When the previous post ‘Robert Vadra & the innocence of journalists’ was pointed by someone on Twitter to Rajdeep Sardesai he, at his wits end, was naturally rattled. Instead of responding to the tweet Rajdeep sends the person a DM with a message about Media Crooks: “Now he is what is Paid Media. Paid to abuse media”. That is nice! Now all I have to do is to wait for Rajdeep to send me my cheque so his dry dream comes true. I have only one objection though. I have rarely used the term ‘Paid media’ and that too mostly in quoting someone or in the context of some report. I find the term is not as respectful as MediaCrooks which I coined to honour some of our media celebs. Oh there’s the “abuse” part too. Isn’t that the cover these folks use in defence when they have nothing to say? His deputy editor has even complained of being abused because she’s a “woman” after the Sri Sri episode. I wonder what Rajdeep’s excuse is. Abused because he’s a “man”? Haha! Anyway, the laughter challenge bit is over. Let’s get into some more of CNN-IBN’s “Twist” and “Shout”. Yep, twist headlines, questions and shout misleading information, even LIES.
What does one understand by the term “accused”? In casual conversation it can substitute allegations, finger-pointing and so on. But is the news business casual conversation? People in the news business would be careful about terms they use. ‘Accused’ is normally used when a person or entity is legally charged with an offence and is likely to be prosecuted. Umm ... not so when it comes to CNN-IBN! You see they have the license to concoct headlines the way they would like to see the story.
Given that the Robert Vadra (RV) financial allegations have had the media running for cover in defence they seem bent on somehow balancing the damage by desperately tarring someone from the Opposition. Narendra Modi would have been handy but they are still searching for some real muck on him. So they have to make do with Nitin Gadkari, the BJP president. On the night of October 6 the CNN-IBN kept scrolling a headline: “Gadkari is an accused in the Goshikurd irrigation project”. Really? This is, of course, in connection with the Maharashtra irrigation scam which has been in the news. Gadkari seems to be trigger-happy when it comes to issuing legal notices for defamation. I guess CNN-IBN just gave him one more reason. So Rajdeep and his channel have the license to concoct and twist headlines, abuse media power with even lies, and taint people and then cry “abuse” when challenged and exposed.
The twists of CNN-IBN didn’t start there for that night. It actually started some hours prior with the Karan Thapar (KT) - Arvind Kejriwal (AK) interview over the latter’s allegations against RV. Now, we are not going to deal with AK’s answers to Thapar’s questions or statements. We will dwell merely on some of what Thapar asked or said. The only thing that was disingenuous by AK was that he claimed never to have read or heard about the ET report on RV till the previous evening. Surely, AK didn’t wake up with a dream one night that said “go after RV”. There has been enough in the print and online media that would have motivated AK and team to go after RV. Even if AK didn’t actually read ET as he claims, one can be sure there are enough watchdogs in his team to educate him on the news.
So let’s read some of the questions and statements of Thapar. I must mention that these are transcriptions and though I may have missed a word or two here and there, the essence of what he said has been kept intact. (All questions/statements from the interview are in blue):
KT: Was it politically motivated or morally improper? Huh? How do you answer this question? Pick either option and you’re screwed. Nice try. On the other hand since AK is now a politician where is the need to seek a political motivation?
KT: He (RV) is not a ruler, he’s an ordinary citizen, you have libelled him without giving him a chance to explain. Really? I have little doubt that every citizen in India would like to be as “ordinary” as RV. Any idiot can tell you that Vadra would be less than ordinary selling some handicrafts in Moradabad if not for his relationship with the Gandhi family. Now then, if RV is indeed so ordinary why is he entitled to exemption from security checks and screening at airports? I guess the wiseguys at CNN-IBN don’t rehearse the questions before they ask. This is a question many people are asking. Who knows what RV is taking out or bringing in through all the airports in this country. Also, do the media usually stand up so much for “ordinary” citizens? Amazing!
KT: If a newspaper or channel had done what you have done it would be accused of biased journalism. Will they? But then CNN-IBN and KT batting so much for RV doesn’t seem to them to be bias at all. The twisted headline indicting Gadkari doesn’t seem to be a bias at all. Is it?
KT: You encashed the fact that he is Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law. You are using RV to target Sonia Gandhi. To this I don’t even have to offer any comment. AK’s reply was stinging enough as he sarcastically asked: “Am I encashing … or is he (RV) encashing this fact?” That’s right! Between AK and RV who does the public think is encashing his position? AK may be politically encashing the hit but in the case of RV the term “encashing” could even be taken literally given the financial allegations.
KT: He (RV) became a pawn in your political ambition. Haha! I do have the choicest description of pawns in the media and have written about it elsewhere. But hey, does anyone remember who was called a “Tool” by presidential candidate P.A. Sangma? So any allegation going against the Congress political capital is either using a “pawn” or is being a “tool”. The shameless Thapar even called Sangma a “tool”. So what nonsense is he talking here? Twisting it like his channel’s agenda?
KT: You are being deliberately anti-Congress, you have a bias against Congress. So you see, this is really what hurts KT that the allegations are against Congress. Now, if RV is an ordinary, private citizen how do the allegations amount to a bias against Congress? But that’s what bothers KT and CNN-IBN. It’s hurting their own favourite political party. Elsewhere, KT even asks why AK is not targeting BJP leaders. All this after the allegations being aired against Gadkari by TeamArvind and even the fake headline of “Gadkari accused” being scrolled by the channel. Another shameful performance by both KT and CNN-IBN.
The rest of the interview went along the same lines. In a 20 minute interview, KT spoke for 11 minutes and AK had 9 minutes. When the host talks more than the guest you are assured that the purpose is not to know or educate but to defend the Congress. CNN-IBN and KT are getting to be good at it.
After being recently slapped by Mamata Banerjee with “you people don’t have guts” to ask Sonia Gandhi, then Subramanian Swamy again slapping Rajdeep with “innocence of journalists” AK too joined the party. He slapped KT with: “If you have guts, call him (RV) on this program and ask him for an explanation, you don’t have the courage..”. I wonder how many slaps it will take Rajdeep to understand twisting and shouting untruths and abuse of media power doesn’t sell anymore.