[Reader-list] Media in WB

A. Mani a.mani.cms at gmail.com
Thu Apr 28 04:40:32 IST 2011

Media polarization on political lines is one thing, but paid news is
another. The right wing media is mostly filled with the latter.

>From http://wordsfromsolitude.blogspot.com/2011/04/media-hyperbole-and-bengal-election.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WordsFromSolitude+%28Words+from+Solitude%29


Media hyperbole and Bengal assembly elections

If we go through the standard news reports, analysis, editorials and
opinion pieces been published daily in the national and local
mainstream media concerning the ongoing assembly elections of Bengal,
there can be little doubt in our minds about whom the voters would
prefer to see in the next government. According to the obvious trends
and predictions reflecting in the media, the people of Bengal have
already “decided” to reject the worn out Left Front and embrace the
impressive Trinamool Congress (TMC)-Indian National Congress (INC)
opposition alliance. Experienced pollsters have concluded that in all
probability, this grand alliance under the sagacious leadership of our
famed railways minister Mamata Banerjee is heading for a clean sweep.
Passionate supporters of the Left might still go on arguing that a
sheer anti-Left bias in the print and television coverage during any
election campaign is nothing new in Bengal. The spectrum of debate
that gets released on various media forums during the election season
has seldom been objective. They are also trying to point out that for
a long time independent media organizations in the state have been
completely polarized along political lines. But not many people are
listening to them. The coming Bengal election results are therefore,
as one thin on top editor recently wrote, “the easiest to predict in
our electoral history in a very long time.”

The media is daily enlightening us why sympathizers of the Left needs
to acknowledge that the situation on ground looks “qualitatively
different” this time. We've all been repeatedly reminded how the
famous lady has “singlehandedly shaken head-to-foot the patriarchal,
ideology-fostered Left Front, led by the CPI(M)” and have pushed the
Marxists almost to the brink of catastrophe after successfully
capitalizing on the broad opposition to the Left Front government’s
land acquisition policy. Isn’t it but true, we are asked, that the
lady has elicited a suppressed desire for poriborton (change) that was
simmering for years in the minds and hearts of the interned,
subjugated and suffocated millions? In a predisposed tone, almost all
of the mainstream media is barking daily that the people of Bengal
want a phenomenon called Mamata Banerjee as their future leader – not
a cold-blooded Stalinist chameleon! We are forewarned that the people
do not want to breathe any more under a thirty-five year old,
stagnant, wretched, ruthless and authoritarian regime.


One “eminent” Bengali academic, noticeably elated by the Left Front’s,
particularly the CPI(M)’s terrible performance in the 2009
parliamentary elections, blissfully wrote some time ago: “A spectre is
haunting West Bengal – the spectre of change.” Adding wisdom, wit and
pathos to his unique view of history, the astute academic then growled
further, “Moreover, as the end of History has been prognosticated, it
seems that the era of ideologies too is over. The new generation does
not give a fig for ideology.” (Source) The message he tried to
articulate was amply clear. To get rid of the Left menace, we must
target to discard ideology entirely, circulate the idea that ideology
is bogus and describe the theories of the Communist parties as no more
than “repertoire of slogans”. If the new generation prefers custard
apple to mango – give them custard apple. If they prefer to stand
aloof – provide them an isolated haven to enjoy their life since
people “dislike being supervised”. If someone runs the risk of
believing himself better than others and start criticizing something
for his petty private interests – allow him to do so.

Being part and parcel of Trinamool’s inner coterie by compromising
one’s credibility and independence, displaying inane vengeance against
the CPI(M) to an almost nonsensical limit and going on bickering
endlessly against corruption and nepotism of the ruling Marxists are
all been considered today as components of a holy crusade. The desire
for “change” is so intense that we were told not to ask any
uncomfortable questions to the crusaders that can jeopardize the
“favorable situation”. When the few illustrious “awake and aware”
intellectuals and academics extended their malleable necks to wear the
golden buckle offered by Mamata Banerjee’s Railway Heritage Cultural
Committee – plum posts, hefty salaries and attractive perks – as a
“reward” for their services to the Trinamool Congress during the
Singur-Nandigram stir, we were told to keep our eyes shut in favor of
a “greater” cause. “The true hypocrite,” remarked French writer Andre
Gide “is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who
lies with sincerity.”

