Friday, June 3, 2011

CNN-IBN Inaugurates Mud-slinging Season

Why is CNN-IBN rattled?
On June 2 CNN-IBN had back to back programs covering the proposed hunger strike by Baba Ramdev. It was Rajdeep Sardesai first at 9PM and at 10PM Sagarika Ghose. The Ramdev issue was top of the list and then, of course, some routine issues of corruption concerning Dayanidhi Maran. Isn’t that nice? For once almost all channels had the Maran kickbacks and corruption issue in second place when normally most channels would have been screaming about it all evening. It’s natural! The Maran corruption case is certainly not as dramatic as the Ramdev satyagraha and by now the nation is pretty used to these stories of kickbacks and corruption. Aren’t we?

Both the programs had a similar agenda – Is Ramdev morally credible to launch a fight against black money and corruption? How did Ramdev get his enormous funds and build an empire worth 11000 crores (None being sure if this is 1100 or 11000). And of course, if this is a threat to democratic processes. The focus of Rajdeep’s program was the money part and that of Sagarika, the moral part. Money and morals! Hmmmm! Our media persons are the best to sermonise on both, aren’t they?

I have a decent understanding of finance and economics. But for those who are challenged in that area I will let Sagarika’s words enlighten on you on some economic and black money issues (Her tweets from June 2):

Can black money simply be brought back by going on hunger strike? Or systemic currency reform needed so rich stop parking money abroad…..argument is rupee will have to be made into a hard currency. for that india will have to get its fiscal deficit etc in check…..Untaxed foreign exchange hidden abroad is a consequence of exchange controls on rupee. experts say only fwd is to make rupee a hard currency….Real issue of black money shd concern us. need to understand why it happens, a bash-the rich-and-UPA slogan will achieve little…..The govt shd look into why untaxed foreign exchange is hidden abroad, not just penalise those who do it. Reform is urgently needed….”

Do you feel educated now? She wants the government to look into why untaxed foreign exchange is hidden abroad when she, the wise one, already answered that question by stating it's a consequence of exchange controls on rupee. Duh? If any of you really manage to decipher what economic tenets or principles or theories Sagarika has laid out, do let me know and I will send you a special reward.

The Rajdeep program at 9pm in all its cleverness was basically a bash Ramdev exercise with no particular focus except to question his funding and his properties. Now, all the panelists were supporters of Ramdev except one – Nandita Rao. CNN-IBN pulled this person somewhere from the woodwork. She is supposedly a human rights activist and went on a rant on how Ramdev’s funding should be investigated, whether hawala channels were involved and whether illegal money was being transacted in his trusts and so on. Wait a minute! Doesn't that sound like gutter mouth Digvijay Singh? Never mind! Well, first of all assuming the Ramdev trusts are registered as charitable trusts there is a system for filing returns and being audited which is a government job. Secondly, throwing around wild charges of illegitimate funding and hawala transactions against someone is very un-lawyer like. Nandita Rao is also supposed to be a lawyer. So what exactly was her real problem? The real problem is that this guy Ramdev wears saffron, is being backed by BJP and the RSS and could be a front for the ‘saffron brigade’. Isn’t that the same fear that the Congress has? So in absence of any Congress spokespersons CNN-IBN found a proxy in Nandita Rao. The queen has ordered a gag on her puppets against talking about Ramdev. So CNN-IBN takes on the job of a smear campaign with panelists like Nandita Rao. Shades of  operation Namo?

Now, did CNN-IBN know who exactly Nandita Rao is? And what her persuasions are? Make no mistake, they damn well did. And in case you are still wondering, go through the communication exchanged by her with the IAC (India Against Corruption) group. You can read the whole lot (before it gets taken off). She considers RSS, Modi and such entities anti-national and killers, so by association Ramdev is equally anti-national. So who could be a better bet for CNN-IBN’s mud-slinging against Ramdev if not this activist?

