NDTV starts daily sun-sign forecast feature
#1
Since the introduction of 'The World this Week' in the early 1990s, NDTV has earned the reputation of upholding high journalistic standards and being a champion of liberal values. However, recently this channel which is considered the pride of our free press, has resorted to pandering of the most unimaginative sort by incorporating into its daily program a sun-sign forecasts feature.

Here are some samples from October 2:
English: http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/yo...r-2/165996
Hindi : http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/2/166788
(Those readers who were born under Aries are requested to please write back if they indeed experienced 'hormonal issues' on October 2nd!)

We may choose to laugh it off, but it is a grating irony that a channel which was launched with taglines like 'Sach dikhate hain hum' and 'Experience. Truth first' now has given in to this cynical crass sell-out. Perhaps we should do them a favour by letting them know that this is not going down too well with their most discerning readers. Here are some things we could do:

1) Draft an open letter to Dr. Prannoy Roy, demanding an explanation for the inclusion of the horoscope feature as well as hosting in one of his channels this most egregious insult to freethought: http://tv.mynewz.in/2009/12/raaz-pichle-...janam.html\

2) Present Prof. Narendra Nayak's challenge to astrologers (http://nirmukta.com/2010/06/27/pseudosci...astrology/ ) to the gentlemen conducting these astro shows in NDTV and perhaps request a televised playoff to test their predictions.

3) Post videos like Prof. Dawkins' 'Enemies of Reason' as video-responses to the above videos whenever they appear on Youtube.

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#2
(03-Oct-2010, 10:52 PM)arvindiyer Wrote: Since the introduction of 'The World this Week' in the early 1990s, NDTV has earned the reputation of upholding high journalistic standards and being a champion of liberal values. However, recently this channel which is considered the pride of our free press, has resorted to pandering of the most unimaginative sort by incorporating into its daily program a sun-sign forecasts feature.

Here are some samples from October 2:
English: http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/yo...r-2/165996
Hindi : http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/2/166788
(Those readers who were born under Aries are requested to please write back if they indeed experienced 'hormonal issues' on October 2nd!)

We may choose to laugh it off, but it is a grating irony that a channel which was launched with taglines like 'Sach dikhate hain hum' and 'Experience. Truth first' now has given in to this cynical crass sell-out. Perhaps we should do them a favour by letting them know that this is not going down too well with their most discerning readers. Here are some things we could do:

1) Draft an open letter to Dr. Prannoy Roy, demanding an explanation for the inclusion of the horoscope feature as well as hosting in one of his channels this most egregious insult to freethought: http://tv.mynewz.in/2009/12/raaz-pichle-...janam.html\

2) Present Prof. Narendra Nayak's challenge to astrologers (http://nirmukta.com/2010/06/27/pseudosci...astrology/ ) to the gentlemen conducting these astro shows in NDTV and perhaps request a televised playoff to test their predictions.

3) Post videos like Prof. Dawkins' 'Enemies of Reason' as video-responses to the above videos whenever they appear on Youtube.

The video was actually funny. I will come under the category of Aries and definitely did not have any hormonal imbalance on that particular day unless you count working all day in office as a hormonal imbalance.

There's another fact evident in this video - All predictions are vague and can be interpreted differently by different people. People who believe this stuff will somehow twist the sentence so that it fits their problems/successes and claim that this channel had a correct prediction!

I would personally love it if they actually agree to air "Prof. Narendra Nayak's challenge to astrologers" which I don't think they would.
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#3
Is that astrology section for the website only? I haven't seen the forecasts on their television channel.
Yes, let's send them Prof. Nayak's astrology challenge.
We should also ask for "Raaz pichle janam ka" to be labelled as a fictional serious.
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#4
It's not that Pranoy Roy has suddenly become superstitious and inclined towards astrology. It is the quest for making profit which would have inspired NDTV to air such program. Let's face it, whatever it might claim, NDTV is a corporate entity which exists for earning profit and any kind of program which is a saleable commodity would be fine in this rat race of media business. We must ponder how the market economy is reinforcing the religious world view as against the scientific world view.
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#5
(10-Oct-2010, 01:13 AM)anandinqalab Wrote: It's not that Pranoy Roy has suddenly become superstitious and inclined towards astrology. It is the quest for making profit which would have inspired NDTV to air such program. Let's face it, whatever it might claim, NDTV is a corporate entity which exists for earning profit and any kind of program which is a saleable commodity would be fine in this rat race of media business. We must ponder how the market economy is reinforcing the religious world view as against the scientific world view.

