Tuesday, October 9, 2012

FTN: The Gandhis & Vardabhai

Even when one wishes to give some credit to the Social Genius for finally picking up courage to talk about the Gandhi family she spoils it by inviting panellists whose views on the topic are already well-known. Still, she does deserve credit for breaking the silence. Unlike a debate for an election contest or winning a prize, a debate on TV need not be for and against. It can simply be on established and verifiable facts against myths or lies. So Sagarika Ghose picks up the flavour of the season in “Does the Indian media steer clear of reporting on the Gandhi family”? Ordinarily, that question shouldn’t even need a debate. It is now established beyond any doubt that the Gandhi family is shrouded in secrecy except for old clips and some stray sound-bites, mostly from election campaigns. Secrecy about their travels, meetings, health – nothing is in the public domain.

You’ve got the home team in S. Vardarajan, (SV) or Vardabhai for short, of The Hindu. Varda and Vadra have a nice ring to it. You had Vinod ‘Smirk’ Sharma of Hindustan Trolls. You have Madhu Kishwar, Activist and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I got that wrong, it’s Jonathan Shainin of Caravan magazine. A what? Yes, that Caravan is a magazine of some sort. What a start from SG: “Charges are swirling around, we don’t know the veracity..”. That’s the first untruth from the host herself. Veracity? The charges, as she claims, against Robert Vadra, are based on public documents. Now, anyone can use help and verify authenticity of those documents and the contents of those documents. Those documents do suggest an absence of fair play in the financial dealings. Whether that is criminal or not is another story. Since RV has called the nation a “banana republic” he knows best how to harvest the bananas from the system.

On Smirk’s comments, which go back to the Rajiv Gandhi era, I have this to say: __________. His comments warrant no further assessment, there is only so much you can comment on forty licks. Debate rules should have made it clear that this is about the ‘current’ Gandhi family and not Rajiv Gandhi and earlier. Then SG refers to the ET report of March 2011 and asks why the media didn’t pick it up and take it further. You see, that’s the real problem. The bitchy competition between our media houses makes them ignore competing media reports rather than focus on the issues that come up. And then they go around asking everyone else why they didn’t act on that report. Answer by Vardabhai? “The transactions were unorthodox, unusual but not illegal”. Really? Then why didn’t The Hindu, at the very least, post a report on its assessment at that time? Wasn’t that the question? From 6.30 onward in the video SV is clearly stumbling and fumbling for an answer.

Then, when asked about travels and expenses, SV churns out even bigger untruths. He states that when it comes to Indian leaders, media is sensitive to their privacy. This is the nonsense that a host should point out to a panellist. SV states that even when it came to AB Vajpayee, after his knee operation, media were reluctant to show him coming down a plane? I’m sorry but I do have to call this a load of BS. Was Vajpayee’s knee surgery itself a secret? Was MMS’ heart procedure a secret? Was Nitin Gadkari’s weight treatment a secret? There were and still are abundant jokes on Gadkari’s weight and he takes it lightly. This is how Varadarajan lays eggs of untruths in defence of the sorry absence of reporting on the Gandhi family. Madhu Kishwar points to the absence of “investigative journalism” in the country. She’s right, but I have to say that those living on crumbs are unlikely to possess the nose of a real hound.

So in response SG asks Kishwar, who has filed RTI applications, why it’s important to know about Rahul Gandhi’s travel information. Alright! Let’s imagine LK Advani went to Pakistan on a private trip. Sure, we have no business to ask for information on personal trips. That’s the argument being peddled by most. While in Pakistan, LKA also decides to secretly meet Hafeez Saeed. Does that matter to you? Does that matter to the nation? LKA can turn around and say it’s his “private matter”. Is it really private? If the host herself is dumb enough to ask a question like this the debate loses value. The nation has a right to know where its representatives go and who they meet. A detailed report is definitely not required on every trip and meeting but a small summary would do. It is enough to say ‘SoniaG was in Venice and spent time with her family and friends’. No further information is required unless it is of national interest.

