Lying is considered a moral offence. Sometimes a lie is even considered healthy if it saves someone or contributes to a good cause; which is why if you look up all our laws there isn’t one against lying. It’s an offence to lie only under oath in a hearing. This is the greatest protection under which our news media thrives and makes its living. As Howard Beale would tell you: “TV is not the truth, it's an amusement park....We lie like hell”. In an earlier post I mentioned Vikram Chandra of NDTV lamenting the degeneration of news. Following the arrest of ZeeNews editors in an extortion case we had more soul-searching in the media. Who else but Rajdeep Sardesai could have tweeted: “I guess journalists are more feared today, but sadly less respected. We are more arrogant, less ethical. Gnight”. (Nov 28) More feared? Nobody fears or respects journalists anymore, that’s the reason Jindal group screwed the morons from Zee. Rajdeep’s channel also has the brand name IBNLive but he might remember that it often earns the nickname CNN-IBNLies. So on Nov 28 RS once again does a show “Is the media facing a serious credibility crisis”?
Any introspection has to begin with the What and Why media got to where it is. You will find nothing of that sort in RS’s show. Among the panellists were N. Ram, Shekhar Gupta and Vinod Mehta. These three gentlemen have quite a lot answering to do on their own. Who is introspecting? Gupta says editors and editorial intervention should be restored and that on TV the anchors and editors are rolled into one. Sort of judge, jury, and prosecutor all rolled into one. Gupta probably refuses to accept that there are no more editors. There are only “Editorialists” whose job is to “swing” public opinion for political pursuits. And it’s even more rewarding when it comes to Gujarat and elections in Gujarat. Over a decade our news channels have distributed some of the biggest lies about the state and about Narendra Modi. They have been exposed again and again but never learn. So, all the introspection that RS frequently attempts is poor theatre at best. Consider this ruling by an American court with respect to Fox News who appealed a verdict against them:
“In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States… During their appeal, FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves”. There! You see, that applies to Indian media too. The Fox case was actually against reporters hired by them and not enemies. Lying, falsifying reports, distortion are not crimes. This gets even better when it comes to Gujarat. So, in keeping with the tradition of the last decade CNN-IBN first sends out the Social Genius, to Gujarat on a mission to find out the condition of Muslims in the state. Then on November 29 RS runs a show on why Muslims are being ignored by BJP in the state. CNN-IBN has well and truly joined the election campaign.
Throughout her journey in Gujarat Sagarika let out some very Bimboesque tweets which have so come to represent her mind and her thinking. And such a moron is going to pass off her petty opinions as a great work of research. That’s CNN-IBN for you. Those opinions aren’t aired yet. They are going to be aired today afternoon and are quite predictable. And what exactly is Rajdeep’s problem? That the BJP hasn’t given a ticket to any Muslim candidate although they form 9 or 10% of Gujarat’s population! Yes, he is that naïve. He, being Numero Uno in political analysis, doesn’t understand the basis of selecting candidates and feels ticket distribution should be on the basis of population. That Hindus can’t represent Muslims as they do in many other constituencies in India or vice-versa. That only Muslims can represent themselves and no one else. It’s because of channels like Rajdeep’s that there is an entire site dedicated to media lies. Don’t laugh, it’s really called TVNewsLies and here are excerpts from their deception statement:
“Today's establishment media practice very little journalism and they devote minimal resources to reporting actual news… They spend most of their resources to create a false reality for the public while they distract you from the most important issues facing our world. For all practical purposes you can safely say that the reality portrayed by the establishment media bears little resemblance to the actual world in which we live… An easy way to think of this is that the people in the establishment media are holding up an orange for you to look at while they tell you that it is an apple…. Lies come in many forms. Partial truths, selective facts, out of context quotes and information, partial historical perspective and out right misrepresentation of facts. It is easy to manipulate the public. If you become aware of the methods of deception you are better prepared to sift through the propaganda for the few facts that are actually made available by our broadcast our news media”.
RS seems to have little problem with the massive appeasement policies of various govts including the GOI towards the Muslims. He has problems only when Muslims in Gujarat aren’t given tickets for the election by the BJP. It never bothered him that all the MPs from Delhi are Hindus voted by Muslims too from a party that indulges in Muslim-appeasement. Election tickets are a political issue. Tickets are issued also based on political manoeuvres of the opponents. The most condemned politics in recent times, even in the media, has been the politics of caste and religion. Rajdeep seems to still live in an era of Madhavsinh Solanki’s KHAM theory in Gujarat. The theory that made Gujarat voters dump the Congress. But fairness to the population or fair representation is hardly Rajdeep’s motive. The simple motive is to trash BJP and Narendra Modi any way he can; which is what he has been doing the last ten years. He either wants apologies from Modi or portray Muslims as being discriminated against in Gujarat. This, at a time when even Muslims are beginning to acknowledge they have suffered more at the hands of other parties.