The “success story” of the first batch of TMC intellectuals has
certainly inspired a hoard of celebrities, intellectuals, film stars,
big business agents, former civil servants, CBI and police bosses and
even Marxist-Leninists to flock into the TMC bandwagon in great
numbers. A manufactured euphoria of a potential TMC victory in the
crucial assembly elections has lured these special brand of people
further. Pushing the grass-root party men on the sidelines, many of
them are now among the TMC chieftain’s “most trusted lieutenants”. All
of them have turned into well-wishers of Bengal, howling under the
pale summer moon to resuscitate the pitiable populace of a derelict
state. Lies, as the saying goes, are more believable than the truth.

Just like the TMC band of intellectuals, the stakes seems to be too
high for a section of the media also. A recent article in The Hoot by
Asian News International’s (ANI) Kolkata bureau chief Ajitha Menon
gives a shocking account of how a large section of the “independent”
media in Bengal has entirely sold itself to the Trinamool chieftain
and her party. High paid jobs in TMC sponsored television channels or
newspapers, prominent positions in the executive committees of the
railways and Municipal Corporations controlled by the party, powerful
political posts endowed with several opportunities to make money and
even party tickets are some of the many carrots that have been offered
to a great number of journalists who, as Menon observes painfully,
“seems have no pride left in their profession anymore and have become
openly and acceptably corrupt, no longer even hiding behind the excuse
of supposedly working for party mouthpieces […] The aspirations of
journalists have moved from being an ethical watchdog for democracy,
in the interest of the common man, towards power, position and money.”
Menon bitterly writes that “several reporters, both senior and junior
have become part of the Mamata coterie,” and even feel proud to “act
as doorkeepers at Mamata Banerjee’s residence in South Kolkata.”
(Source) Never before journalists of the mainstream media was embedded
with a single political party so deeply as today. Never before has
such blatant partisanship been observed in Bengal as we are observing

The situation no doubt looks weird but is certainly not unprecedented.
In several aspects Bengal’s political situation today has lots of
amazing similarities with the events of 2001. During the 2001 assembly
elections a similar pro-Mamata “wave” was hatched with a definite urge
to remove the Left Front from power. We were informed that the people
of Bengal was “craving” for a change in government, the Left was
facing its “toughest challenge,” the depth of resentment against the
Left was “at an all time high” and Mamata Banerjee, driven by her
inordinate anti-Left stance was on the verge of “creating history” by
personifying the resentment. An all-out slanderous anti-Left
propaganda were launched by the mainstream media to manufacture public
consent against the ruling Left Front. Through obvious one-sided
reporting, the media created their own myth of “change”. Perception
upon perception was mounted to persuade the people of Bengal to
profess this synthetic myth.

In this post we want to illustrate how the mainstream media tries to
influence the course of events during elections and works to fulfill a
specific political agenda. We have based our argument on resources
extracted from the website of ABP group’s flagship and influential
English daily The Telegraph. We chose the Kolkata daily since it is
generally considered as a impartial and liberal newspaper which offers
a fair and balanced reporting.


Protesting against the Congress high command’s “secret affairs” with
the Left, Mamata Banerjee parted away from the Congress in 1997 and
floated the Trinamool Congress. A year later she entered into an
alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This apparently
strange alliance was based on a simple agenda – just like her, the
extremely reactionary right-wing BJP is a traditional adversary of the
Left. The alliance brought rich dividends for the TMC. Consolidating
the anti-Left votes, the party went on winning seven parliamentary
seats in 1998. The TMC joined the BJP led National Democratic Alliance
(NDA) in 1999 and Mamata Banerjee became the railways minister of the
country. A year later, the party added one more seat to its tally by
winning the traditional Left stronghold Panskura in East Midnapore.

The 1998 parliament elections gave a clear indication to Mamata
Banerjee that it will be extremely difficult for her to conquest
Bengal from the Left by peaceful, democratic means. Though the BJP-TMC
alliance had successfully weakened the Congress in the state, it has
failed to dent the imposing Left which continued to benefit from their
absolute support base among the rural poor. Realizing that she must
strike right away to take advantage of the favorable climate, a
vicious blueprint was prepared to unleash a reign of terror in the
rural Left bastions like Keshpur, Garbeta, Sabang, Pingla and Khejuri
during the 1998 panchayat elections. In order to establish their
hegemony in rural Bengal, local CPI(M) leaders and supporters were
physically attacked, village after village were “liberated” by armed
TMC cadres, many of them notorious criminals of those area. Brutal
murder, looting and arson turned out to be a regular affair. Several
CPI(M) supporters were forced to abandon their homes and take shelter
in makeshift camps in fear of being killed.