The problem with Sonia, Rahul and the Gandhi family is that nobody even knows. Even in the Robert Vadra case, even after so many debates nobody in the public knows where he is. In other circumstances it’s not necessary but since RV’s case has come up it’s important. In contrast, when Varsha Bhosle, Asha Bhosle’s daughter, shot herself every channel reported Asha Bhosle was in Singapore (October 8). See the difference? Asha Bhosle is a very prominent public figure too, probably more than some Vadra. In case memory deserts us there was this book by a Spanish writer Javier Moro about Sonia Gandhi titled “The Red Sari”. Oversexed Abhishek Singhvi reportedly made sure it wouldn’t be available in India. This WSJ article should serve as a good story for Vardabhai.

Madhu Kishwar says the media is “fawning” or “petrified” or simply just “so charmed” that they lose their wits. “Anybody who has had a cup of tea or dinner with Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, their hormonal balance is finished and damaged for life”. Those two sentences by her about the Indian media sum up what a million words cannot. The absolute truth about our crony media! Some samples were on the panel too.

On being asked why Sonia, Rahul don’t give interviews SV has a “simple” explanation: “In any party that has multiple leaders “. If you laughed, it’s your own fault, not mine. Congress has “multiple” leaders? And then the BJP is more open because there are “several contenders” for the top spot while the Gandhis have no such incentive. That is brilliant “intellectualism” for you. And then he says “that’s the nature of the Congress party”. Well, Vardabhai that is precisely what is being debated. Why such a secretive culture? Why such cronyism? Why such sycophancy? SG should have explained the question to SV twice over before the debate. At 24.04 Vardabhai asks “when was the last time Sushma Swaraj or Arun Jaitley were in live debates”. If he was ever guilty of moronery in the past, SV has exceeded that. Who said anything about being in live debates? Both Swaraj and Jaitley have given enough interviews in the last year, at least 3 each to major news channels that I can point to. After every parliament session they address pressers and both are regular speakers in the parliament. Of course, a “live parliament” debate does not constitute “live debate” for some foolish minds. Vardabhai would have you believe real live debates happen only on TVchannels. Once again, you laugh at your own risk.

Then Jonathan Livingston Seagull, who flies too, majestically states: If citizens don’t demand transparency there will be secrecy. What exactly are RTI inquiries on travels and expenses of SoniaG and RahulG? Inquiries by foreign spies? Not by citizens? SoniaG and RahulG not talking is one thing, even the state machinery refuses to release or even answer queries of citizens. What does that say about transparency?

SG points out that in the past 14 years SoniaG has given only 3 interviews, Rahul Gandhi – Sibal! Now, let’s be honest. Neither Sonia nor Rahul have any obligation to give interviews. If they accidently do, our media morons will tom-tom it as “Exclusive, exclusive” for 26 and half days. All that is being sought is information on their travel, their medical fitness or health and who they meet abroad or anywhere. And sometimes their views on policies since they influence those. Some of that information is definitely of public interest. If Robert is only the tip of the iceberg as someone mentioned, then who knows how many such sidekicks have made a financial killing? Lastly, TV debates are fine but calling too many panellists definitely robs the debate of any depth and inquiry into the issue. As for Vardabhai, maybe he should forget the Gandhis and tell us the status of N.Ram & Co. on the land-grab case and report on it. Let him not say nobody asked for information. The TV channels might wonder where Kripa Shankar disappeared before some scandal surfaces again. That doesn’t require the Gandhis or Vadras, does it?


  1. Ravi Bhai,

    Let me be very honest. I prefer reading your article on this bull shit shows by this pea-brained morons than wasting 30 minutes to 1 hour listening to that crap.
    Watching Football is much better than this Social Genius crap ! ! !

    Jai ho and keep up the great work


  2. AweSome analysis, especially the example that you took of LKA to drive home the point. And, Madhu's 2 sentences summed up this debate. Good job site, keep these coming!

  3. AweSome analysis, especially the example that you took of LKA to drive home the point. And, Madhu's 2 sentences summed up this debate. Good job site, keep these coming!

  4. I saw the interview of S.Vardarajan on newslaundry where he praised Teesta and Javed Anand as the beacons of society..torch bearers of social justice et al. And so with those very words, he lost all his credibility then and there, even before any chance for it to go up. Is it really too much to expect from journalist/editors to do some basic minimum fact check before throwing open the flood gates of their mouth?? It's their bread and butter right?? Can anyone/we tolerate such kind of buffoonery in any other profession , let's say for example medial profession??

