As an undercurrent, the advent of TV media has given rise to unprecedented levels of debates and discussions just about everywhere in the country - in buses, trains, autorickshaws, offices, hotels, roadside eateries, and what not. Everywhere people are now empowered with information, with visuals, with views that they find interesting to share. Not only are people discussing the issues raised in the media, they are also discussing the media!
Polarization in media might not be a new thing, but the extent to which it is polarized in AP is probably only seen to be believed. We are very much used to politicians spitting venom against each other, but in AP, newspapers do it against each other too! Almost daily. Sidestepping many main issues, both the print and electronic media have allocated much space and time to defame and degrade their opponents.
Anyways, the one thing that has been good about the media though is that we have information about every major candidate in these elections. We get to hear them on a daily basis about their views, opinions, etc. We are now getting a much deeper insight into the mind of the leader, the thinking of the candidates, and the philosophy of the party.
The fierce competition amongst the different news channels is thereby ensuring that the voter gets to know everything he needs to know about parties, leaders and contestants before he gets to vote. Sure, there is every probability that the voter might be confused with this overload of information, but I am also sure this will lead to an informed decision too.
Watching 24x7 has its own flipsides. For one thing, we get bored of the same thing being shown again and again. The danger of an issue getting diluted because of excessive repeatability is very high in 24x7. In a sense, the media maketh the leader and decideth (:D) the issue. A kurta clad, dimple smile possessing, plainly speaking youth leader is given unprecedented hype over other additionally talented, intelligent youthful leaders. In a sense, the media is assisting in rubbing upon us a leader who is clearly not ready to lead. Many such contradictions and interpretations might do more harm than good, but since TV journalism is still in its budding stages, I guess we can give them the benefit of the doubt.
So far, the advent of television media has increased the intellectual capacity of the average voter like never before, polarized them like never before, presented to them huge chunks of information like never before and has encouraged them to participate, like never before.
PS: All said and done, I still think nothing can ever beat the experience of sitting in a chair, stretching your legs and reading the newspaper early in the morning over a cup of coffee :)