The Curious Case of NDTV Graphs

NDTV, one of the biggest news channels in the country often exposes itself with graphs pushing a certain narrative. Sometimes they get unnoticed since they’re well made, but sometimes, they get caught!
NDTV graph

This graph was shown in a discussion about MPs with criminal charges in each party. The graph shows a bar with 39% as the highest while JDU with 81% is the lowest. This graph is technically correct, if the total number of MPs with criminal charges is counted, BJP would have the most number. Percentage-wise, however, BJP is doing a much better job than the rest of the parties.

In the graph, the bars are made of white colour on a white background so that it makes it very difficult to figure out that in reality, BJP is doing better than the other parties. This flashes on the TV for a little while and sticks in the memory if a person doesn’t pay close attention. NDTV knows this, that why this colour scheme is chosen.

Upon realising that this little trickery of their’s has been caught by the public, NDTV tracked back and apologised on twitter for the “incorrect representation” and released the correct numbers and percentages. The news channel, however, didn’t plot a graph this time, since it would show BJP as the good guys, well, “not as bad” guys because none in these parties can be considered as the good guys. To think that the country is being run by these people is terrifying.

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I’ve plotted the correct bar chart that NDTV was too reluctant to plot even after being caught.

This isn’t even the first time that NDTV has been caught doing something like this. A couple of years back, the same trickery was used in plotting a chart for the percentage of the rural population that has access to toilets. On segment named, “Swachh Bharat: Truth or Hype” the channel was so hell-bent on proving it was indeed hype that it changed the rules of basic mathematics.

NDTV graph

This is a common tactic used by advertisement companies, political parties and now news channels to prove their point. With people getting more aware of these tactics and a steep drop in the credibility of mainstream news media these tactics are coming out in open in more numbers. Next time you watch the news, keep a close eye on the charts!

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