How The Times of India went after N. Srinivasan

3 June 2013

toi

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: Depending on what you expect of your newspaper, either The Times of India played just the right role in the N. Srinivasan matter: proactively taking up an issue that concerns a “nation of a billion-plus”, right up to the very end, even if it did not secure the end it would have liked.

Or, it plainly overdid it, to the exclusion of all else, eventually falling flat on its face.

Over a 13-day period beginning May 22, ToI ran 87 pieces (outside of general BCCI/IPL pieces) with the BCCI president exclusively in focus and almost all of them either demanding, provoking or predicting the end for Srinivasan following his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan‘s arrest in the alleged IPL betting scandal involving Vindoo Dara Singh.

Among these 87 pieces were seven editorials, mini-editorials and opinion pieces, five interviews, and four cartoons.

It even launched a public service advertising campaign (below) midway through the campaign.

toi

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ToI‘s hunt for Srinivasan’s head—which even as of today is far removed from the original IPL spotfixing scam involving S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan—began on May 22, the day it launched its “I Lead India” campaign with the poser: “Do you feel you can be a changemaker?”

But it was only on May 28, the day after Srinivasan told a BCCI meeting in Calcutta that he would not resign following his son-in-law’s arrest for his purported involvement in betting, that the ToI coverage took on a more aggressive, advocacy air—eerily reminiscent of the paper’s Commonwealth Games campaign—urging board members, politicians and other sportspersons to speak up or quit to bring pressure on Srinivasan to do the same.

In making the murky BCCI saga its bread, butter, jam and marmalade day after day for 13 days, The Times of India relegated more important but less reader-friendly stories, like the massacre of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh at the hands of Maoists to the inside pages.

# On May 26, the day after the Chhattisgarh massacre in which 28 people perished, the story was second-lead (as indeed in the Hindustan Times).

# Srinivasan’s fate was the lead ToI story on each of the 13 days; in contrast, the Chhattisgarh ambush found a front-page mention only on four days.

# Altogether, ToI ran 29 stories on Chhattisgarh as opposed to 87 on Srinivasan alone.

# Four times, ToI invoked the name of India Cements, Srinivasan’s company (“India Cements stocks hit 52-week low”, “India Cements brand to take a hit”, “India Cements disowns Meiyappan”, “India Cements underperform peers”) to drive home its point on Srinivasan.

# On May 29, ToI rounded up 30 talking heads seeking Srinivasan’s ouster.

The role of Times Now in drumming up the anti-Srinivasan mood is outside of this quantitative analysis, but with Srinivasan only “stepping aside” for a month at the end of all the sound and fury signifying nothing, the newsworthiness of the Times campaign is open to question.

Below are the Times of India‘s 87 headlines, graphics straplines, intros, editorials, mini-editorials, cartoons, interviews involving Srinivasan over the 13-day period.

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May 22

Lead story: IPL fixing scandal could reach the top

Team-owner’s relative [Gurunath Meiyappan] under lens

Phone records link him with betting syndicate

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May 23

Lead story: Police prepare to question BCCI chief’s son-in-law for betting links Day after TOI‘s report, CSK boss Gurunath Meiyappan elusive

BCCI chief mum on Meiyappan role

Editorial: Clean the Stables

A school dropout, Guru tried to build career in Srinivasan shadow

***

May 24

Cops land at BCCI chief’s family’s doorstep Srinivasan’s son-in-law gets summons, seeks time

[CSK] Team boss lost a crore on bets: Vindoo

BCCI brass faces fixing heat

Rules did not stop him from wearing two hats Industry captain and BCCI power player

From Board chief, the silent treatment

Srinivasan also under CBI lens in Jagan Mohan Reddy assets case

BCCI chief may use his clout

Interview: ‘Those at the top in BCCi should resign’: Lalit Modi

***

May 25

Guru arrested, Srinivasan may lose crown

After hours of grilling, cops say BCCI chief’s son-in-law ‘involved in offence’

Srinivasan rejects growing calls for resignation, threatens to ‘fix’ media

Interview: It’s either Srinivasan or Sahara, says Subroto Roy

India Cements shares at 52-week low

India Cements disowns Gurunath

Is Srini trying to insulate CSK?

