Drishyam or How Secular Media Creates an Alternate Reality

“Rajasthan Civic Polls: BJP loses face in Raje’s bastion of Jhalawar, Dholpur,” the headlines screamed a week ago as the results of the civic body elections were declared in Rajasthan. The BJP won convincingly, trouncing the Congress.

However in the minds of those who read the headline, the words “BJP loses face” would have left an indelible mark, which the details that followed the headline could not have erased.

So, even a news that was very positive for BJP was made to appear negative by the time it reached the readers.

In the recent movie “Drishyam,” the hero creates a story as an alibi to keep his family from getting arrested for a crime they had committed unintentionally. But each story has characters, and the hero knows that the characters appearing in his story would be questioned by the police. So he creates an alternate reality, and carefully inserts all characters appearing into his story in that reality, or simply writes in their mind the story he wants, the way a computer writes data on memory devices. He does it so skilfully that indeed all the characters narrate the story as if it were real, the way  the hero wanted them to narrate.  He succeeds because the characters are too busy and occupied with their own lives. They do receive data, but are too disinterested to process it, and simply store it in memory. Once that skeletal data is placed in their minds, the hero fills in certain crucial false details, and reinforces their memory by repeating the whole story to the characters, but this time with some important falsehoods inserted.

And this is exactly what the Indian mainstream media does daily to its readers and viewers, on a national scale. It creates an alternate reality, and presents it as the reality. And succeeds because of the same reasons: the readers and viewers are too busy in their lives to process the data. The media then reinforces this alternate reality through comments and discussions, by carefully selecting the columnists, commentators, and members of the panels it assembles for discussions to propagate a certain viewpoint.

So the readers and viewers never realize that they are being made to live in a make believe world that conforms to the ideology and agenda of those who control the media narrative. The Media knows that few persons have the time, inclination, and access to resources to verify what they are claiming to be facts, and even fewer capable of spotting omissions, mutilations, and obfuscation of facts that may puncture the crafted reality. They do this by suppressing news, by manufacturing news, by inventing news (and publishing a regret two days later if challenged), by formulating headlines different from and contrary to the actual thrust of the news, knowing well that few readers go beyond headlines, and even in the minds of those who do, the headline has the power to stick.

The Gandhi Family

In India, a Left-leaning elite controls the narrative. And it makes sure that only the narrative it approves controls the way media reports about daily events. Broadly speaking, its “guidelines” can be discerned as under:

  1. Nothing against  “The Nehru Gandhi dynasty” makes it to the headlines, and if it does, it has to be in most innocuous words, and must be taken off the headlines within few hours. So the charges by Jayanthi Natarajan against the dynasty disappears from memory the very same day. The book Durbar by Tavleen Singh, which contains explosive revelations against The Dynasty, has been fast disappeared from media by ignoring it to the extent as if it was never written.
  1. If a Congress government has done anything good, it is the express and direct doing of the dynasty. If it has done something bad, it never happened, or was the failure of some minion, or of the system. So it is never mentioned that Sonia Gandhi and her NAC was the real government at the Center for the last ten years, and it systematically destroyed Indian economy.
  1. The consequences of socialism, which has been the governing philosophy of the Indian ruling elite, are never to be connected to socialism itself. So if education and health services in India have collapsed due to socialistic ideas, that is not interpreted as the inescapable consequence of socialism, but only projected to mean that we need to throw more money on these sectors.
  1. Any negative news from the states ruled by the “secular socialist” parties is not a news, and must be discarded. So, Indians would never know that in UP, Bihar, and West Bengal roads have disappeared, education is failing, health services are weak, businesses have disappeared, and jobs are hard to come by. Law and order is in a complete mess in these states.
  1. Anything bad done by the groups which have been classified by the Left ruling elite of India as “victim groups,” that is, its favored religious minority groups, is not a news and must not be broadcast, but anything negative happening to them must be played up as breaking news for many days. So a riot is not a riot if the favored “victim group” has upper hand, but as soon as it loses dominance, it becomes a breaking news.
  1. Once a political personality has been accepted by the Left as its own, nothing negative from his or her life is a news. Only positive acts and attributes are to be played up, their lies are not to be exposed, acts of misdemeanor are to be glossed over. So it is never mentioned that Lalu Yadav is a convicted and sentenced criminal out on bail.
  1. If something horrible has been done by a Leftist or by a “victim” group, and can’t be suppressed into a no-news, its impact is to be diluted by reminding the readers that other people have also done the same in the past. So when ISIS atrocities could no longer be suppressed, Praveen Swami of Indian Express wrote that the Mexican drug mafia also similarly tortures people.
  1. The Leftist ideas are kept safe by attributing their consequences to persons. So 120 million human beings murdered by the Leftists in USSR, China, Cambodia, and host of other countries are claimed to be killed by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and other leaders, not by the Leftists.


  1. Confusion is compounded by divorcing the words from their meanings. So the programs and schemes of Leftists are called welfare measures, and pro-poor schemes. The armed-wing of the Left in India is not called militancy, but referred to as Naxalites. Most of the newspapers claim that the papers run by the hard Left parties are the only Left mouthpieces, even as they themselves have almost all columnists from the Left. Occasionally an article from a neutral or “Rightwinger” columnist is given space, but the reader is always made to believe that the views expressed by regular columnists and editors are objective commentaries on events and ideas, not the subtle propaganda by the Leftists.

The instances and methods which the media uses to create an alternate reality: suppressing news, playing up news; establishing connection, denying connection;  claiming equivalence; calling “isolated incident,” creating false “patterns;” having only the columnists who subscribe to the Leftist worldview but not calling them Leftists, having only the panelists who subscribe to the Leftist worldview but also having someone from the openly communist parties so that the remaining panelists look neutral to the average viewer; are too numerous to list them here. But in conclusion it can be said that the Indian media is a Left controlled contraption that has created an alternate reality and keeps the readers and viewers there by daily reinforcing the narrative.

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Most of the Indian media outlets are owned by Indian nationals. Almost all the newspersons and columnists are Indians. So how is it possible that they are part of this “grand conspiracy” that has the potential to bring down India as a country? After all, reality has the nasty habit of intruding into the most carefully constructed make-believe world, and destroying it. So the world of media, in which the only problem is the problem of “delivery” of Left’s programs and policies to the intended beneficiaries, and problem is not those programs and policies themselves, in which majority is oppressing minorities, even though it is continuously losing both land and followers to those minorities; in which problems in the Middle East have been created by America, and not by the idea that the people there subscribe to; will also someday collapse, and these mediapersons themselves and their children will also suffer the same fate as all the citizens of media. So how is it possible that these disparate people from diverse background, the mediapersons, are collectively perpetuating this fraud on Indian people who actually trust them?

Answer is not simple. Individually, each media person may actually believe the Leftist ideas, that is why he has been allowed to enter media in the first place and stay there. He also needs to hold the job to keep his family above water. Being on the right side of those who control media brings riches and glamour. Few human beings have the courage and honesty to bite the hand that feeds.

But still it is really intriguing how so many newspapers and news channels propagate the same lies, promote the same agenda, play up the same news, suppress the same news, claim the same equivalence, deny any equivalence in the same instances, claim the same connection, deny the same connection, claim the same pattern, deny the same pattern. Is there some invisible single hand that guides them all, feeds them all?

May be we would never know. Maybe we know, and it is the Leftist ruling elite of India.

Atreya M

The author is a marketing consultant in technology and a keen observer and student of Islamism and tracks jihad globally.