07 May, 2021

India's New Spin Doctors

Political parties get in touch with image builders to manipulate the media and create marketable netas

India's New Spin Doctors

If you've never heard the word "spin doctor" look again at the nearest photograph or television image of your favourite politician. Is he sounding a little more articulate than you remember? Are his clothes set off better against his surroundings and do his eyes gleam with a new camera-friendly sincerity as he announces noble schemes for the upliftment of the nation?

What you see are "doctored" netas, phantoms conjured up by the efforts of relatively unknown image builders of political parties. These image builders or "spin doctors" manipulate media images, publicise friendly opinion polls and sponsor articles, advise leaders on what to wear, in short create marketable political commodities.

Take the following examples. The United Front seen as disorganised, pulled in several directions and weak seeks to create a positive image. So it decides that "federalism" and "local identities" will be its catch-phrases, that its leaders will be seen united in smiling embraces or implementing locally beneficial programmes. "Some of these characteristics are true," says a...

More from Sagarika Ghose

Latest Magazine

May 10, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section