The history of corruption in this country is almost equal to the history of the Congress. So the questions being bandied about in the media are whether Ramdev is the right person, whether his methods are right and so on. Nobody asked  What exactly is the alternative? Shoot some corrupt ministers as in ‘Rang De Basanti’? The program started with images of Ramdev’s people collecting funds by cheques. Yes, would you believe it – they were collecting funds by cheques? Isn’t that alarming when we are talking about black money? By cheques? So CNN-IBN tells us how critics are questioning this fund collection. Wait, hahahahaha! No not critics, it’s CNN-IBN that is questioning or portraying the fund collection as something illegitimate and illegal. CNN-IBN’s cup of joy would have run over if those Ramdev guys were collecting cash!

So Rajdeep accuses Ramdev of using ‘public funds’! Once again, we are being enlightened on economic terminology. Does Rajdeep even know what ‘public funds’ means? Let me educate the assholes at CNN-IBN that collecting donations from the public is not the same as ‘public funds’ in legal terms. Go check that out with your lawyers or an economist, Rajdeep! But this is how they will indirectly imply that public funds are being used or misused to support the activities of Ramdev. And in case CNN-IBN stalwarts forget, one of the most corrupt bodies in this country is the BCCI which controls Cricket. One of the heads of the BCCI, Sharad Pawar, was the first to disappear from the scene when Anna Hazare started his agitation.  Despite all commercial operations, extra-ordinary funds, the BCCI is still a charitable trust. Quite a few politicians, especially Congressmen, are involved in the operations of the BCCI. The funds at the disposal of BCCI far exceed everything that a Ramdev can show. Is there any charitable work that the BCCI does as part of its main agenda?

If the likes of Nandita Rao and Rajdeep Sardesai are really interested in exposing illegitimate funding and spurious NGOs then they can refer to the book NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds, Anti-Nation Industry edited by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak. How about inviting those authors on your program, Rajdeep? Their book exposes the various illegal and anti-national funds that flow into India for anti-national NGOs. Read more HERE and HERE.
Still, if Ramdev has all kinds of illegitimate wealth CNN-IBN should take the trouble of investigating and reporting and not indulge in showing some images of donation-collection to imply there was some wrong doing where there is none. Same goes for the likes of Nandita Rao. Digvijay calls Ramdev a businessman and not a spiritual leader. Well good for Ramdev, at least he is not a crooked politician. And what is wrong in being business minded? Nandita Rao quite clearly demonstrated the fears of the Congress. And what do you know? Digvijay Singh states that “if the Congress was scared Ramdev would have been put behind bars”. Oh yeah? On what grounds asshole? On cooked-up charges? The Congress knows what mayhem will break loose if Ramdev is arrested. I don’t think the Congress is as stupid as Digivijay Singh, not yet.

The woman who opened a pandora’s box, Nira Radia, was put on surveillance by the Home and Finance ministry based on a ‘complaint’ received by the Finance Ministry in 2008. Well, what stops Nandita Rao or CNN-IBN filing a complaint with the ED or the CBDT on similar lines against Ramdev? The UPA government will be more than delighted to act on such a complaint, including phone taps and all. No, instead the likes of Nandita Rao will keep peddling nonsense which no one can decipher but can pass off in the media as gospel. And CNN-IBN will gladly oblige such gossip and rumour mongering.

The tag lines from Sagarika’s ‘Face the nation’ should tell you everything about spirituality. ‘Ungodly politics?’, ‘The asanas of protest?’, ‘Gurus of Government?’ …. Her program started by invoking Chanakya and then listed gurus right up to Bhindranwale. Yes, that same guy who held weapons in a place of worship! Do you feel wiser? See the equation?

Anna Hazare didn’t bother the media or CNN-IBN so much when he was on a hunger strike. It was great for TV. But this guy Ramdev does bother them immensely. Why? His protests and action seem to be backed by Hindus or Hindu organisations. And anything Hindu in this country is bad for the Congress and our 'secular' media. After years of Hindu-bashing, minority appeasement, coining terms like ‘saffron’ terror this comes as a different terror threat to some in the political domain and, of course, some in the media. Is Ramdev right in everything he has proposed? Obviously not. His demand for death to the corrupt, withdrawing 500 and 1000 currency notes, Hindi in some college courses are absurd and are surely not going to be accepted and shouldn’t be. But there are worse cases of absurd demands. The Gujjar agitation for reservation, blocking all rail and road traffic despite High Court orders is a classic example.

