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.