Law catches up with the son-in-law

Srinivasan should quit right away, say voices in the BCCI

Interview: A.C. Muthiah has a go at his arch-enemy

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May 26

Real final: Srinivasan vs Rest of India

Ouster plan: first nudge, then shove

‘I won’t be bulldozed into quitting, media unfair’: Srinivasan

Graphic: 3/4 majority to remove President

Strapline: Someone’s stepping down

Cricket fans should bat for a change

BCCI prez may manage to stay on

Law will take its course: Board chief on son-in-law Srini meets Meiyappan’s lawyers

‘Brand India Cements to take a hit’

IPL needs to cleanse itself from within

Former stars want BCCI prez to go

Srini men start lobbying, Shukla meets Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata

Interview: ‘It was a huge mistake to bring Srinivasan into administration’: A.C. Muthiah

***

May 27

Weak-kneed BCCI falls in line as Srinivasan flatly refuses to walk

Strapline: Chief says he is above board

Editorial: The darkest hour—Srinivasan must quit, followed by the overthrow of cricket’s absentee landlord and revamp of BCCI

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May 28

Lead story: Why are they silent?

Cartoon: He is taking bets on who’s going to be the first to resign

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May 29

Lead story: Jyotiraditya Scindia becomes first neta in BCCI to say Srinivasan should resign

Strapline: Across fields, Board boss under fire ‘Time for him to go’

Talking heads with 30 voices

Interview: Srinivasan holds power and wields it: Kishore Rungta

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May 30

Lead story: Finally, Rajiv Shukla and Arun Jaitley say they too want Srinivasan out

Cracks widen in BCCI, even treasurer Ajay Shirke says he would have quit

Strapline: Chorus against Board boss swells

Six talking heads

Srini still has the numbers to hang on

Cheating case filed against Srinivasan

Strapline: Wheels within wheels

Minieditorial: calling for resignation

Jaitley, Shukla asked defiant Srini to quit; BCCI chief said ‘Not in my nature’

Third edit: The Sons-in-law factor, by Bachi Karkaria

Edit page piece: Rip the veil of silence, by Ayaz Memom

May the foes be with you: all the president’s men are fair-weather friends

The endgame has begun

Dalmiya denies he asked Srinivasan not to resign

No one in BCCI asked for his resignation: Shirke

***

May 31

Lead story: Majority now against Srinivasan, can call BCCI meet to remove him

Strapline: Board boss on a turning pitch

How Srini gave himself a life term

Srini’s conflict of interest hearing from July 16

Cartoon: I’m going to hang on to this post as long as I want

India Cements underperform peers

Anti-Srini camp won’t wait for probe

19 talking heads on which way board meet will go

***

June 1

Lead story: Game all but over for Srinivasan

Six days after BCCI boss declared he had board’s unanimous support, he’s running out of partners His no.2 and no. 3 quit, several more top officials to follow suit

Cartoon: Punchline: The best spot-fixer I’ve seen—he’s so fixed to the spot that no one can get him away from it

***

June 2

Lead story: Srini sets terms for exit, BCCI members unwilling to play ball

Strapline: His four demands

Mini editorial

Srinivasan wanted Shukla to go too

Advertisement: “To run sports in India you don’t need to be good in games, only in gamesmanship”

Srinivasan vs ICC

***

June 3

Lead story: Match result: all out for no loss

Srinivasan to ‘step aside’: some say it’s a face-saver for him, others call it an anti-climax and a sham

Strap line: Will he really sit it out?

Editorial: nation dismayed: BCCI’s credibility lies in tatters as India’s cricket fans are sold a lemon

For Srini, a strategic time out

‘Nobody dared ask Srini to quit, only he spoke for first 40 minutes’

Cartoon: I’ve stepped aside

Srini shot down Shashank Manohar‘s name

***

Infographic and advertisement: courtesy The Times of India

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Also read: The Times of India and Commonwealth Games

107 headlines from TOI on Commonwealth Games

How The Times of India pumped up Team Anna

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12 Responses to “How The Times of India went after N. Srinivasan”

  1. atamaram sekar Says:

