Behavior of Sakshi, Eenadu and ABN in discussion lately. They are going to great lengths trying to show their supported political parties in good light, and opponents in bad light.
There are two types of popular news channels.
The Neutral Type (Examples: CNN, NDTV, IBNLIVE, TV9): They don’t take any side, unless it is trivial. Not good side, not bad side. The only agenda is making money for themselves. They take money from both sides. They rather skip a news item than take a clear side. No matter what, they will equate everything. They usually end every discussion saying “sab chor hain”. Every news item is categorized into how long it will be played. They will cash by raising the pulse of the viewer, but they are sure to drop it before the news makes any real impact. They tend to be center-leftist, because of the popularity of the ideology. This type of channels are usually not wrong, because they take less risks. They invest more on technology, and they look sophisticated. They also show more feel good stories, and entertainment news mixed with serious news.
The Biased Type (Examples: Fox News, MSNBC, Sakshi, TV5, ABN, Eenadu): They have a clear agenda, and they take a stand. They tell you clearly who is good and who is bad. They only show news articles which fall into their story line (even if people are dying on the other side, they don’t care). Their sponsors are generally defined. Surprisingly (or not), they make more money when their opponents form the government. Even though people from outside know what side these news orgs stand on, the regular viewers believe they are “balanced”. In general these news orgs have overall lesser market share, but they have a strong dedicated base. They operate on high risk, so they are more often incorrect than correct. I am not a “sab chor hain” type. So I have to say this – I believe Eenadu is much better than Sakshi.
So what’s the point? I think the “Neutral” type is a little more dangerous in the long run than the Biased. But there is a third type, which is the best type of news organizations. This type of media is which runs on very low budget, which doesn’t depend on politicians, government, big corporations funding. Which depends on the grassroots journalism, whistle-blowers, and donations from the listeners. Examples for this type: Democracynow.org. I haven’t seen such well established setups in India yet. But on a much smaller scale, cgnetswara.org, theweekendleader.com and nrisamay.com