It’s been a devastating start to the week for the media. If bad things happen to the Congress party it’s the media that gets a viral infection. Two such events drove the usually raucous media into a corner. First, a CD of sexcapades of Abhishek Manu Singhvi, spokesman of the Congress, surfaces and second, the party suffers a terrible defeat in the Delhi MCD elections. On a day like Tuesday, April 17, all the regular spokespersons of the Congress went into hiding. The only ones on TV shows were rookies like Ragini Nayak who, under the circumstances, put up a brave defence for the party.
Sheila Dikshit who led the Congress campaign in Delhi was nowhere to be found for a comment on the results. She showed up on Wednesday, April 18, to claim that the defeat and result was a “collective responsibility”. Of course, failure doesn’t have an owner. I do wonder why Dikshit went into a hiding earlier because NDTV had already set the tone of the party’s defence with a brilliant headlining story: MCD polls: “BJP retains Delhi, but Congress makes gains”. So there was nothing to worry about as the Congress had made gains in an election they lost. No further analysis required.
|..Blurring the lines...|
The cover-up of the various misdeeds of Sheila Dikshit is a stunning example of a completely compromised media. They had done very well not to mention CWG scam or how SD’s son was found with 10 Lakhs cash in Bhopal. Those stories had gone cold without a trace. The conduct of Sheila Dikshit herself during the campaign was unbecoming of a Chief Minister. Like others, she too thought dragging in Narendra Modi would fool muslims. Here’s what she said: “They (BJP) often say that their next PM would be Narendra Modi but they never call him for campaigning in polls. This is because they know that if he ever comes here he will be stoned by people". For the record, the Congress candidate from Ballimaran area where SD made the statement also lost. There is a thin line between journalists and politicians that should never be crossed. I’m not sure I can say that about our media. The pic of Barkha Dutt and Sheila Dikshit says a lot more than my words can.
The other devastating story of the Congress, the sex CD of Abhishek Manu Singhvi (AMS), has so far been muzzled by the media. The best they could come up with is if public figures have a right to privacy (CNN-IBN). That discussion was, of course, moderated by Karan Thapar. NDTV completely blanked out the story. Naturally, the question everyone is asking is: What if the CD had involved a BJP or TMC leader? Public or private, all hell would have broken lose in the media. First, the private affairs of public figures definitely need greater scrutiny than an ordinary citizen. Sonia Gandhi’s tax returns maybe private but their scrutiny is in public interest. AMS didn’t have illegitimate sex with his partner at his home or in a private resort. He is reported to have had the joyride in his chambers in the court complex and that is certainly no private hideaway.
|...With pants down..|
AMS is the same man who responded to the Karnataka MLAs porngate story with the comment: “This is the real chaal, charitra & chehra of BJP” which, translated, means the real face and character of BJP. Another of their spokesmen, who else but Manish Tiwari, responded with “.. they are defiling temples of democracy”. Tiwari’s response was to the fake Gujarat porngate. The story about the AMS CD is less important than the manner in which the media has dealt with it. While he claimed that the CD was “fabricated, morphed and doctored” none in the media, many of whom have seen it, were willing to challenge it. Morphed and doctored? Surely, there are better models around to use than AMS for morphing sex CDs. Secondly, the media chose to hide under a court injunction that restrained airing of the CD. The court had only restrained airing of the CD and not the reporting of the incident and the episode itself. Yet, much of the media totally blacked out any reports on it. That is seedy and shameful conduct by journalists.
Here’s the most dangerous part which is not being touched upon by any channel or newspaper. AMS’s partner is also reportedly a lawyer who is aspiring to be a judge. Was the act of sex an advance for any favour? If so, then it’s a crime of a very serious nature. This is the reason the incident requires a thorough probe and cannot be dismissed as mere indiscretion and opportunism by AMS. The court granted a stay against airing the CD as it may cause damage to the reputation of AMS. Well, even without the stay there is really no need for the media to air it. I have often said, in this day and age there is really no place to hide. Some images from the CD are already on the internet and sooner or later the whole CD will be out there somewhere. Also, if the CD is ‘fabricated and morphed’ as AMS claims then that too is a serious crime against a public official. However, by all accounts and images available so far the CD appears to be genuine in which case AMS would be guilty of lying to the nation and to the court. This is what media should be investigating and this does not require airing of the CD itself.
The real funny part is: Why was the CD made in the first place? Who made it? Is AMS such a dumb idiot that he allowed his driver to video shoot his adventure? Was the driver witness to the act itself and shot the video on his own? Or did AMS have the video recorded himself for use at a future date for some reason? Did some potential blackmailer get blackmailed? These are the questions the media needs to ask. But they won’t, for obvious reasons. Regardless of the outcome of the incident, AMS will find it morally unfit for him to hold any public office till the full truth is established. He should resign from all parliamentary panels and from the Rajya Sabha membership. He would do the Congress a great favour by quitting on his own. Sacking him at a later date, when more gory details emerge, will only add to the embarrassment of the party. As for the MSM they have played cover-up artists in the episode but it’s unlikely the social media will let seedy journalism pass.