  5. Could you please make some arrangements that this dumb and sychophant 'varda' read your article. But anyway, jouranlists these days are too thick-skinned, he would again reapeat same things again in TV channels.


  6. Dear Ravinar,

    Main Stream Media crooks are realizing the rising heat against their paymasters. Hence it was just a pathetic attempt to somehow show that hey their's nothing wrong or Anti democratic about the Royal secrecy. Cover-up Cover-up Cover-up Cover-up Cover-up !!!

  7. Loved the Analysis, I am a firt timer on your blog but absolutely agree with all the aspects mentioned by you in the post.

  8. You know this is the reason why I admire Medicrooks. Informative, Focused, Incisive, Accurate, Humorous...and adjectives can go on. Many call it analytical, I just call it "Truth" A mirror to those Crooks in the Media
    Great job!

  9. As usual wonderful analysis. The irony is even in this program they answered, proved and justified that they keep away from "Gandi" family or I think they proved you correct they don't, cause they suck up to them!

    Take a Bow Ravi sir.

    Aditya Manocha

  10. "SG points out that in the past 14 years SoniaG has given only 3 interviews, Rahul Gandhi – Sibal!"

    Awesome awesome awesome writing.

  11. Vardabhai has two passports.His American passport was put online and a snapshot was sent to Dr.Subramanian Swamy.Immediately it was removed from that site.Atleast Swamyji got proof of Vardabhai's dual citizenship.

  12. Now these TV anchors and Panelist have become more cunning and scandalous than their isomer politicians. In coming days Social Media will become so much stronger that a news's authentication would be proved by 100s of people present and reporting live. Those present in Switzerland will report that Sonia is here, living in this hotel. All the business dealing and of politicians and political leanings of businessmen will be on paper (online).Coming are those days of transparency and accountability. You see, majority dictatorships of the world died before 60-70 years, not after that. With God's grace we may see those day in our life, Gaddafi style.

  13. Dear Ravinar,

    Without doubt your writing, views and analysis are unparalleled in what I have seen on media for so many years. Like a breath of fresh air, you will undoubtedly help replace the stench of these lousy moronic, boot-licking and corrupt media and their masters, who have brainwashed the people of this country for so long. It is high time we start our de-addiction from these Sarkari Opium Programs. Great show. Keep it up. My heartfelt wishes.

  14. Incisive analyse of what going on in MSM...Carry On with ur good works

  15. Very nice detailed report. Worth reading the article then watching the hours of news debate.


  16. Dear Ravinar,

    I some where read this Conspiracy Theory which might be True considering what People can do for maintaining their Grip on Power : Congress Party is trying to expose Robert Vadra so that Mrs Vadra AKA Bianca Vadra can get rid of this moron & get back her last name to Gandhi. Considering Rahu Baby has been proved to be a disaster, she is seen as only saviour for the Dynasty. The only problem is that her sibling would again have to rename hiself as Gandhi from Vadra just as Feroze Khan( Husband of Indira) renamed himself Gandhi. LoL

  17. To be fair to our Social Genius, the panel was well represented. What was debated was about a foreign @ Italian family secrets.The secrecy may be of omerta code. To get the larger and balanced picture of the debate, the panel had one American (Vardabai) another firangi (Jonathan Shainin) out of four.

    sir, your analysis is great, hit the nail on the head. What I find distracting in FTN is that our eternal Social Genius pumps herself up and down while speaking, think so that's where the abbreviation FTN is derived from.

