The Famous “India Idiot Box Survey”

Thank you for voting in the India Idiot Box Survey. Thanks especially to the tweeple who retweeted my tweet in which I solicited participation.

I was inspired to host this survey when I read that a certain TV channel polled 158 unnamed “opinion makers” to predict the political future of India. Then the thought occurred to me: “What the heck! I got lots more than 158 opinion-makers on Twitter! Why not tap into that rich opinion-maker database and stage my own poll?”

I was pleased with this idea,  reckoning that those 158 opinion-makers would in all humility agree that they are no greater opinion-makers than any Tom Cruise, Dick Tracy or Harry Potter. I mean, which intellectual would be crass enough to claim that his is bigger than yours, speaking of intellect? It’s a pity they didn’t vote in this survey though; but I’ll make it a point to  ask for their valuable opinion as soon as their names are disclosed.

The survey results came as a big shock to me.  I always thought that India’s English language TV news channels were the greatest invention since  garlic bread. I have the highest regard for them.  I watch them only rarely because I have this gnawing feeling within me that I don’t deserve them.  Yet, the survey results contradicted my expectations. People trashed news channels with a violence and vehemence they would normally reserve for Himesh Reshamiya’s vocals.

147 people voted in all, but unfortunately, I can only see the results of the first 100 votes, because I am not a “Pro” member of SurveyMonkey. Thank you once again.


1. If you are asked for your well-considered opinion of India’s English language TV stations, you would state it as:

Without exception, they are all compost material
54.0% 54
Yeah, they all suck, but some suck a bit less than the others
36.0% 36
I agree one or two of them are actually watchable!
9.0% 9
They rock. I’d watch them every single waking moment if I could, even if people think I’m a moron
1.0% 1

2. In your opinion, Eng-lang news channels are the best source of:

Air-headed punditry that’s of junk value
69.7% 69
Much unwanted opinion that the anchor person can’t resist offering
52.5% 52
Basement bargains in pious platitudes
27.3% 27
Breaking news on Rakhi Sawant
28.3% 28
News, believe it or not!
7.1% 7

3. If Eng-lang news channels and cartoon channels are all that your cable company gives you, you would:

feel spoiled for choice
12.1% 12
watch cartoon channels and laugh
46.5% 46
watch news channels and laugh
37.4% 37
watch news channels for information and enlightenment
4.0% 4

4. Your perspective on the integrity and incorruptibility of Eng-lang news channels is best summarized as:

A wall lizard has a better value system than any of them
76.5% 65
Like political parties, they are generally corrupt, with a few honorable exceptions
21.2% 18
They are paragons of virtue; when the signature tune comes on, I feel like standing up in a gesture of worship
2.4% 2

5. How credible are Eng-lang news channels when it comes to reporting news with high political or business stakes?

I have more faith in Satyam’s ex-CEO than any of these news channels
69.9% 58
They blurt out the truth at times, when they are excessively excited even more excessively than they usually are
26.5% 22
I must admit that sometimes they tell the truth matter-of-factly, however improbable that may seem
3.6% 3
I trust them because the industry is filled with desi Murrows, Menckens, Woodwards and Bernsteins. 0.0% 0

6. When a biz channel gives a stock tip to buy, you:

Sell the scrip immediately, at market price — no limit, no stop-loss, no nothing
39.5% 30
Sell at opening bell and buy on closing, because many TV-watching suckers are born in between
23.7% 18
Won’t take the advice at face value; but won’t necessarily suspect that the channel is ripping me off either
36.8% 28
Buy immediately, because you know, Woodwards and Bernsteins etc 0.0% 0

7. Do you think Eng-lang new channels are trying to manipualte your voting/political preferences?

I have a feeling that all news channels are polling agents of one political party or the other… well, of one certain political party at any rate
70.2% 59
Most of them are brazenly delivering puff jobs for their favorite political parties and hatchet jobs for the rival parties
20.2% 17
Maybe they are not exactly screaming “vote for this party!” in my ears, but they sure are sending subliminal messages
9.5% 8
Not at all. They are great lovers of democracy; some people mistake that love for love of political parties, that’s all 0.0% 0

8. Which of the following statements best capture(s) the talent and competency of Eng-Lang News channels?

Studio persons and field reporters can yak-yak non-stop, even when answering questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no
69.6% 55
They can yak-yak even when they are as clueless about what’s going on as their viewers are!
63.3% 50
The 20-somethings may look likes babes in the woods (some of them indeed are babes if you know what I mean) but they out-yak-yak the senior talking heads.
46.8% 37
They emote a lot like in the movies: you can hear voices choke, see eyes water and the hands holding the mike tremble. They care so much!
22.8% 18
Their prime-time programs cover all important stories of the day objectively and professionally, so I need look nowhere else for news and information (and yes, I share the same planet as you do and I smoke nothing strong)
2.5% 2

9. What gives you the impression that Eng-Lang news channels are (or attempt to be) professional?

The news people wear western business suits, so I think they think that ought to impress the yokels
73.1% 57
They try to speak English with the “right” accent. That reveals a subconscious yearning to sound professional
55.1% 43
Their signature music is grand and impressive, kind of like BBC’s or CNN’s, so I think they intend to mean business
24.4% 19
They got all the whiz-bang gadgetry, you know, OB vans, choppers, huge screens and stuff?
19.2% 15
They deliver news crisply and intelligently, with no more words than are necessary, yet covering all essential detail, so they are professional (and I’m not kidding you see? So wipe that stupid incredulous expression off your face)
2.6% 2

10. Overall, India’s Eng-Lang channels deserve:

Grade A, because they are consistently professional, objective, and credible 0.0% 0
Grade B, because though they may slip up once in a while, they generally try to be professional, objective and credible.
1.3% 1
Grade C, because they manage to be professional, objective and credible half the time!
1.3% 1
Grade D, because they pleasantly surprise viewers once in a long while by turning out a professional, objective and credible performance
14.1% 11
Grade F, because India will be better off for it if these biased and incompetent dingbats closed shop and went home
83.3% 65

About auldtimer

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7 Responses to The Famous “India Idiot Box Survey”

  1. quietist says:

    though i’ve no intentions to question collective wisdom, but somehow the figures are not adding up, esp. in Q 2

  2. auldtimer says:

    Answer options are not mutually exclusive for some of the questions, #2 included. Such questions would have square boxes for checking. Original survey here:

  3. centerofright says:

    Great effort, think that many eminent folks think the same, Great

  4. Bazooka says:


  5. Amit S says:

    Great survey, creative answer choices. Sad picture.

    I have been living out of India for a decade or so, so I may be out of touch with the general public sentiment there. Do you think the picture of the media is so grim because of distorted supply (politicians controlling channels etc.), or because of lack of demand for credible and meaningful news (people content with Bollywood and Cricket, and have just the attention span and appetite to consume rubbish as news)?

  6. Ketan says:

    LOL! But you should’ve put some, you know, ‘moderate’ options! ;) You didn’t have to emulate the Indian media’s style of surveying! :P

    Ultral-LOL @ “spoiled for choice”! ;)

  7. Prabal Thakur says:

    Actually I read in news paper that in Britain some percentage of peoples do not have faith in there media. We are also heading towards it.

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