    Indeed. So very true. Please also analyse the shrill high octane campaign by Times Now with the ever ready Arnab Goswami for the ouster of the BCCI President.Personally, I found the BCCI politics even more Machiavellian than what normally passes for politics in Lutyen’s Delhi or many of our State Capitals. Further, I strongly felt that Mr Srinivasan should have resigned the day his SIL was arrested.However, the television coverage,especially of Times Now, almost made me feel sympathetic towards Mr Srinivasan. Often, hyper hysterical coverage of events not only distort the real picture, increasingly we are forced to turn off our television sets. I have found a reasonable anti dote to this astro turf hysteria for my fix of the news for the day.Since I am comfortable with 4 languages(English, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam), I flip channels, identify the key news story of the day and go to the news channel which displays a modicum of sobriety.That also depends on the key personalities involved. And horror of horrors, DD news is inviting enough! Sekhar 

    ________________________________

  2. Melanie Says:

    For the TOI, it is always “jo bikega, woh likhega.” I agree with the previous poster and the media that N. Srinivasan should have resigned on Day 1 but it has not happened and probably never will! The BCCI guys, especially its politician members, are all partners in crime and ace manipulators. Clearly, yesterday’s agenda involved the keeping out of Sharad Pawar. But the TOI coverage, especially on Times Now, was over the top with unnecessary decibels from Arnab Goswami (He just hectors people and does not let them complete their statements!) The media house sees itself as the new “Change” messiah and this time it seems to have boomeranged badly.

  3. lsubu Says:

    Times Now’s coverage of the Srinivasan saga was as shrill as it was patently unjournalistic. It was clearly biased, angry and jingoisitc. Like on June 2nd, after the Chennai meeting (which was a farce anyway), Times had a leader which said “death of cricket” or something as dangerous sounding as that. They had Surinder Khanna (scrapping the bottom of the barrel) who even questioned why judges from Tamil Nadu will always support Srini. Then there was one more panellist who was whining about how BCCI had not taken his support when he offered.. Times was all over the place.. the best part of the conversation was when one panellist started saying “in light of the spot fixing scam” and was rudely interrupted by the anchor who shrieked “this is not about spot fixing, not about spot fixing, not about spot fixing”. In fact, they perhaps turned the tide in favor of Srini as most viewers (the English speaking types) felt embarrased about the noise level. The non-English speaking types anyway dont care..


  4. While one has never committed the sin of associating the Times of India with journalism, one must admit that this rant against cricket administration showcased a hitherto acerbic nature of the group that’s known for baking news – yes not breaking news! To waste so much of newsprint and such a lot of air time on a private club that runs cricket is hardly something that one expects the ToI to do but for some or the other ulterior motive. Were they playing cheerleaders to Sharad Pawar or did it have something to do with their own failure to win an IPL franchise, nobody can tell. But, suffice to say that Times of India proved that it was definitely not in sync with the ‘times of India’ when it came to selecting and following news on which we as citizens of this country have a right to speak on and be heard. As for the BCCI, it is a private club that has its own constitution and cricket lovers are free to shift to hockey or football if they believe that the mandarins are doing a bad job of administering the game.

  5. Perez Chandra Says:

    Surprising that Mr Loudmouth at the helm of Press Council is uncharacteristically very quiet! Suresh Kalmadi was the target of Time pass India when he did not oblige an exclusive ad contract. Surely did Srini too commit a similar crime?

  6. ERR Says:

    Thank God DD is still there just giving news leaving it for audience to do their own analysis!

  7. chennaivaasi Says:

    Times of India is a known devil. They can stoop to any level, everyone knows. But the Hindu, the “most respected English daily in India” joining the rat race to bring down all journalistic ethics to mud was something unexpected. Now its readers can imagine where the new editor will take the paper to.

  8. Bhaskar Says:

    There’s more than meets the eye in TOI’s hysteria over Srinivasan. The desperate effort to unseat him cannot be explained (as Times Now sought to do) as “love of the sport.” Seems more like love of money and the desire to have the BCCI cash cow in friendly hands.


  9. wonder who paid for it .. !!!! these ‘respectable’ leaders who in normal course would have at best been nominated to Rajya Sabha some day have been given such undue publicity and been demonized and made fit to nurture ambitions of entering Lok Sabha.

    well done TOI.. u gonna have friends in high places soon

  10. John Johnny Says:

    If you want to have “real” news, go to the Internet. It is no use to feed the fat-cat journalists and editors of papers like TOI….

  11. Nag Says:

    Excellent article on Times of India/ Times Now misdeeds and equally excellent responses from readers.

  12. Rajan Says:

    But why would Sri Srinivasan stick to his position that he would not resign and would attend the ICCI conference ? Saw a good comment…..He must be feeling like the Prime Minister in refusing to resign !


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