“Modi has begun a new tradition since taking office. Journalists no longer travel with him on Air India One. This is part of a larger attempt to keep the media as distant as possible. Only a few journalists from state-controlled agencies went along with the prime minister. Others went there themselves. But the cost of the tickets was wasted when they wound up sounding like state-controlled media themselves.”

Read the full editorial: Over the top

Also read: Why Modi shouldn’t take media with him

1 Comment

  1. Sam

    Empty drums do make a lot of noise – unfortunately, sometimes this ‘noise’ does seem to influence a large majority, starved of self-esteem and facing a crisis of values.

    And it’s a sad truth that he does control the state media and the private media.

    The first by virtue of his position and political power as the head of the government, and the second, through his corporate friends, and his own money-laundering front (in the form of Adani & Co).

    The results of this unhealthy influence is already apparent. The head of the once banned Sangh Parivar – an organisation that has been involved in almost all of the communal violence in India – has been allowed to use the state media to spread its poisonous ideology (albeit in a very carefully planned manner – wanna bet that this isn’t the last of such ‘special’ programs on DD?).

    Let us also not be under any illusion that he is keeping away the private media for any ethical reason.

    This man is paranoid and only appears in carefully planned and orchestrated PR events.

    Remember how he ran away from an interview with Karan Thapar? Or how he didn’t like it when a journalist strayed away from the “script” of a “paid” interview?

    He knows that he doesn’t have to wine and dine them to be “nice” to him. The private visual media depends on advertisements from the corporates to survive. And Modi gets a lot of money from them because he is “pro-business” (a polite euphemism used in the west for politicians who don’t mind accepting bribes from businessmen).

    And with corporates taking over the media business, it shouldn’t be surprising at all that the visual media is ready to kiss his ass.

    (I can’t wait to see the soap opera that he will be when he becomes a true dictator).

    Any politically aware indian would be aware that Mr. Modi has only lowered the post of the PM by opting for nautanki‘s to appear in the media. His megalomania seems to be at an all time high, and his PR team seem ever so eager to give in to his cravings.

    Somebody should remind him that he has become the PM and needs to carry himself with more grace and dignity. Or not. He was a 5000 crore ad campaign for the likes of Ambani’s and Adani’s – and those who voted for him are already experiencing “buyer’s remorse” …

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