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How leftist media exploits “human vulnerability”

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Sushant Sharma
Sushant Sharma works in the brand planning and strategy team for Leo Burnett Worldwide. He is an MBA from MICA (formerly, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad). He was awarded the prestigious "top 100 young business leaders" award by CNBC TV18 and Dare2Compete. He writes research articles for Indian Management which is a management journal published by All India Management Association.

Almost two years ago, Facebook co-founder made a staggering revelation as he discussed how Facebook takes advantage of a fault in our brains. He talked about the “social-validation feedback loop”, which is nothing but the desire of people to know what other people think of them. At the very heart of every social media platform in the world is this feedback loop – you post, people comment, you reply, someone likes your comment, someone disagrees, you reply, they reply. Do you see a feedback loop there?

I have come to a realization that the leftist media in our country takes advantages of another such human vulnerability in the day and age of social media. Let’s be honest and not fool ourselves – much of the younger people (less than 30 years) in bigger cities in India follow news from social media more than from mainstream media. A report from ASSOCHAM sheds more light into media consumption habits of young adults in big cities – “80% of Indians consumes news from social media rather than newspapers”. But why this sudden sea change in the habits? The answer to that lies at the centre of instant-gratification theory of marketing.

This cohort of younger people would show a preference towards anything and everything that is instant in nature – from the desire to cook two-minute instant to the desire to buy a new car that will require a high-interest loan instead of waiting until you have saved enough money to buy it without taking a loan. This is a reality. Psychologist Shahram Heshmat in his landmark study on instant-gratification argues that younger people are inadvertently attracted to impulsive choices. This is exactly what the leftist media irresponsibly takes advantage of in India and perhaps also the world.

Everyone would have seen how ThePrint carried an irresponsible piece claiming that Ram Navmi celebrations would go during the virus scare in India. The story was given a catchphrase like a title which encouraged people to draw instant conclusions. The title read – Despite coronavirus, lakhs to gather in Ayodhya because this ‘Ram Navami is different’. There were a lot of people who shared this story before being left ashamed a few days later when the same celebrations were rightly called off in India. At the same time, there were a lot of Hindu mass gatherings that were called off despite there being a lot of religious friction. Some of them included – Ganga Aarti in Varanasi, Vaishno Devi in J&K, Mumbadevi Temple in Mumbai, Shridi Saibababa Temple, Sidhivinayak Dagdusheth, Buddhist Monastery, all temples in Himachal.

However, not a single leftist media cared to cite this as an example. Interestingly, they also stayed away from an unconstitutional gathering of people blocking roads in Shaheen Bagh, Delhi. I very strongly feel that unconstitutional gathering of people of Shaheen Bagh is a serious national threat to India. Let us look at one example that puts the entire discussions of mass gathering to bed. Patient 31 in South Korea who was a “super – spreader” of Coronavirus and a member of the fringe church called Shincheonji. It came to contact with 1100 people and is said to have contributed to 80% of total Coronavirus cases in South Korea. It just needs one carrier to have a catastrophic effect on a country.

Everyone has a political opinion, but very few have educated opinions. The leftist media comes as a solution to the persistent tension in the minds of younger people to help them form political opinions. An average young adult is drawn into their philosophy which is the prima-facie idealistic of the two worlds. A lot of younger people show predispositions towards the left- naturally, it’s a more liberating and an ideal world. It takes time for the people to be drawn towards the sagacious world. You would see this phenomenon repeat itself like a template everywhere around the world. In the last UK election, when 60% of people ages 18-24 voted for the left-wing Labour Party, while 61% of people over 64 voted for the right-wing Conservatives.

The only explanation to this is that as people get more educated and get exposed more to the real world they make a shift to the other side of the coin. Now let’s look at an interesting study by the National Election Study (NES) that argues the more a Muslim is educated, the more he is likely to vote for BJP. The data suggest that the Muslim support for the BJP has certain discernible patterns – Shia, economically well-off, better educational qualification, women, young, religious, and slightly more opposed to inter-caste and inter-religious marriage. In the most recent Delhi Elections, a study argued that as the academic qualifications of a voter soared he was more likely to lean towards BJP. Is it because these people are less dependent on social media to help them form an opinion? It is true that as people age their reading habits improve and they’re also more exposed to the real world.

The leftist media scavenges of vulnerabilities just like Facebook does in the words of Sean Parker. But there are multiple stakeholders who give the ancillary support to these media houses. Perhaps the strongest of all them are the academicians in Indian universities. While I was studying in a premier management institution in India, I failed to comprehend how some of the professors could peddle socialist ideology which is the antithesis of everything in management. Well, I can imagine that if there is space for academicians like those in management institutions, the scene might be really scary in other institutions that are known for excellence in social sciences and humanities. I am personally not a big fan of Winston Churchill but he said something really provocative about socialism on 28th May 1948 in Scotland.

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
Winston Churchill

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Sushant Sharma
Sushant Sharma works in the brand planning and strategy team for Leo Burnett Worldwide. He is an MBA from MICA (formerly, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad). He was awarded the prestigious "top 100 young business leaders" award by CNBC TV18 and Dare2Compete. He writes research articles for Indian Management which is a management journal published by All India Management Association.

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