manufacturing consent, the indian way

20 years after noam chomsky & edward herman wrote manufacturing consent, the model is alive, kicking and increasingly more successful in India.

“If you want to understand how a particular society works, you have to understand who makes the decisions that determine the way a society functions. In the —–, the major decisions over what happens in a society (investment, production, distribution, etc.) are in the hands of a relatively concentrated network of major corporations, conglomerates, and investment firms. They’re also the ones who staff the major executive positions in the government, and they’re the ones who own the media, and are the ones who are in the position to make decisions. They have an overwhelmingly dominant role in the way life happens, what’s done in this society.”

have blanked out the name of the country in the second sentence, but if we put “India” there, would it not seem right? yes, chomsky was talking about the US. but its not so far removed from reality here. think about the Times Private Treaties. what is it? its a part of the Times Group, owners of the largest dailies & a multitude of newspapers and magazines. what does the Treaties division do? it invests in small & medium companies which are fast growing. i think they already have over a 100 companies in which they have invested (including the future group, gitanjali jewels, zicom, air deccan, percept pictures and many more). these companies then advertise in the times group of publications, ensuring reach and visibility that they did not have the marketing budgets for earlier. many of these companies could be planning IPOs (the latest rage) or have large projects that need publicity.

sure, the times doesn’t say they will give them any editorial coverage… but if they invest their own money in these companies, wouldn’t positive publicity be of essence rather than anything negative? and considering there don’t seem to be any standards to journalism these days, its a bit hard to imagine that something really negative would be written about any of the companies in which the times group has a stake. and none of us will really know the effects of something like this, but in a booming stock market, am sure more and more companies will want this kind of deal.

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