The free run of Trinamool goons were earnestly backed by several
erstwhile landlords who bearded a rancor against the Leftists for
confiscating nearly 45,000 acres of fertile land from them and
redistributing it among the landless poor. As some media reports had
suggested, the violence against the CPI(M) was also actively assisted
by clandestine People’s War group squads which had surfaced in the
violence hit areas. The ultra-Left PWG with their technical
proficiency in annihilation came as an excellent handy tool in the TMC
sponsored class war in rural Bengal. Trinamool’s terror tactics
reached its high point during the May 2000 Panskura bye-election. The
election brought into open Mamata Banerjee’s vaunted “Panskura line” –
a strategy of ruthless violence, booth capturing and all-out rigging
orchestrated by local TMC henchmen like Mohammed Rafiq in favor of the
TMC candidate Bikram Sarkar. In 2000, the TMC also grabbed the Kolkata
Municipal Corporation.

Just before the 2001 assembly polls, Mamata Banerjee ditched the BJP
and join forces with the Congress after the website Tehelka exposed
BJP’s internal corruption. An opportunist to the core, her decision to
ally with the Congress which she had discarded four years ago was
based on simple electoral arithmetic. The combined vote share of the
TMC-BJP alliance and the Congress in the 1998-99 general elections was
near to 51 per cent against the 47 per cent of the Left. Pollsters of
both the camps and a section of the mainstream media had predicted
that since the Left Front’s position has grown relatively weaker after
twenty-nine years of uninterrupted rule, a one-opposition vote added
with even a slight erosion of the Left’s vote share can easily do the
desired magic. Besides, Mamata Banerjee’s friends inside and outside
the media had advised her that the BJP cannot be her right choice as a
coalition partner against the Left considering Bengal’s huge 22 per
cent Muslim vote bank. The Congress high command’s eagerness to
dethrone the Left was so intense that no one had dared to ask why
Mamata Banerjee did not need to announce a complete break with the NDA
while clinching a deal with the Congress.


The chief sponsor of the TMC-Congress alliance, clearly, was the
Congress president Sonia Gandhi who according to TMC insiders has
always maintained a soft corner for their charming leader. The
Telegraph mentioned in a report Dejected Cong Still In Pursuit Of
‘Best Bargain’ on April, 2 that the Congress president has briefed
Kamal Nath, Congress general secretary in charge of Bengal, to “reach
an alliance by any means.” Kamal Nath was duly assisted by Pranab
Mukherjee, a loyal and seasoned war horse who had taken the charge of
the state Congress from the veteran ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury just a
few months before. On April, 3 the newspaper reported that “a potent
alliance against the Left took shape today as Mamata Banerjee and the
Congress sealed a seat-sharing deal.” The report further pointed out
that the Congress and Trinamool would fight the polls under Mamata
Banerjee’s leadership and remarked that the agreement has “virtually
taken the wind out of the state leadership’s sail. Most leaders who
had been vocal against Mamata’s bid to deny nomination to sitting
legislators appeared to have accepted the arrangement.”

Realizing the significance of the development, the daily jumped into
action. In the April, 4 editorial titled United Stand, the daily
praised the efforts of Sonia Gandhi by saying: “One important element
in the context was the refusal of Ms Sonia Gandhi, the Congress
president, to shut the door on Ms Banerjee. Ms Gandhi kept herself
aloof from the petty bickerings of the state Congress and saw in Ms
Banerjee a leader who had a popular appeal among the people of West
Bengal.” Calling the Congress “her natural habitat,” the editorial
certified the Trinamool chieftain as “a leader who has been
uncompromising and relentless in her opposition to left rule.” In a
manifestly delighted tone, the editorial went on to optimistically
predict that the alliance “takes Ms Banerjee a few steps closer to
what has all along been her stated political objective: the defeat of
the Left Front,” since the development “rules out the possibility of a
split in the anti-left votes in West Bengal.”

