Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Indian Express & CNN-IBN - Fake Debates & Reports

This is a follow-up to my previous post on fake debates by CNN-IBN about the Social Media (SM). First the TV channel grandly put out a report on the debate held on the sidelines of the Ramnath Goenka journalism awards. One shouldn’t forget that the debate was anchored by Sagarika Ghose whose hatred for some people on SM knows no bounds. The host of the Goenka awards, Indian Express, then came out with its own report about the event. Quite flattering about SM I must say. The thing to remember is most of these media celebs dismiss SM as a nuisance or at best concede that it’s here to stay. They have forgotten how they themselves arrived on TV. But before we move on, people should recall Sagarika’s famous Look-Live debate that featured Sri Sri Ravi Shankar back in November 2011. Seems their parent company in the US, CNN, is the inspiration for Sagarika and CNN-IBN. Someone pointed me to this hilarious Jon Stewart video. Just watch the stupidity of CNN and how they fool audiences:

Stewart calls it CNN "News slaughtering". That’s right 2 correspondents reporting from the same “parking lot” and delivering the “illusion” of reporting from separate locations. That’s news TV for you. They keep on delivering illusions in the hope that others will be fooled while they can live comfortably in their fake TV-lives. So after CNN-IBN it was the turn of Indian Express (August 4) to deliver some fake story. The IE reporter was in the same parking lot, or should I say the same hall as CNN-IBN where the SM debate was held. So let’s read what their report said (excerpts in blue):

Who's afraid of social media? As the applause for winners of the sixth Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards died down, this question took centre stage. Less than a year after messages on social media spread panic in the Northeast and two girls in Mumbai were arrested for views posted on Facebook, it was a compelling question, with no easy answers….  I&B Minister Manish Tewari called the Internet "the most audacious experiment in anarchy", a "vast, ungoverned space" teeming with individuals who had multiple identities. Democracies and governments had to learn to accommodate voices from this "virtual civilisation".

Anant Goenka, head of New Media at the Express Group, felt that the influence of social media may be overstated. "You just have to look at the numbers," Goenka said. "Twitter reaches the influential. But it reaches less than 10 per cent of the people that conventional media reach." But it could help improve stories, Goenka felt, and it could help journalists find sources online.

So what did you make of that? Now, if you aren’t careful you are likely to miss some lies and some lack of prudence in some of the sentences in the report. Anant Goenka (wonder if he’s a descendant of Ramnathji) reflects a terrible lack of foresight and vision. Oh… but he’s the head of New Media at IE. Any surprise that IE is doing so badly in sales? Those who don’t learn from history are likely to repeat silly mistakes in the future too. Technology doesn’t wait for anyone. It forces change on those who are unwilling to adapt. The typewriter is mostly gone. The concept of “stenographers” in offices has largely disappeared. But we have “stenographers” in the media who report stuff like a box of parrots.

Anant fails to understand how TV itself grew when he claims that Twitter reaches only 10% and that you have to look at SM numbers. Fine! He should remember that TV itself grew from a modest number of lakhs in 1982 to over half the population now owning TV sets. Some states have over 90% TV penetration. While there is no accurate figure for the number available, a fair state-wise estimate can be seen at Wiki. What about mobile phones? When it arrived around 1995-96 people were still dealing with the tiny pagers. Pagers have disappeared. From as much as Rs.16 or Rs.20 per call in 1996 mobile phone-calls are now less than a rupee. Currently estimated at 696 mobile connections, mobile penetration is expected to touch 72% by 2016. Smart-phone users are already 27 million says Nielsen. These estimates are not very off the mark. So why does Anant Goenka believe that the same 10% will remain for SM or Twitter? This is living in a cocoon and unwilling to accept that there will be millions of SM users in the next 2-3 years and it may grow to the mobile-penetration size too. Either this worries the MSM to hold frequent debates slamming the SM or provoke regulation of SM. That is the problem they face.

But the bigger LIE is in the very first paragraph of the IE report. And they expectedly believe that most people will overlook this and move on to the rest of the report. It says: “Less than a year after messages on social media spread panic in the Northeast…” Is that so? How cleverly IE passes fake reporting and one has to wonder what the alleged editor, Shekhar Gupta was doing with such lines. The NE panic wasn’t spread on SM or Twitter. On the contrary SM was helpful in clarifying many of the rumours that were being spread on SMS. Yes the rumours were being spread through SMS and one Anees Pasha and four more were arrested for sending out over 4000 SMSes. In the wake of these SMSes the GOI also banned bulk SMSes for a long time. So why does IE get its kicks with a fake report that SM created the NE panic? Well, if you’re in the same parking lot as CNN-IBN anything will go as long as it helps to slam the SM given the nature of their debate.

Once again, it looks like the only ones really afraid of SM growing are those in the MSM. Ideas whose time has come cannot be stopped or throttled by fake debates and reports. This is more so when technology can make many redundant. I haven’t seen Shekhar Gupta being on the SM (unless he has some alias) but he likes giving lectures about SM. No problem! That’s like a guy who still uses a typewriter commenting on the evils of computer. Anything to survive.


  1. Hi Ravinar:

    Very well said.

    One thing I could not understand.. you had mentioned somewhere

    696 mobile connections

    Is it 696 million or 696 per thousand??

    Ramesh N

    1. I think, it is 60%. Is that something to do with the fonts not getting along?

    2. Its 696 Million... (Link to the article provided) ..

  2. Ravi - I really wish there was nothing much for you to write but that would be a ideal world and too much of hope in me. I hope someday India will not need Mediacrooks but again I am being too optimistic!!

