By now ‘Weapons of mass distraction’ (WMD) is a very commonly used phrase. Urban dictionaries define it quite accurately as politically charged non-issues used to distract those who live in a faith-based reality from the catastrophic failings of a political party, regime or ideology. Very often this means using scapegoats. I would use ‘faith’ here to mean MSM as against religion. ‘Weapons of mass distraction’ is also a movie where two filthy media moguls with the dirtiest secrets wage a war to own a football team. In their dirty battle they destroy the lives of many ordinary people. Sounds very much like our own corporations, political parties and media, doesn’t it? Even the innocent looking mobile or smart-phone is a WMD. Look around anywhere or even on TV screens, you will always find a lot people staring at their devices even when it’s not ringing or vibrating.
After Grammar specialist Ashwani Kumar and “innocent” scape-GOAT Pawan Kumar Bansal resigned on May 10 the Tiwaris and Singhvis had disappeared from the media. Fortunately for the Congress party the Pakistan elections were around and their best friends at NDTV and CNN-IBN kept their channels busy with non-stop coverage of Imran Khan and when they found time they covered the rest of Pakistan. A day earlier Barkha Dutt was already in Pakistan at the hospital where Imran Khan was being treated and, with Musharraf in jail too, she found the only interesting person in Pakistan to interview was one Aleema Khan. This Aleema is the sister of Imran. This was a lot like the Priyanka Gandhi interview of April 2009 except in more tragic circumstances. This art of distraction is also called “Wag the dog” which means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue. The expression comes from the saying that 'a dog is smarter than its tail', but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would 'wag the dog'.
On Sunday, May 19 N. Srinivasan held a press conference over the latest IPL spot-fixing scam. For a scam which the media has been on and on for the last 4 days the meeting concluded in about an hour and his presser lasted longer. One reporter (probably from one our doggy channels) asked Srinivasan if legalising betting would solve the huge problem. You see, this is where the tail is smarter than the dog. Srinivasan answered the question ambiguously enough to make no sense. But it doesn’t occur to the reporter or our MSM in general that even if betting is legalised, match-fixing and spot-fixing cannot be legalised (Thanks for the wisdom, Rahul Kanwal). Both are two different things. Betting is legal in many countries, match-fixing is not. This nonsensical presser followed by Rajasthan Royals’ management stating they will file an FIR against the erring players was one more instalment of mass distraction. Let’s take a look at the chain of events.
Sreesanth and others were arrested late night on May 15. The spot-fixing incidents as claimed by Delhi police occurred on May 9 or earlier. So why did they wait till May 15 to arrest the accused especially when they had flown to different hotels away from their HQ? Interesting, eh? It so happens that on May 15 Sreesanth was sacked from the RR team by the management (see TOI report). A mere co-incidence? Okay! So on May 16 the story explodes and the Delhi PC, Neeraj Kumar, is all over the place on all channels beaming like a “dulha” on the major catch he had made (The pic is from his interview with Sunetra Choudhury on NDTV). And what does Delhi police do? Every hour they release juicy titbits to the media on how Sreesanth cried, there was a confession, there was no confession, how many bookies were involved, Dubai was involved, Pakistan was involved, Dawood was involved and blah blah. So like the box of parrots they are, our media were waiting to relay every bit of scrap being thrown at them. TimesNow even interviewed Himanshu Roy, the JCP of Mumbai who made no significant comments on the episode. Splendid!
The very next day (May 18) Himanshu Roy holds a press conference of his own in Mumbai to tell the world that they had seized a laptop computer, an ipad, and a mobile phone of Sreesanth. You know, the Delhi police went to Mumbai and arrested Sreesanth but the Mumbai police must have told them “please leave something for us”. So our very considerate Delhi police left these items for their Mumbai friends to mop up. So after the Delhi police left, the next day Mumbai police grabbed all these belongings of Sreesanth. This is truly inter-state police cooperation at its best, isn’t it? So after May 16 and 17 were dominated by the grinning Neeraj Kumar, his PR guys they said “over to Mumbai” and on May 18 Mumbai police hogged the limelight. Three days over a spot-fixing scam?
Since the spot-fixing scam goes beyond borders and indicates Hawala transactions there must be room for some more to join the fun. Enter the Enforcement Directorate! What do they say… “maan na maan me tera mehmaan”! So the ED jumps in and says they will now start a money laundering probe (Outlook). So in a couple of days you might find some ED guys on TV telling us what they are going to do, when they are going to do and how they are going to do it. That reminds me. The original IPL guy that the ED is still chasing, Lalit Modi, is happily settled in London and is on TV every time something happens in IPL. And Modi lectures everyone on the chastity of IPL when he was in charge. Talking about ED reminds me of another one. This Rajasthan Royals, the focus of all attention, was slapped a 100 crore fine by the ED for foreign exchange violations. Did they pay up? What happened to that? If you go the Telegraph article I challenge you to decipher who the owners of RR really are although the face being shown to us is that of Shilpa Shetty. There are names of so many finance companies and even Lalit Modi’s ‘jiju’ Suresh Chellaram is mentioned. All pretty complex as most IPL owners appear to be. And Shilpa Shetty says “Zero tolerance”. I believe her.
Maybe the IT and ED should first scrutinise funding of the owners of each IPL team with a fine tooth-comb before they venture into the spot-fixing scam which is of much lower value. But why should the news media be so carried away with this for over 4 days and still be going on and on about it. Surely, even if they are parrots they can’t be that dumb, can they? Or may they are wilfully so. All other issues of national interest have been pushed aside as former diplomat KC Singh laments. In the last 4 days other issues are covered only as a “break” like the Chinese PM’s visit or the resignation of two corruption-tainted ministers in Andhra Pradesh. Throughout this period there is a massive “Bharat Nirman” campaign running on all the channels. Mind you, these are not small 5-10 seconds ads, these are mostly full 90 seconds ads or even more.
The APCL (Andhra Pradesh Corruption League) has been covered up and pushed into to a corner of news items for over 4 years now. Even that “Truth V Tripe” guy didn’t have time to pay any attention to it. Propaganda channels like NDTV, CNN-IBN and lately Headlines Today simply refuse to do a complete story on the APCL. As high a minister as Home Minister Sabitha Indira Reddy and Roads & Buildings Minister D. Prasada Rao have been forced to resign because of corruption. It’s not just these two, there’s a whole team of people who are accused and I quote from The Hindu:
Other accused in the case include Jagan, V. Vijay Sai Reddy, Puneet Dalmia, Y. Srilakshmi, V.D. Rajagopal, Sajjala Diwakar Reddy, Sanjay S. Mittra, Neel Kamal Beri, Joy Deep Basu, Raghuram Cements (presently Bharati Cements), Dalmia Cement and Eswar Cements (now merged into Dalmia Cement) in that order.
The continuous coverage of the IPL spot-fixing, with mostly nothing new to add, is simply mind-boggling. I don’t believe that media houses have only now realised that the late YSR was running the most corrupt State govt in the country. The corruption loot could well match the 2G levels. Jagan Reddy, YSR’s son who is currently in jail under CBI cases, alone is reported to have acquired assets worth over 40000 crores. Amazing for a guy who had nothing much to start with! The Congress corruption in AP is not even debateable. No channel is demanding resignations and no channel is even talking about it. Even the UP Lokayukta decision to recover 1400 crores from Mayawati & Co. is blaring on all channels. Lately, NDTV is obsessed with Afghanistan. Understandable! WMD apart, someone is clearly walking the dog. I wonder who.