Does Ramdev really understand complex economic issues and even that of black money? I don’t think so. Ramdev only understands that black money needs to be tackled. And there is one more dangerous thing that he and many Indians know – this level of blatant and nonchalant corruption and stashing of funds abroad does not happen without the tacit approval or participation of the highest power-holders in the land. The fear for the Congress is that some of its top names may have to eventually tumble. That is bad news for Congress and in many cases, bad news for the media as well.

Let’s do a roll call. Laloo Prasad, Mulayam Singh, Amar Singh, Mayawati all of them have had or still have cases pending against them for corruption. Based on the whims of the Congress the CBI and other agencies go after them or slow down their action against them. Why aren’t these people being prosecuted or why aren’t they in jails?

Much of our ‘secular’ media personalities have built their career on Hindu bashing. If someone like Anna Hazare clad in white Khadi protests, it’s not much of a problem. But beware, if someone in saffron goes into action, all the alarm bells will go off. So you can expect a lot vicious attacks that are still to come. Mud-slinging season has just been inaugurated by CNN-IBN!


  1. I have a strong feeling that this is going to be bigger movement than what Anna Hazare could acheive. The only reasons i see for that is the immense following Ramdev evokes among all classes. People who do not know economics or do not understand the corruption, felt it difficult to get involved with Anna Hazare. The major supporters for Anna were youth. For Ramdev, the audience is different. It is vast and he has wider reach and appeal.

    Ramdev has been talking about corruption since long time. It is not something that he has started all of a sudden.

    And Dick Raja...LOL! he has just exposed the modus operandi of congress...Impose emergency/arrest people/arm twist organizations when congress is threatened...

    Atleast this time he was frank!

  2. Great post Ravinar.
    There will be a lot to write in the days to come.

    @TaMoGhNa : I agree that this will be bigger than Anna Hazare's 'spontaneous people's movement'. I think it will also differ qualitatively. Hazare's was a yuppy urban middleclass, internet using following, for the most part. Which is also the reason why the media was forced to cover it. Ramdev is in a different league altogether, as are his followers. And this is the reason I am not worried about the malicious campaign against him in the English media. Most of those who watch such channels do not care for Baba Ramdev and/or corruption anyway. His actual supporters are not bothered by these elites and never will be. My only concern is how this will end? Janlokpal had a specific demand which could be fulfilled practically. Ramdev's is a wider movement for 'Bharat Swabhimaan' and a lot of his ideals cannot be instantaneously acceded to and need to be debated further. I think the FIRST thing Baba should do when he takes the stage tomorrow is (1) give a clear sense of what the demands of the movement are; (2) launch an attack on those people who are seeking to tarnish his image - say a couple of clarificatory lines about his trust and vast "wealth" he supposedly owns. He should also let it be known that all the dealings of his trust are open, transparent, audited and that anybody is free to file an RTI or investigate if they want. It will SHUT UP A LOT OF BARKING DOGS, and the news in the coming days will be forced to center around the black money issue rather than himself.

  3. Ravinar

    Well written! I was switching between channels and saw a part of the Rajdeep show. So the shrill woman was Nandita Rao. Thanks for providing her credentials. CNN-IBN in a sense out-NDTVs NDTV. Shriller than the shrill this couple! And yesterday, Rahul Kanwal almost outdid Rajdeep. It was a spectacle of mind reading and sheer lies.

    Let's hope good comes out of the Hazare and Ramdev movements in spite of sabotage attempts by the Media crooks.

  4. @ Senzational...

    Saw your blog on Sulekha.. nice one, keep going. I didn't leave a comment as it needs logging in and I don't have an account with Sulekha. Why not shift to Blogger? It allows guests to leave comments with ID or even anonymously...(just a suggestion :) )

  5. Day 2: Smear campaign continues on Twitter

    Pnakaj Pachauri - NDTV Hindi

    - The more fundamentlists support Baba, the more he will lose ground. Wait and watch the ways of the politics.