    While the media is out there peddling lies, cover ups, barking what their masters asked them to...... I am super glad we have MEDIACROOKS around !!!

    Just the media and its lies will give you enough to write for many more years coz cannot see any of them changing!!! Over and again, they are caught in their lies, but will profess innocence, they are biased towards Cover ups, Lies,Deception, Distraction and Diversion!!!!

    Thank you for your hard work!

  3. The last line comprehensively exposes these pathetic turds in the media!

  4. It sounds ok to have a programme like " Impact of social media" but it is beyond me how you can think of having a programme like " Who is scared of social media ?", unless you are yourself scared. It reminds me of a kid in our family who used to be petrified of his neighbour's huge Alsatian named "SHERU", and the very sight of the dog would make him scream in fear and run to his mother.But he had a way of relieving himself of the fear. Once in the safety of his mother's lap he would keep repeating " Me SHERU se nahi darta", " Me SHERU se nahi darta"-- he would go on and on.

  5. Ravinar,
    As an aside to the article I just wanted to ask you whether we can post some images to show how pimp the media is.
    Check out this link and check the agrees below
    Now, the most agrees for a comment which was abusing modi was given about 310 but disagrees around 28.
    Generally this is not the case where major of comments are invariably infavour of Modi always no matter what the issue is, since they disbelieve the media.
    Check when was the comment posted with most agrees it was merely 2 hrs ago before it was pushed in 'others' section.
    And check the fifth comment which was praising modi but was posted 11 hrs ago, the same time the article itself was posted. It had most like where the post was in praise of Modi.
    In just a matter of 2 hrs, the likes spiked for a post which never existed before. And then the article itself by pushed behind the headlines.
    This is how media eats money from Congress and abuses anyone who is a contender to them.

    1. To just add to my point, even the likes of some comments praising Modi have been deliberately reduced to make them look that Modi has less support. Now Congress is going to the length of being ridiculous, as somebody said they really suffer from some disease.
      Ravi, next time if you could allow adding pictures, we might provide you with more info and more serious and explosive stuff.

  6. A Fake debate is an assault on an honest debate. The title of the Goenka Gossip session "Who's afraid..." speaks about itself. It is another one of the tactics by MSM to create fear.

    "The more the media peddled fear, the more the people lost the ability to believe in one another. For every new ill that befell them, the media created an explanation, and the explanation always had a face and a name. The people came to fear even their closest neighbors. At the level of the individual, the community, and the nation, people sought signs of others’ ill intentions; and everywhere they looked, they found them, for this is what looking does."
    — Bernard Beckett (Genesis)

  7. Just one word .... BRILLIANT

  8. One point to add even basic phone now days have GPRS and SM platform can be accessed from them. So those crocks should worry more.

  9. Ab toh thak gaya hoon in crooks ke karnamo se. Kab marenge. Hamare bachhon ke future kharab karenge hamara toh kar liya.

  10. Dear Rainar,
    I watched the debate.Madhu Kishwar was not given enough time to explain her observations on the MSM.The likes of Manish,Sibal & Jaitley exhibited their glib talk.You have rightly pointed out- Anant Goenka hardly matches Ramnath-No wonder NIE lacks the quality-both in print & stuff now adays except an occasional brilliant article by S.Gurumurhy & some others.

  11. The airwaves were thrown open by courts, bureacrats and politicians to corporate satellite TV megaliths on the plea that in a democracy, PEOPLE must have recourse to MEANS of MASS-COMMUNICATION as a channel for IDEA-DISSEMINATION, and which implies that "GOVERNMENT Cannot LEGALLY RETAIN MONOPOLY over the BROADCASTING SPHERE as such a monopoly would be ultravires of the "RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION" GRANTED TO THE GENERAL INDIAN PUBLIC by the constitution. AND YET, TODAY MOST of the CORPORATE BOSSES controlling the FDI-oiled TV media not only lash out at the social media, but have gone on record in Unequivocally condemning the prospective ENTRY of "NEW PLAYERS" ( ? Read the "PUBLIC )into the MAINSTREAM Broadcastosphere, in effect vociferously championing the MONOPOLISTIC hegemony of the present CARTEL of TV barons. Which simply stated boils down to MEAN that the CORPORATE MSM CARTEL is unmistakably OPPOSED to the idea of the Broadcastosphere becoming truly DEMOCRATIC or REPRESENTATIVE of PUBLIC OPINION (via maximal Public participation)in terms of its composition. Does this attitude not in principle abrogate the very grounds (Of PEOPLE's RIGHT to EXPRESSION via MASS-COMMUNICATION) on which these corporate media houses had based the justification for GRANT OF BROADCAST LICENCES to them in the first place ? They have shrewdly used to ruse of DEMOCRATIC PUBLIC EXPRESSION to usurp airwaves and foist their hegemony over them like the proverbial WOLVES that won rights to rule over sheep through democratic elections. They have become instruments of MASS-DISINFORMATION and MISGUIDED OPINION BUILDING among the public-at-large on behalf of the KhanChrissite Holy Rulers besides of course the overseas super-corporate overlords of the DYNASTY.

  12. "....it looks like the only ones really afraid of SM growing are those in the MSM."

    But I think Congress UPA is also equally scared of SM bacuase:
    The Congress can't control or buy off the Social Media like they bought MSM and the fact that SM is totally independent.


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