The media, specifically the news media, to this very day sets the narrative. There have been conflicting opinions over time that the media’s impact of setting the agenda is slowly dwindling and fading away. While this might be true, it is an irrefutable fact that the media, even today, sets a frame of narrative. It may or may not be able to frame the opinions any longer, however, it offers a frame to its audience to form an opinion on. In the world of media, the Agenda Setting Theory states that the media will always set the frame of reference for its audiences to implicitly form an opinion upon. The difference being that the world has dramatically gone from having a passive audience to an interactively active one.
2014 was a turning point for India, more so for the West’s opinion about India. The strength of Indian democracy was brutally displayed to the West when Narendra Modi was voted to power with a thumping majority. At the time, 2014 was an election in which the maximum number of Indians had cast the ballot in 70 years of democratic India. Now it must be remembered that all nations want themselves at the top, some say so explicitly, while others masquerade as superpowers concerned about the entire world. As such, these nations per se have various entities and agencies working in their interest. A strong India is not in favour of many ‘first-world nations’. This is where media comes into the picture. Many a time, western media has outsourced the job of deriding India, its civilization, its people and its democracy. Otherwise, it does the same, with the only difference being that it does so out of its own bias and inherent hatred towards India. A robust and strong government in India is not in the best interests of the first world countries of the West. Therefore, it has been a concerted effort of the western media to destabilize India. The joke here is that it seriously thought that it could. For five years now, India has been the favourite punching bag of western media. The admirable fact here, however, is that we, unlike before, have been giving it back as good as we get, ever since.
The abject joke that is the Western media, for the better part of 2014, couldn’t gather its heads around what had just happened in India. How did a people throw out the ‘venerable’ party, that is, the Congress, out of the power corridors in the stroke of only one election? Who is Narendra Modi to have driven the Congress party out of Delhi? 2014 went by as a generalized year for them, as they took out boring editorials preempting the dangerous future of India under Modi.
By 2015, the west had enough material to begin its thrashing of India and Modi. The ‘Church attacks’ in Delhi, which were mere incidents of theft and street-side vandalism, were blown out of proportion both by foreign and domestic media. The obvious conclusions they arrived at were that the Christian community of India was under an existential threat. Incidents of Ghar-wapsi were also projected as India regressing into the medieval ages. Over the course of PM Modi’s first five years in office, the conversion rackets run by ‘NGOs’ were strangulated. Funds to these NGO’s were choked. They were slapped with FCRA violations. All in all, the West saw the near-death of their conversion mafia’s in India. This made their blood boil, as India began to reclaim its identity as an 8000-year-old civilization.
2016 and the year after were largely spent by them outraging on how India was turning out to be a living hell for the majority-minority community. The trend they harped on to back then were ‘mob-lynchings’. Incidentally, 2016 was also the year when Modi addressed the US Congress. The media could simply not stomach the fact that a man once barred from entering the United States was today addressing their Congress as the head of the world’s largest democracy. 2016 was also the year when India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC. Pakistan denied such strikes took place, and the West happily obliged. Their inclination towards Pakistan was evident from how they reported on the issue. The headlines they used were itself enough to make people believe that India was lying and that no such strikes took place. This was also the time when Burhan Wani was killed by the Indian Army, which had led to widespread violence in the Kashmir valley. The Western media went berserk. Questioning Indian ‘occupation’ of Kashmir, it highlighted supposed ‘human right violations’ in the valley. To this day, western media is sympathetic to the Pakistani version and rhetoric on Kashmir.
Over the years, we have been able to easily identify the most rabidly anti-India media houses in the West. These include The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera, Guardian, among others. These are the media outlets which doll out frequent bile against India. Till recently, the anti-India hate was hidden behind hatred for PM Modi, however, by now the hate has become much more explicit and directed against Hindus and their way of life. In the run-up to the 2019 elections, TIME magazine had a cover in which an aggressive Modi animation was supplemented with the caption “India’s Divider in Chief”.
2019 has been a nightmare for the Hindu-baiting media around the world. Post the Pulwama terror attack in February this year, India carried out an unprecedented offensive against Pakistan by bombing terror launch pads and training centres in the surgically-conducted airstrikes. Here too, the international media was more than happy to believe Pakistan’s version, that the strikes never took place. The display of India’s military might rattled many in the establishments across the West.
Then came the election results on May 23rd. All hell broke loose. The sheer magnanimity of Narendra Modi’s second election win rattled the spines of his haters, both within and outside India. It must be remembered that much of western media’s anti-India content is provided for by some select ‘journalists’ in India who simply anyone within the country refuses to employ. Ever since Modi 2.0 has assumed office, there has not been one uninteresting day in office.
On August 5th, the Modi government abrogated Article 370. Western media was on its knees by now. It couldn’t wrap its head around what was happening in India and needed to up the ante on anti-India propaganda. The decisiveness with which this government was taking decisions had never been seen before. Of course, the rhetoric flown by western media on this historic decision was colossally anti-India. If that wasn’t enough, the historic verdict of the Supreme Court on the Ram Janmbhoomi case, clearing the way for a Ram Mandir convinced international media that India had completed its journey to becoming a Hindu theocratic state. Now with the Citizenship Amendment Bill a hot topic of discussion, the same media is at its stunts once again. It is trying to portray India as an anti-Muslim country, without of course reading up either on this bill or its context.
The question finally arises, why this hell-bent outrage against any decision which India and its government is taking? What stake do these international media outlets have to continuously deride the choice which majority of Indians have made politically? It all boils down to the first-world and third-world order divide. A robust third-world democracy flourishing and developing at an unimaginable pace, strengthening its sovereignty and its defences, has turned into an eye-sore for such western media outlets. Moreover, there is an inherent hatred towards the right-wing ideology, which the BJP and Modi are identified with. It is this bias and hatred which has fueled the propaganda over the years and will continue to do so. The good thing however is, Indians have been giving it back as good as they are getting it. We are not going to be sermonized by a bunch of hateful and racist journalists of the west.