What The Telegraph editorial meant by “petty bickerings of the state
Congress” was the public discontent displayed by a section of the
state Congress leaders who were “not too happy with the deal”. The
daily reported on April, 7 that “Ghani Khan and Adhir Chowdhury do not
intend to concede a single seat in their strongholds,” and did a
follow up on the story the next day to report that the “last hurdle to
a unified battle against the CPM-led Left Front was removed today with
Mamata Banerjee and the Congress”. Though the report gave due
importance to the fact that a host of state Congress leaders including
Ghani Khan Chowdhury, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and Somen Mitra “sat in
the front row along with Nath and Mamata” while the announcement was
made in a joint news conference, there were many indications in the
same report that TMC’s seat sharing with the Congress did not pass on

A special correspondent of the newspaper continued the story on April,
9 with a slightly different twist under the banner headline
Resignation, Rumblings Greet Congress Deal. “At least half-a-dozen
Congress leaders, including ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury and Priya Ranjan
Das Munshi, have revealed their resentment at the manner in which a
seat-share deal was struck.” In contradiction to the previous day’s
report, the story had also revealed that several of the leaders
present during the joint news conference were in fact sitting
“glum-faced,” swallowing a bitter pill prescribed by the high command
from party compulsion. The story also mentioned that Adhir Chowdhury,
the Murshidabad leader who skipped the joint news conference “appeared
determined to put up Independent candidates against the Trinamul
nominees in at least two Assembly segments.”

The incidental or one sided versions of the daily stories about seat
adjustment between the two parties gradually disappeared from the news
pages. The newspaper made a banner headline report on April, 16 about
the first joint election rally of the Trinamool-Congress alliance to
mention how Pranab Mukherjee, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and Somen Mitra,
the three top Congress leaders, all her senior in politics,
“proclaimed Mamata as their leader.” To circulate the message of a
cordial domesticity between Mamata Banerjee and the Congress leaders
who just a few days ago were questioning the efficacy of the alliance,
the report gave a graphic depiction from the dais of unity depicting
how the veteran leaders rained respect for the Trinamool chieftain.
Quoting Pranab Mukherjee, the report in addition asserted that the
alliance was born out of historic necessity – from “the demand of the
common people,” and its sole aim is to remove the Left Front from

The English daily’s political polarization was pretty obvious in its
April 20 coverage of a Jyoti Basu meeting in Dhuliyan, Murshidabad.
The report acerbically mentioned how government funds were spend to
bring stone-chips from nearby Pakur and thrown on the brick-laid path
leading to the dais, how PWD rollers were pressed into service to take
care of the ailing leader’s back and ensure as much comfort as
possible “so that the CPM’s star campaigner could do his bit for the

The Telegraph, which clearly doesn’t feel any affection for the Left
made few interesting observations on the TMC-INC alliance in its
April, 21 editorial. Fascinated by the “astute political
understanding” of the Congress president Sonia Gandhi for reaching out
to the Trinamool supremo from a “larger political necessity”, the
editorial has discovered a pragmatic politician in Mamata Banerjee for
dumping the BJP and choosing the Congress. The editorial had also
speculated that “she still will have the vote of many saffron
sympathizers, for whom the first priority remains the end of the red
raj.” It is significant to note the effort undertaken by the newspaper
to remove any doubt or confusion in the minds of its readers about the
effectiveness of the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance when it
stressed in the editorial that the alliance “seems the best possible
arithmetic against the Left Front.”

Four days later, the newspaper ran an extremely opinionated piece
Bengal Turns National Alliance Lab where the staff analysts went on
claiming at full volume that Bengal “could alter the future course of
politics”. What the editorials were shying to express was vociferously
expressed in this politically motivated article where the analysts had
consciously inserted their preconceptions to build-up their case.
Giving the TMC-INC combine a clear edge over the Left Front, the
article claimed that the “Opposition never stood a better chance in
Bengal,” since the “anti-incumbency factor is running so high that the
Mamata-Congress alliance threatens to aggregate the non-Left vote in
its favour.” An April, 28 feature article titled Left High & Dry by
Soaring Aspirations pointed out at cracks in the Left Front’s
traditional support base – the rural poor. Based on inputs from rural
Midnapore, the report went on describing how the rural voters are
thinking not to vote for the ruling alliance this time. “This time the
‘M’ party will find it difficult,” one Jadunath Hembrom bitterly tells
the feature writer complaining about power deficiency in his village.
Though there can be sufficient scope for suspicion on the authenticity
of the report, the sheer anti-Left Front bias that lurks below the
surface of such reports cannot go unnoticed.

