Media the fourth pillar of democracy has been serving more like a ladder for politicians. News anchors have become mouthpieces of different political parties selling narratives of their political masters. News anchors whose sole job should be reading news are now not shying away from playing philosophers, historians, political analysts, and sometimes scientists. Therefore, it has become imperative for the public to remain more alert and critical towards news outlets so they are not fed with false propaganda and poisonous narratives.
The preponderance of the news anchors is pretty vocal about their political affiliation or at least you can grasp their priorities from their monologues delivered at the starting of the hour-long rant. However, few news anchors such as Ravish Kumar who declare themselves neutral and inert to any political influence are the most dangerous ones because they can camouflage their political narratives as news by decorating it with false but sensational information, relatable characters and conventional ‘Governments don’t care about poor’ sentiments.
To understand various manipulative tricks employed by NDTV and Ravish Kumar watch ‘Prime Time With Ravish Kumar, May 08, 2020’. The Prime time was about the unfortunate death of 16 migrant workers by a cargo train in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Ravish used such a fateful incident to hurl multiple criticisms on the central government without mentioning the failure of the state government of Maharashtra. Ravish went on to criticize M.P. government because they offered 5 lakhs to the family of the victims but not uttered a single word against the Maharashtra government.
Needless to say why Ravish spared Maharashtra government and why his passionate monologue only targeted BJP-ruled states. He went on to showing videos of his reporters interviewing labourers in BJP-ruled states, which is great but why such geographical limitation when showing pain and discomfort of labourers? Is everything fine in Congress-ruled states? His reporter even from Mumbai didn’t utter a single word about the Maharashtra government. One aspect of the plight of migrant workers I find difficult to fathom is why the responsibility should be assigned only to the states these poor migrants are marching towards? States like Maharashtra and Delhi could not provide shelter and food to these poor people, so governments of source states from where these migrant labourers are escaping are bigger culprits.
After ranting about the poor condition of migrant workers (Only in BJP-ruled states) he suddenly drops the news of the death of a senior journalist from Agra, Uttar Pradesh and acts emotionally devastated. One can sense his anguish on the demise of the journalist is not genuine which makes you wonder why he suddenly brought this up. And then he cleverly slides the motive by mentioning how a health official from UP declared the ‘Agra model’ for Coronavirus successful and death of this journalist shows that claims by the official were deceiving. As a viewer it hits you and you start to think is there any limit for this person? How can one use the death of a co-worker to advance his propaganda? He immediately returns to the final segment of his preaching based journalism by name-calling twitter users and fellow TV anchors, and delivering an unsolicited lecture on ‘how to become a good journalist’.
Most of the Ravish’s prime time shows paddle the narrative put together by leftists and nitpick every move of the government to demonize it. In the prime time show telecast on 23th April Ravish Kumar defended Kashmiri journalists who were charged under Anti-Terror Law and also declared it as government’s move to curb free journalism. Like he usually does he propagated false narrative to gather sympathy for the accused journalists. Ideally, as a news anchor he should have put forth the FB posts of the accused journalists, and let the audience decide if the posts were anti-national or not. But of course, those FB posts would have exposed his fake propaganda. Here are the screenshots of the FB posts by Masrat Zahra one of the accused journalists. In these FB posts, she is referring terrorists as martyrs, glorifying stone-pelters, and celebrating Indian cricket team’s defeat in world cup semi final.
If your are still not convinced about the fact that Ravish Kumar is biased. Watch video of him interviewing Rahul Gandhi where he is almost hinting answers to him and then compare it with the famous interview of Rahul Gandhi with Arnab Goswami (Frankly speaking with Arnab Goswami 2014).
The question comes in mind is that even after constantly propagating false propagandas, how Ravish Kumar gets away with selling it every time and why few people still blindly believe him including educated ones. The prime reason is Ravish puts an act of being sensitive towards poor people. He knows his audiences are emotional people who will believe any information given it is blended with emotions. Even after being one of the wealthiest TV news anchors, he tries to portray himself simple middle-class man to appear more relatable. Most importantly, to disguise his preaching as unbiased news-reporting he will include subtle harmless criticism of his favourite political side. These are few of the tricks which he frequently uses to disguise his propaganda as news.
If Ravish Kumar is a neutral Journalist then Hitler was a peace lover. The Ramon Magsaysay winner is so brave that while his contemporary news anchors are reporting from studios he is still running his prime time show from home and the irony is he got the award for giving voice to poor people by going among them for reporting.