The thumping victory of Arvind Kejriwal over Narendra Modi's BJP, which has been winning one election after another since December 2013, has also raised a serious question about the credibility of the media. [Exit polls went wrong in Delhi]
Why did the electronic media could not make a prediction that did not even go near to the eventual results? The exit poll that came closest to the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) actual tally of 67 was 48, which in itself is a disappointing one. And to speak about the pre-poll opinion polls, the figures were even worse.
Why sophisticated & elite media fail to feel the pulse?
Then what was the elite media with all its sophisticated mechanism doing in the national capital, which is politically the most covered region of the nation?
The results of the Delhi election prove the fact that television journalism of this country has been reduced to hollow noise. Boastful reporting and anchoring, arrogant display of expertise, strong claims of understanding but at the end of the day, there is little realistic word done on the ground.
It is hard to believe that in the cut-throat competition for the top spot, none of the media channels did the actual work of understanding the real pulse of the voters and present the real picture.
Only big parties are not arrogant nowadays, even the media is
They started citing the BJP's arrogance for the debacle after the results came out, but one should not lose sight of the fact that the medium too has turned equally arrogant and is not always able to fathom the mind of the common man. And it couldn't foresee the tsunami in Delhi because of that.
Media predictions had failed in Gujarat assembly polls & Lok Sabha election in the past as well
In 2002, the media was left fooled in the Gujarat assembly election when it was projected that Narendra Modi was set to loose after the pogroms held earlier that year. But the reality was completely different. It was same during the Lok Sabha election of 2004 as well when Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government was expected to return to power but it wasn't the case eventually.
The prediction was not perfect in the 2007 Gujarat assembly election either. Even in the Lok Sabha election held last year, most of the exit polls failed to predict the NDA's tally.
No channel could understand the situation in Krishna Nagar despite the high level of coverage?
Coming back to the Delhi election, the BJP had won the Krishna Nagar seat by 43,000 votes in 2013 but lost by 2,200 votes this time. It was a high-profile constituency both times for the BJP's chief ministerial candidates in both elections contested from this seat. How could the media fail to understand the dynamics of this seat even after a high-level of reporting?
The media seems to be more obsessed with leaders and the voters nowadays
The problem with the functioning of the media channels is perhaps there is a lack of a genuine intent to reach the core of the voter's mind and get the exercise of understanding the poll mood done formally by getting people fill up questionnaires.
There is clearly a loss of connection with the ground reality as television journalism has evolved more as an avenue of glamour and elitism and not the place of a sweating reporter making rounds in the sun and rain.
A wake-up call for the Indian audience: Noise is not journalism
The Delhi election should be a wake-up call for the Indian audience. They should start believing now is that elections are not just about pro- and cons- of a particular party or politician. The dynamics of electoral politics extends much beyond personalities and symbols but unfortunately, the strong focus of the television media falls on those few factors before a verdict is passed.
No politician wins or loses throughout his or her career. But if the media loses its credibility once, it is a herculean task for it to win the faith back from there.