Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sophistry in Indian media

Nietzsche said, ‘There are no facts; only interpretations’.

This is so true with the newspaper Times of India (TOI). For over three months they ran extensive Lead India Campaign urging and exhorting urban voters of Bangalore to come out and yet. Few days before elections, they even predicted a dramatic increase in the voter turnout because of their campaign. Voting took place yesterday in Bangalore and the results are out.

Bangalore records a ‘feeble 50%’ turnout. According to TOI,

The 50% average for the four Bangalore constituencies is lower than the 54% recorded in the last Lok Sabha polls before delimitation.

So, in reality, after the intensive campaigning we saw the turnout decreased by 4% from the last Lok Sabha elections. As again, the rural Bangalore compensated for urban Bangalore. Bangalore Rural posted 58% turnout while Bangalore South and Bangalore Central posted only 45% turnout.

However, that did not stop TOI from making the following claim. Their patted themselves back on the first-page lead-news story saying:

Call it the impact of the aggressive ‘go-vote’ campaign by various citizen groups or the sheer need to take charge of their destiny, Bangalore saw a 6% higher voter turnout…

‘What?’ you may think. ‘What sheer nonsense!’ you may say. How could TOI twist the facts around to suit their agenda you may ask! For that you have to read what Nietzsche said once again – no facts, only interpretations, and of late TOI has become very good at it. The next sentence tells you how they use the facts to promote their agenda.

…as compared to 2008 assembly polls.

You see – though the Lok Sabha turnout has actually decreased from 54% to 50%, TOI conveniently compared Lok Sabha turnout with Assembly poll turnout to prove that their campaign achieved success. Most often, the dynamics for Lok Sabha polls and Assembly polls are quite different, and that’s why the pundits keep the comparison separate.

TOI has mastered the art of sophistry, and their incessant campaigns on every issue are only becoming annoying – but my fear is that it will soon become the biggest propaganda machine, worse than Indian politicians, capable of brainwashing its readers to promote its vested interests and ideology. That day is not far away.


  1. >>>"That day is not far away. "

    That day passed by long ago.

  2. just wanted to say that i'm a fan of your blog and i hope you keep writing. people are reading....

  3. Shabaash, Sujai. Finally you're waking up to the lies and spins of media. BTW, how many of your opinions and posts over the years were written based on what you read (and quoted in your posts) in the newspapers/media, and how many of your views were cemented based on what you read (truth? lies? who knows)? Do you ever go back and check your posts to see whether the media made any mistakes, hindsight being 20/20?


  4. We are the one who define number system with base 10, we could have used base 11.

    We are the one who defined start date 1st Jan, 1 A.D. There is no natural reason for setting our counter to day 1 on that fateful day.

    What if somebody has labelled 1st Jan, one day after. That will change all my future (acc. to calculations) ?



Dear Commenters:
Please identify yourself. At least use a pseudonym. Otherwise there will be too many *Anonymous*; making it confusing.

Do NOT write personal information or whereabouts about the author or other commenters. You are free to write about yourself. Please do not use abusive language. Do not indulge in personal attacks and insults.

Write comments which are relevant and make sense so that the debate remains healthy.