    - Before I logout for the night a text msg we recieved: Baba naheen ye sant hai; sabhee dukhon ka ant hai. Amen.

    - RSS first tried BJP, then Anna and now #Ramdevleela. They want to outsource an event/ campaign. Why not try Wizcraft ?

    - After reading The Indian Express front page 'RSS supports Ramdevleela', my theory of last night has come true. Fundamentalists in the fray

    - RSS trouble is that on corruption, Advani apologised to Sonia, Anna joined the deliberations, now #Baba is in a spot on his source of funds

    This man is so uncouth, makes me puke. Forget reporting neutrally, his vitriolic statements reflect the character and upbringing of this man. Also, this guy peddles some of the most dumb, mindless, simplistic conspiracy theories on BJP, RSS. Trying hard to be like his counterparts over at the English channels.

    Bhupendra Chaubey (@bhupendrachaube) - CNNIBN -

    - Baba ramdev live on all news channels, can there ever be better publicity than this, that too free of cost

    Well, at least he agrees that he gets paid for the 24/7 publicity he provides to Rahul Gandhi.

    Sagarika Ghose realises nobody is buying her recommendations for financial reforms, so she begins a mocking fest of Baba Ramdev's other no-so-relevant demands. We cal all understand that it's uncomfortable for these people to discuss black money for too long:

    - If Ramdev ruled India tea coffee would be banned, homosexuality would be treated as a disease, all chemical products taken off shelves

    - Gandhi Vivekananda worked to alleviate ills of the age: why does Ramdev not speak on female foeticide, caste, honour killings?

    - If Ramdev ruled India only milk would be allowed, no colas. Black money will be brought back by magic! miracle will happen!

    - Anti corruption movement extremely important: requires policy change, mindset change. can't be achieved by a yogic miracle

    - Black money VERY important issue: concrete steps have to be taken, other countries have to get involved.Choo mantar se nahi hoga..

    - Where are we going as a society? Are we becoming a lynchmob screaming 'hang everyone'? godmen and babas promising some imagined utopia?

    - @thekiranbedi ma'amRamdev wants tax returns under RTI,death for econmic offencesban on gays,guilty-until-proven-innocent mindset dangerous

    BTW, when asked to provide a link for where RAmdev says to "ban gays", she turns mum

  6. @ Free_Verse

    These morons want Ramdev to take up every cause other than black money.. I think the other issues dont bother them as much as the black money issue does. Some media houses may well figure..somewhere in the whole pie-chart.. Hahahahaa! You're doing me a great favour tracking all these tweets...

  7. I agree. Free Verse is doing a great job providing ravinar the feed :P but satyameva jayate.. i just hope ramdev's agitaiton does not end like anna's

  8. Just happened to catch Rahul Kanwal at the 2:00 clock discussion on headlines today. Man! This guy is on his way to being the biggest media dalal ever. Endlessly stammering 'saffron, saffron, saffron, scottish island, antecendedents, political ambitions, RSS, Sanghi, saffron, saffron, saffron. On top of all this, he is low IQ moron. I guess dalali is a good way of overcoming innate deficiencies.

    Watch out for this media pimp!

  9. Want to read a REAL article with some semblance of JOURNALISTIC MERIT on the anti-corruption crusade of Ramdev and Anna? Look beyond India media. Foreigners do a better job :

  10. Nikhil Wagle @waglenikhil, Editor of IBN-LOKMAT (Marathi) continues with his nonsensical rants:

    - Baba wants to abolish english! Hahaha! Is it practical today? Baba must have written his demands while doing shirshasan!

    - Baba needs to declare his assets. To create multimultimulti crore empire in a decade is not a chamatkar! We need answers!!

    - How come baba ramdev's advisers are from sangh parivar? Govindacharya or ved prakash vaidik etc?Is rss planning a political move thro' him?