The newspaper also gave “due importance” to the joint rallies
addressed by Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee at the south Bengal
districts of Midnapore and Burdwan. A banner story titled Sonia for
Sight, Mamata for Sound on May, 4 adoringly gives a detail account
about how the Congress president started “speaking Mamata’s language”
after getting a taste of the Mamata “wind”. Inserting his own
preconception, the reporter of the story noticeably mentioned about a
“striking” similarity between the languages and tenor of the two
leaders, emphasizing on how the Trinamool chieftain showing her
gratitude gave the final-speech honor to Sonia Gandhi. The next day,
the daily published another report to point out that after her Bengal
tour, “Sonia was confident that Mamata will be the next chief
minister,” and reported that Mamata Banerjee “has given a ‘firm
commitment’ to Sonia Gandhi that she will not go back to the BJP-led
alliance irrespective of the poll outcome.”

The editorial on the same day tries to analyze the importance of the
Bengal elections and expounding the impact it might produce “all the
way in New Delhi”. “In West Bengal, the Congress hopes to ride on a
Mamata Banerjee wave,” the editorial comments. It then went on
glorifying the Trinamool chieftain’s “immense popularity,” asserting
the readers about how she has “touched a chord in the heart of West
Bengal’s disaffected. Disaffection towards the Left Front, like
loyalty towards it, cuts across social and economic boundaries. Ms
Banerjee personifies this disaffection. […] The articulation of the
discontent may well constitute one of the major surprises of this

On May 8, the daily published another opinion piece which found “a
pathetic manifestation of the bankruptcy of political dialogue” put
into practice by both the contending parties during the poll campaign
and mourns that the new trend “signals the demise of the bhadralok
brand of politics”. Though the article does not elaborate what this
“bhadralok (gentleman) brand of politics” actually means, it didn’t
blinked twice to say that the “the first attack on bhadralok politics
in West Bengal came from the left”. Mamata Banerjee, according to the
article, was just “matching the Marxists in their words and action”.
The article furthermore pointed out that, since the left “has become
the most recognizable face of bhadralok politics” from the day it came
to power, it is nothing wrong for Mamata Banerjee to shun bhadralok
politics and “degrades the level of political discourse to cheap
entertainment.” She is after all “the face of the anti-establishment
movement. Hers is the mission to break the political status quo.” A
fantastic analysis indeed!

On May 9, the newspaper published three interesting stories. The first
one was based on the several opinion polls conducted by various
independent agencies which had predicted a fifty-fifty chance for the
opposition combine to come in power. Referring to the opinion poll
results, the report tried to keep alive the hope that the Trinamool
Congress-Congress combine has a good chance to “sail with the wind
into the corridors of Writers’ Buildings” and end the twenty-four
years of communist rule in the state. The second report was based on
chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s press meet. It starts citing
a “seemingly confident” chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and
then twists the report to mention that Bhattacharjee has “promised the
Left Front would give a responsible Opposition to West Bengal”.
According to the report, the chief minister was “forced to admit that
the Left was facing its most difficult challenge; the government had
failed to live up to the expectations of people…..” The third report
that attempted to divulge Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s political future
was a stunning display of how The Telegraph can became terribly
prejudiced to push a particular viewpoint instead of reporting in an
objective manner. “Never before have the prospects of a chief
ministerial candidate been doubted so much,” the speculative report
claimed after conducting a micro opinion poll at the Jadavpur 8B bus
stand among twenty commuters and found that “more than half the
respondents were not sure of his prospects”! “Bhattacharjee is better
placed to win in Jadavpur than the CPM is to win in Bengal,” was the
inevitable conclusion of this fictitious report.

But a marked difference can be seen in another story that had appeared
on May, 10. The story tried to sense the minds of Bengal businessmen
and find out why they are “throwing their lot behind the leader of a
party founded with the vow to make them an extinct species.” Obliquely
indicating at CPI(M)’s trade union wing CITU for pushing out industry
from Bengal due to their militant trade unionism, the report cited
unnamed and faceless “sources” from the business world to praise
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who has “proved himself to be proactive to
industry in a very short time,” and for “talking about the right
things” the business world like to hear. The objective behind the
story was plain and simple – strongly condemn CITU, condemn the
policies and programmes of the CPI(M) but at the same time start
heaping praise on Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as the poster boy of
reforms. It took some more time for the corporate media to achieve its
biggest success when Bhattacharjee fell pray to this cunning strategy.
But that is another story to tell.


