The mainstream media has mastered the Art of Obfuscation – especially when it comes to headlines. TRPs trump the truth, almost always (I’m using the term TRPs figuratively; it includes, viewership, circulation, clicks, shares, etc.).
In the current era of information overload and short attention spans, few read beyond the headlines or the tweets. And more often than not, the news is so predictable – that most readers can even adequately guess the pattern of news contents.
Knowing well that most people don’t read beyond headlines, the headlines are worded such, that they deliberately obfuscate the way media wants to. Take an example from yesterday.
Army killed two terrorists in Bandipora in Kashmir. In the operation, some Indian currency, including the new Rs 2000 notes, were recovered from them. If your read the headlines or tweets from media houses, you will believe that terrorists, presumably from Pakistan, were having huge cache of new currency notes:
After reading these, you will start wondering how did they get this cache of new currency notes? Is Pakistan already printing fake currency notes (a rumour many have spread)? Is our banking system compromised? And obviously, has demonetisation failed (because we just need a sensationalist headline, like death tolls, to conclude that)?
In fact, some articles didn’t leave that to your imagination and went on to suggest that the demonetisation goal of striking hard on the fake currency and terror funding networks had failed:
Bingo! Mission Accomplished.
Whether done for agenda or for TRPs by the respective media houses, the sensationalist headlines were used for nothing else but agenda and misinformation by political Smart Alec’s and their sidekicks on the social media.
Look at these reactions:
If you haven’t drilled into the news report details by now – can you guess how much of this new currency was with those terrorists?
A grand total of “Two notes”. Yes, Rs 4000/-.
Is it a big deal for two new notes to find their way to terrorists through their handlers, supporters, well-wishers in the valley? In fact, reports confirm that security forces raided private houses after receiving information about the terrorists. So those private houses of local residents can’t provide two terrorists with one new note each? Internet is splashed with people clicking selfies with new 2000 rupees notes, but we are to believe that no one in India has seen those?
Unless of course the editors in each of our reputed media houses think that terrorists in Kashmir live in snow caves beyond Siachen where Pakistan supplies them everything, and that Article 370 debars RBI to release the new currency in Kashmir valley, or that new currency has been only home delivered only to BJP supporters alone so far.
To be fair, there was one media house that did report the news with accurate headline telling readers that only two new notes, along with cache of arms and old currency notes, were recovered from the terrorists. And guess what, the report has got just one share on Twitter and another on Facebook (till the time of filing this report):
So truth is struggling to register its presence while lies have ubiquitously found its way everywhere.
Least we can expect is this article being widely shared, so that media knows that truth also sells, not just TRPs. Assuming that they care about the truth.