    - Yes, we are fed up of scams, we want a clean govt , we want to end corruption, but do we need baba ramdev n co to fool ourselves?

    - @Vinayakgaikwad. Nothing surprising. Anna's team is not comfortable with babagiri, but they don't want to send wrong signal.

    Note how the slow but steady distortion of facts takes place. Now Ramdev is said to want to "abolish English". His trusts become a "multi-crore empire". I wonder if the bastard ever questioned how ROBERT VADRA became a multimillionaire businessman, from owning a small jewelry shop, once he married into the Gandhy family.

  11. NDTV reports on PIGGY: "Unlike others in his party, Digvijaya Singh is not afraid of taking on Baba Ramdev, the yoga icon who plans to launch an indefinite hunger fast against corruption tomorrow."If Ramdev wants to do politics, he should give up yoga," said Mr Singh, who is General Secretary of the Congress."

    Ah, Piggy is right. After all, Sonia gave up waitressing to lead the country; Rahul gave up currency smuggling to work for the downtrodden...

  12. The contributions really are not misnomer to the title of this blog.If congress is afraid of Ramdev then he would be behind bars thus roar our senile DS. Shall it underline that those who are behind bars were nightmarish for congis which off course include Khani?

  13. After all, Sonia gave up waitressing to lead the country; Rahul gave up currency smuggling to work for the downtrodden...Good punch indeed!

  14. Let’s do a roll call. Laloo Prasad, Mulayam Singh, Amar Singh, Mayawati all of them have had or still have cases pending against them for corruption. Based on the whims of the Congress the CBI and other agencies go after them or slow down their action against them. Why aren’t these people being prosecuted or why aren’t they in jails?.....

    Congi is not afraid of them hence they are at large

  15. Hey Ravinar,

    Nice Blog Again, i am following your blog from beginning. you write to a point.

    i think we netizens should bring some revolution. i stay in US, when i open a paper or watch a news channel. what i see is some congress spokeperson speaking on TV. Most of the TV channels have lost credibility, and they should stop preaching others.

    Congrats and keep writing such Blogs.

  16. This is great. I hope most Indians will be reading this. These (CNN-IBN) people have neither knowledge nor integrity. These people are opinion makers? No wonder then that we lag behind in all things.

    It is getting clear that there is not much between Govt.(politicians) and Media in corruption; both are in same boat.

    Slogans of Congress:

    Fasting is not going to end corruption.
    Protests are not going to bring back black money.
    Arresting and punishing captured terrorists is not going to end terrorism.

    Only Indian media has appetite for these slogans.

  17. Ladies and Gentlemen, final closing tweet of dalal media for the day. Says it all:

    Pallavi Ghosh (pallavighcnnibn)

    - Ramdev ordered special rasgullas from chandni chowk during his 5 hour mtg with ministers

    As one @auldtimer said : RIP Indian Journalism

  18. This nutcase is in a serious need for some medical attention. He is an embarrassment to even paid journalism.

    Nikhil Wagle @waglenikhil, Editor of IBN-LOKMAT(Marathi) :

    - baba will help the corrupt system.If his fast proves to be a farce people will be distressed.It will harm anna team n movement finally.

    - don't understand what baba discusses with ministers.If its baudhik for baba it will help all of us.even bjp govt can not accept his demands!

    - The difference bet anna n baba is that latters fast is a managed event with no focus. He just wants to prove that he is popular than anna!

    - Now vhp's ashok singhal will fast with baba. Do you approve this? Vhp was responsible for many communal riots. Is that not corruption?

    - This weekend enjoy free entertainment from ramleela maidan,delhi. Happy weekend. Good night!

  19. VENOMOUS tweets from dalal journos. Hypocrisy and double standards galore. Life convict Binayak Sen on Planning Commission is acceptable but some chargesheeted Sadhvi on a stage is not okay? NAC consisting of Christian priest John Dayal is okay but Baba Ramdev holding a rally for laws against corruption is not okay.

    Nikhil Wagle @waglenikhil, Editor of IBN-LOKMAT(Marathi) :

    - I am sorry girish, but its my duty to tell the truth. Having seen acms for last 35 years I am doubtful about baba's ways.