Irrespective of Dr. Prannoy Roy's subscription or otherwise to astrology in an individual capacity, an organization which he not only heads but also personifies the values of, now lends patronage to popular superstition online. Therefore an open letter to him would indeed be warranted as a way to articulate a rationalist critique of this channel's programming decisions which militate against the cultivation of scientific temper.

As for the profit motive, let us not forget that rationalists too are part of the consumer base of NDTV or any other channel. Most news channels were repeating ad nauseam recently how India's Generation Next has 'moved beyond Ayodhya'. If we are likewise able to frame a narrative of India's Generation Next 'moving beyond astrology', then we might even be able to convince TV channels that such programs may annoy a significant chunk of their youth segment. Voices like the ones of this forum will be a useful start in lending credence to this narrative.
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#6
(11-Oct-2010, 11:12 AM)arvindiyer Wrote:
(10-Oct-2010, 01:13 AM)anandinqalab Wrote: It's not that Pranoy Roy has suddenly become superstitious and inclined towards astrology. It is the quest for making profit which would have inspired NDTV to air such program. Let's face it, whatever it might claim, NDTV is a corporate entity which exists for earning profit and any kind of program which is a saleable commodity would be fine in this rat race of media business. We must ponder how the market economy is reinforcing the religious world view as against the scientific world view.

Irrespective of Dr. Prannoy Roy's subscription or otherwise to astrology in an individual capacity, an organization which he not only heads but also personifies the values of, now lends patronage to popular superstition online. Therefore an open letter to him would indeed be warranted as a way to articulate a rationalist critique of this channel's programming decisions which militate against the cultivation of scientific temper.

As for the profit motive, let us not forget that rationalists too are part of the consumer base of NDTV or any other channel. Most news channels were repeating ad nauseam recently how India's Generation Next has 'moved beyond Ayodhya'. If we are likewise able to frame a narrative of India's Generation Next 'moving beyond astrology', then we might even be able to convince TV channels that such programs may annoy a significant chunk of their youth segment. Voices like the ones of this forum will be a useful start in lending credence to this narrative.

Hi Arvind,

My intention was not to discourage you from going ahead and writing a letter to NDTV. I fully support all the measures to fight against the irrational forces of society and astrology is definitely one such force which is a big obstacle in the progress of society.
I just want to extend the debate as to what are factors that supposedly secular media is also falling prey to the regressive forces of society. It is in this context that I firmly believe that the market forces are reinforcing the religious stereotypes simply because it helps to increase the profit as profit is the supreme God in a market economy. So if astrology is a saleble commodity, all the progressive and rational values are cornered and everybody is trying to milk it as much as possible.It is not surprising that finally NDTV, being a corporate entity as it is, has also joined this league.
In short I believe that corporatisation of media in the long run is anti-thetical to the public interest and the prgress of society in a egaliarian and secular direction.
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#7
(11-Oct-2010, 02:55 PM)anandinqalab Wrote: My intention was not to discourage you from going ahead and writing a letter to NDTV. I fully support all the measures to fight against the irrational forces of society and astrology is definitely one such force which is a big obstacle in the progress of society.
I just want to extend the debate as to what are factors that supposedly secular media is also falling prey to the regressive forces of society. It is in this context that I firmly believe that the market forces are reinforcing the religious stereotypes simply because it helps to increase the profit as profit is the supreme God in a market economy. So if astrology is a saleble commodity, all the progressive and rational values are cornered and everybody is trying to milk it as much as possible.It is not surprising that finally NDTV, being a corporate entity as it is, has also joined this league.
In short I believe that corporatisation of media in the long run is anti-thetical to the public interest and the prgress of society in a egaliarian and secular direction.

In this short video (http://youtu.be/-f0qo2X_Nhk) by Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, here's what he say about the interaction of commercial and scientific interests:

"Money trumps ideology every time. Why do people no longer believe the Earth is flat, but still believe in Genesis? I'll tell you a simple reason. The day you can make a living sailing a boat around a circular Earth, is the day you stop believing in a flat Earth. Unfortunately, Evolution hasn't yet risen up as a way of making a living and putting bread on the table; and if it did we wouldn't be having this debate any more!"

So I agree that besides the obviously necessary scientific debunking approach of combatting the influence of astrology in popular culture, we also need to promote the idea that a lot of money (and trouble) can be saved by rejecting astrology. Besides articles citing say the Barnum or Forer effects (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect) to demystify astrology's apparent merits, perhaps we should also write more about the monetary costs incurred by society due to astrological practices (including fees for astrologers, costs of 'purificatory' rites, purchases of 'protective' gems etc.). As Hawkins says, money trumps ideology, and an idea that astrology is a 'waste of money' could well convince some fence-sitters to immediately jettison their bet-hedging with regard to planetary deities.



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