A battle royale has broken out between the two leading Kannada news channels over who broke the porn video scandal, involving ministers in the BJP’s “gateway to the south”, Karnataka.
Market leader TV9 ran a news item on its 9 pm primetime news show on Wednesday, complete with a visual of its head honcho, Mahendra Mishra. The news item contained an interview with its cameraman in the legislature who caught the ministers prying into their cellphones and who then sent off an SMS to the reporter, Laxman Hoogar.
Not to be outdone, the Rajeev Chandrasekhar owned Suvarna News claimed it was the first with the story. All evening it ran news of the scandal with mnemonics and a “super” shouting “Naave First” (we were first). Its news item had one of the errant ministers referring to a Suvarna News reporter by name, which the channel played in a loop as to validate its claim.
All this breast-beating comes a day ahead of the launch of another news channel, Public TV, to be edited by former Suvarna News head, H.R. Ranganath.
More importantly, The Times of India reports that one of the three ministers caught with his pants down, Laxman Savadi, ensured that visuals of his watching the porn visuals was blacked out in his constituency, Athani, by ordering that electricity be cut off.
No newspaper of any language reached the town as most bundles were booked and purchased by his supporters en route.
Image: courtesy The Times of India
Also read: One more claimant for 2G spectrum scam
Everybody loves (to claim credit for) an expose
Times Now. Times Now. Times Now. Times Now.
The Times of India carries this front page advertisement in its Madras edition today, in response to The Hindu‘s video campaign which was a response to The Times‘ insinuation in an earlier TVC that the “Mount Road Mahavishnu ” put readers to sleep.
Also read: Good morning, it’s time to go back to bed
How Hindu aimed at Times but shot DNA
Times readers affluent, not middle class. Mind it.
R. Sukumar, the editor of the business daily Mint, wrote an article recently on the Hindu-Times of India ad war, saying:
“The Times of India has, over the past few years, become a good read … perhaps, driven by the realization that Page 1 of the country’s most-read English newspaper needs to reflect the sentiments of the English-speaking middle class…”
The Times of India, whose business daily The Economic Times competes with Mint in some markets, has taken offence—serious offence!—at this “slur” of its readers being middle-class.
In an unbylined piece on its website, a Times News Network (TNN) correspondent writes:
“TOI has a readership of 7.4 million…. [If] you compare it with the total size of the Indian population, which is approximately 1.2 billion… TOI‘s readers actually constitute 0.6% of the Indian population. And logically speaking, they obviously know English, which is still the language of the elite in India.
“The Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated that India’s middle-class—defined as those able to spend $2 and $20 a day in 2005 purchasing power parity dollars had expanded to about 420 million. By this definition, TOI readers are not only just 0.6% of India’s overall population, they also constitute barely 1.8% of its middle class.
“Interestingly, the report defined those who could spend more than $20 a day as affluent. India has approximately 26 million of them. It’s a safe bet that most of TOI’s readers would fall into this category. So, if at all a word has to be used to describe TOI readers, it should be “affluent”.
“Though perhaps it might be more accurate to dub them the creamiest of layers. Because when you compare their incomes and spending power with the Indian average, it is clear that they form the very peak of the pyramid.
“In any case, it’s the rare top industrialist/CEO/bureaucrat/politician who does not read TOI. Indeed, if you did a dipstick survey, you might struggle to find even one. TOI readers may be relatively small in numbers, but they wield disproportionate economic and political clout.
“They are decision makers, influencers, movers and shakers. Which is why it’s unfair to collectively club them under the omnibus term “middle class”.
Also read: How
Times Hindu aimed at Hindu Times but shot DNA
External reading: A battle for the hearts and souls of readers