    - Good morning. Baba supporters on twitter are angry with me. But I have a duty to perform without fear or favour. Hope baba proves me wrong!

    - Sadhvi ritambhara live from baba's stage. So now anna will share the stage with instigators of ayodhya violence! Anna's team should clarify.

    - @subhashpakhare. Your means should be as clean as your aim- gandhi. The battle of corruption can not be fought with wrong means.

    - Is it ok to fight corruption with the help of wrong people?We have seen enough communal violence in this country.Enough of sadhvis n sadhus!

    - Corruption or communalism?Don't you think they are 2 sides of the same coin?Do you acc communals on baba's stage?@thekiranbediedi @janlokpal

    - @thekiranbedi. Yes, cause is bigger. But wrong individuals can spoil it!

    - @viishvabandhu. Why are you quite about baba ramdev's assets? Don't we owe an explanation from him?

    - Baba started his fast on wrong premise.The permission for pandal on ramleela is for yoga shibir not for anshan.Is this not violation of law?

    - @prathamesh36 @thekiranbedi. Because I am citizen of this country. Have a right to question everyone n evertything!

    - @waglenikhil: Corruption or communalism?Don't you think they are 2 sides of the same coin?Do you acc communals on baba's stage?@thekiranbedi

    - Diggyraja has made allegations against baba. His com member is a sattawala in ujjain? Also nobody has answered my q about mla ravi rana!

    Pallavi Ghosh (pallavighcnnibn) :

    - Let's not just blame the govt for going soft on baba..sad to watch some channels doing it too

    - Baba on babes: they hv no moral character, they change partners every month" ..corruption of mind babaji?

    - Sadhvi Ritumbhara live from baba's stage! Anna's going to share the stage with her tmrw?!

    - Disgusting how some channels r overdoing the ramdev issue..its not a people's movt..its a paid movt

    Sagarika Ghose - CNNIBN:

    - BJP/ sangh is out in full force on Twitter to push Ramdev. Internet Hindus on overdrive. But too many allegations on baba..

    - Sadhvi Rithambhara shares stage with Baba Ramdev..the movement can thus no longer be called apolitical..

    - Medical, engineering, technical exams taken in regional languages may open a pandora's box..which languages to include/exclude?

    Rajdeep SArdesai - CNNIBN :

    - @onlyursmusa because maybe ramdev has many more questions to answer than anna.

    - andy warhol spoke of 15 seconds of fame, guess with ramdev it will be a long weekend of celebrityhood. gnight.

    - sadhvi ritambhara shares stage with baba ramdev. whose next? the shahi imam?

  20. Nira Radia- Barkha Dutt: The face of media.

  21. The days of media anchors giving obvious slants to reporting news is gone. Now they create slants by inviting the "right" people. The kind of people who will parrot what they want to say. That way, the channel can claim to hold an arms-length distance from the opinions of these people, giving the perception of neutrality, but still achieving the objective of biasing the reporting. You will find plenty of them in the print media, who in the name of intellectual journalism, will basically parrot Govt. versions on an issue.

  22. If someone has to find out who this witch Nandita Rao is they should not use google but just come to I saw your tweet but on BB I could not open the link. Latter when I was watching debate on CNNIBN , I saw this lady . Tried googling and landed on your webpage.
    Thanks Ravi for all your effort to expose these media pimps


  23. I support Nandita Rao's view on Ramdev. I remember when Ramdev visited Sikkim he gave a clean cheat to a person who was facing a litigation in Supreme Court against his disproportionate asset. The person was no other than the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling. All in Sikkim viewed Ramdev's comment on Chief Minister with suspicion. We should not take these so-called religious gurus at their face value without knowing their hidden agenda.


Comments are welcome and are now being moderated due to excessive spam on older posts. Genuine comments by readers will not be blocked. However, comments that are off topic, abusive, defamatory or slanderous may be deleted. Comments disclosing personal information of individuals/entities will be deleted.Comments appearing here do not imply endorsement by author of this blog.