During the HT Summit in 2007 Rajdeep asked probably the dumbest question a host could ask. He asked Modi if Gujarat’s development reaches its entire people or only the Hindu majority. Modi responded by asking if water flows in the Sabarmati does it cater only to 90% or to all the 100% whose lives depend on that water. Rajdeep also used that occasion to reiterate the “Mass murderer” tag for Modi. He also used the term “Hero of hatred” to describe Modi. With all this animosity and hatred within him, on what grounds does Rajdeep even consider himself morally fit to question any decision of Modi? But hell, its election season and he has to do his bit for the campaign against Modi. And Muslims have been such a phenomenal tool for the media just as they are for certain political parties.
And if that wasn’t enough there is Shweta Bhatt, wife of Sanjiv Bhatt, who will now contest on a Congress ticket against Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad. Excellent! Nothing wrong with that. She is the wife of the “Super cop”, the “top cop” and the “whistle-blower” so touted by the media. On Rajdeep’s very channel Sanjiv Bhatt called Modi a “common criminal”. So thrilled was CNN-IBN that they kept playing that sound-bite over and over again. The SIT on Gujarat riots rejected claims of Bhatt and yet the media kept backing him. The whole world suspected then that Sanjiv Bhatt was nothing more than a Congress stooge. Some of his affidavits were even reported to be drafted by a reporter from TOI, Manoj Mitta. But Rajdeep and his colleagues suspected nothing. Must be all those emails Bhatt was sending him. After all, he is Numero Uno when it comes to political analysis. And this guy talks about Muslims in Gujarat? Pathetic!
As far as I know, and I know with a certain authority too, that Muslims in Gujarat are much better off than in many other states in India. The few streets and gullys that CNN-IBN and other channels show in their reports are not unique to Muslims. These can be found in other communities too in Gujarat where the poor live. Poverty hasn’t disappeared from India and it hasn’t totally disappeared from Gujarat. But guess what, at every opportunity CNN-IBN will be there to rake up old wounds under the garb “Gujarat Muslims: A new narrative”. The title is as deceptive as it possibly can. The manner in which both Sagarika and Rajdeep have been screaming about Muslims are nearly attempts to divide a state on religious lines and sowing seeds of communal disharmony. It can also amount to provoking Muslims with fears where there are none. Is there nothing else about Gujarat other than Muslims? Should that be the only factor that should decide elections? Has Rajdeep ever asked why there has never been a Muslim Nobel winner from India? Surely, day isn’t far off when he blames Modi for that too.
Someone did give an answer to the Social Genius on her journey of malice. Asifa Khan, a Congress member who recently joined BJP, told her: “A foot soldier from BJP is doing much better than a Congress MLA or Congress MP would have done”. I don’t think Rajdeep is going to hunt for a deep explanation why Congress is held in such contempt in Gujarat. Truth might be that the conditions of Muslims in a Muslim-ruled J&K maybe far worse than Gujarat. I doubt CNN-IBN or the Social Genius is going to do a show on that. As for the moronery of the husband-wife duo what says it better than Akhilesh Yadav, whose six months in charge of UP have seen 9 communal riots being their Indian of the year nominee? A bunch of bigots whose hatred for Modi and prejudice against Hindus have often coloured the vision of CNN-IBN. This isn’t the first time.
And then Rajdeep wonders if media is facing a credibility crisis. The problem for him, as also many other media celebs, is that they haven’t been able to juggle their work of putting out the bare minimum news with facts and that of their political agenda. Rajdeep, Sagarika and CNN-IBN have just joined the election campaign in Gujarat. It’s your guess which team they are rooting for. Right behind them is Headlines Today too. It’s only begun. Few months ago when Rajdeep was being asked by Twitterati to report on the Emergency anniversary on June 25 he hit back with a question. He asked if the same Tweeple will remember Babri anniversary on December 6. He’s in luck! This time December 6 is just around the eve of Gujarat elections. Someone will be there to exploit it for added impact in Gujarat. Guess who?