  18. Sir, I am a regular reader of your blog, very informative with in-depth analysis of the events. I am tired of just one thing which everyone points out social media, MSM, and general public which you also stated -- "bitchy competition between our media houses" or the so called TRP race. TRP is nothing but a scapegoat created by MSM itself for covering their ill informed reports and facts that we did that to get TRP nothing more than that no apology, no correction of reports just blame it on TRP. Yes, I know you must point out the recent case filed by NDTV against a TRP rating agency for whatever but that needs to be investigated and again used as scapegoat that NDTV viewer ship was lost due to a TRP rating agency not because of the deeds of Barkha Dutt and their heavily biased views towards one party. See covering everything with something that doesn’t exist! Do you really think if TRP matters or exist than these so called hindi news channels (where one can see Raju Srivastava shows I mean disgusting how can a show that is aired on some channel can become Breaking News only hindi news channel have this creativity. God Help them) and English also would survive in the market so long even public distress against these channels is all time high. It is true they are funded by political parties and other vested interested parties (big business houses) and that is the only reason they exist not because of TRP. Media is not a business for heavyweights it is a disinformation tool for them that is why they dont see loss or profit in this entity they just fulfill their interest. The ET report was a big bang for our MSM's TRP but as usual mutual understanding they all sit in a room and agreed-- ignore it. Instead of asking why no media house picked it up social genius should have asked herself why I didnt put the heading "Robert Vadra FTN"! Now, throw a bite of Narendra Modi and see the MSM at their best not because of TRP but because of vested interests and mutual understanding. All media houses sit together plan their-- this week agenda in a single room no competition no TRP.


    1. Hey Just some Lines,

      Thanks Buddy !! Very Informative & hard hitting indeed.

  19. Ravi... Did you expect anything better from Social Genius. I did not see the actual debate, but reading your analysis it seems everything else around the topic was discussed, but not the topic on which the debate was about. Why should ABV be pulled into a debate when the discussion is about Media shying away from Gandhi Family.

    A well rounded up report. Thank you.

  20. What is FTN? Short of: Farting?

  21. we should record all those debates and news that current media is showing and archive it.

    Believe me they will be priceless someday.

  22. What an apt name to the blog, mediacrooks! I hope the morality rises somewhere.

  23. The topic of the debate is itself a sad picture of India as a democracy.If the ruling party's leader and family are unquestioned and unavailable to the media then how different are we from countries run by tinpot dictators where no one questions the leader.
    And finance minister issuing a statement saying no inquiry will be done on a individual based on reports as he is a private citizen is ridiculous. Isnt it his first duty to actually do an inquiry on how true the reports are before issuing such a statement?

  24. no wonder media pees on itself at the mere mention of S.Swamy !!! I have been noticing that for the past one year, it is him who has been single-handedly outing the travel plans and sinister designs of 'la famiglia' !!!

  25. Its hilarious, to the point, extremely sensible and hard hitting writing( i will call it true journalism)..

  26. Awesome writing mannn!! Kisi din agar aapko TV debate panel pe bula liya kisi ne to to lagi gai samjho..

  27. Simply Brilliant

  28. Nothing to say apart from - keep up the good work.

    Today Ravish went after Mahabal Mishra on his comment that Kejriwal and team should have gone to court with their allegations, he said has congress ever gone to court with the allegations they level.

    Soon Ravish will too join Vinod Dua in Zaika India Ka if he continues to raise tough questions :-)

    Great job Ravi

  29. Vinod Sharma is a blot on society (even on uncivil society too), he said Kejriwal a loose canon. The biggest example of living loose canon in India is Digvijaysingh. Renuka was defending the growth of property due to growth of real estate market but she forgot to use same growth equation while calculating spectrum prices.

  30. Ravinar:

    Calling SV as Varda Bhai is an insult to the original Varda Bhai - Varadaja Mudaliar - erstwhile don in Mumbai - who helped lot of poor people..

    I think we should start naming these people Don Varda, Don Vadra, Don Raul etc.. with God Mother ruling over them.

    If alive, Mario Puzo would have written even more chilling novel - The God Mother.. and many media Caporegimes to do hit jobs on Modi and consigliere ministers who defend the family in Talk Shows.

    Why don't we name the country - Italistan... will be more appropriate..

    Feeling very sad and dejected.. for having voted to Congress in last election.

    Ramesh N

  31. If there are no mediacrooks, there would not have been this blog. And no entertainment.

    If there are no Vadras, Kejriwal would be unemployed.

  32. One cant blame corporates like DLF. They just cant refuse powerful politicians. If they refuse,they will be harassed by raids and other weapons.

    Hope this scam will teach corporates not to hobnob with politicians.


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.