What Plagues Today’s Media? Santosh Desai Offers his Critique

In conversation with The Quint’s Editorial Director, Desai speaks on the paradigm shift in the media.

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The media today is not what it used to be. Advertising and Marketing expert Santosh Desai recently penned an article in the The Times of India in the wake of the Rs 11,400 crore Nirav Modi scam. In his article, Desai questioned how the media has become so shamelessly biased that even the basics of journalism are being sabotaged by the kind of questions they pose during debates.

In his article, Desai criticised the current mediascape for changing the dynamics of news.

News can be slanted, but first it has to qualify as news, and this is what is becoming increasingly hard to find, particularly on television. To take the side of the government, to be sympathetic to its perspective is a media outlet’s prerogative, but to become presumptive advocates of anything the government says or does, crosses the line from being biased to not having any view of one’s own at all.
Santosh Desai, in his Times of India article.

The Quint’s Sanjay Pugalia talked to Desai about the state of the media in the country.

Not talking about bias, Desai said the way news is presented, there is a very obvious propaganda, a very obvious aggression and you start with a blind bias and espouse it so aggressively that you don’t give the other side a chance to make their point. That for him is a very different discourse the media has taken.

Although they do this to show their support wherever required, the way they’re doing it is very wrong.  
Santosh Desai

Desai also asserted that what was once conveyed on a personal level has now become a part of the broader discourse, and is shaping news coverage. He also added that the game of propaganda can in turn be counter-productive for the one serving the propaganda.

Propaganda is a very sophisticated and delicate instrument, when you have absolute power, like in a dictatorship, you can put up a propaganda in such a crude manner but in a functioning democracy like India, no matter how loud or bold your voice is, there will be other voices, you cannot silence them.

He further said, “If you present everything in a manner that the other side is at fault, and don’t give a chance to the other side to put their point, then over a period of time the other side will know that everything is pre-decided.”

If someone is tuning in, they want to know what’s going on. For them, the way journalists are talking these days is pointless.

For Desai, this harassment by the media or this shameless slant towards one side they are serving is most prominent in English news channels.

Intelligent bias is when you frame it in a way where both sides’ point of view is taken.  

He further stated that the media is in such bad state that we are now categorising good bias and bad bias, instead of looking at eliminating bias altogether.

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