On May 11, two days before the results, The Telegraph had a story on
Mamata Banerjee to describe how confident she was about her victory.
“I have no doubt that we are coming to power. We are the rising sun
tomorrow morning,” a confident Mamata Banerjee told the reporter “with
her lips spread in a smile and her fingers parting in a ‘V’.” On the
counting day, the daily reported how Trinamool Congress activists made
elaborate preparations at their chieftain’s south Kolkata residence
“in anticipation of her victory in the polls.”

But after all the hype and hyperbole, the high-flying opposition
alliance received a lethal blow from the Bengal electorate and ended
up landing on their nose. The alliance which was cocksure about
forming the next government was successful to win only 86 seats
against the 199 seats won by the Left Front. The Front not only swept
the countryside but also achieved remarkable success in urban and
industrial areas. In many so called “neck to neck” seats marked by the
pollsters, Left Front candidates won by comfortable margins. Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee, whose prospects The Telegraph had doubted, won the
Jadavpur seat by more than 29,000 votes. Soon after the results were
declared, a disgraced Mamata Banerjee offered to resign owning moral
responsibility for her alliance’s defeat and vanished from public

The staff analysts of The Telegraph, those who had previously visioned
a sure success of the opposition alliance, made a 360 degree
somersault to attack Mamata Banerjee for “not been able to translate
resentment into votes and votes into seats.” Squarely putting back all
the trash created by them on the Trinamool chieftain’s doorsill, the
analysts lampooned her by saying, “She was preparing to take credit
for a victory she assumed was inevitable.” “She began with several
advantages,” another angry analyst wrote, “and then went about
dismantling and reducing them to irreversible losses.” An editorial on
May 16 accused the TMC  chieftain  for being “her own worst enemy,”
and called her a leader “completely unprepared for defeat.” The
editorial left no stone unturned to harshly criticize her for choosing
“to nurse her own sense of hurt and disappointment precisely at the
time when her party workers and supporters needed her to be at their
side.” Terming the verdict as “one of the great anti-climaxes in the
history of West Bengal politics,” the editorial argued that her
“egocentric behaviour may be at the root of the debacle the Trinamool
Congress has suffered.”

On May 23, eminent economist, noted author and a former Left Front
minister Dr. Ashok Mitra’s scathing article Look Back In Triumph
appeared in the pages of The Telegraph. Lambasting the media’s
vindictive political role Dr. Mitra, wrote:

A few months ahead of the election date, important segments of the
media launched a furious campaign of dissembling. The people of West
Bengal, it was ipso facto evident, want a different regime to rule
them and they, the media, are ambassadors extraordinary, directly
despatched by the Almighty to bring about this change. The media set
to work. They posted hilarious imaginary tales about how the minds of
the voters were working in district after district and constituency
after constituency. Once such an exercise is on, it is contaminating:
A’s gossip becomes B’s staple, B’s gossip becomes C’s staple, and so
on down the line, with illusion feeding upon illusion. […]

None of the media bothered to find out whether voters in West Bengal,
in town and country, could have a mind of their own and might have
benefited in some measure or other on account of the activities of the
Left Front regime in the course of the past two and a half decades.
They regarded the electorate in West Bengal as dummies who would vote
as the media would direct them to.


Mainstream media constantly tries to thrust particular political
viewpoints, omits actual facts, misinforms, systematically makes or
breaks a candidate’s popularity or a party’s success and failure
through obvious one-sided reporting. Sometimes they succeed; sometimes
they fail but pretend that they didn’t. Keeping in mind the 2001
events, we humbly offer a suggestion to the pompous TMC leaders and
their obsessive supporters – do not get carried away by the media
hyperbole. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat


Postscript: While tracing the mainstream English and regional language
media’s blatant projection of Mamata Banerjee as the next chief
minister, R Uma Maheshwari wrote in a most recent article in The Hoot
that “Mamata seems more like a media candidate than that of a party”.
Titled “A media bubble called Mamata?” the article points out how The
Telegraph, for instance, seems to have “appointed itself the election
manager of Mamata Banerjee / Trinamool.” Instead of focusing on
pertinent issues, the motivated media has concentrated, as Maheshwari
has observed, on a a single-point “hate campaign not just against the
Left Front, but Communist ideology itself.” “Today the poll battle is
not merely, as I see it, about Mamata and the Left, per se, but a
fight between different forms of economic and ideological
developments. It is a concerted effort made by a section of media,
supported by a certain class, against Communism,” Maheshwari comments
bitterly. (Source



A. Mani

A. Mani

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