Monday, September 30, 2013

Cuckoo Journalism

I was going to use a harsher variant of ‘cuckoo’ in the title but my bad sense prevailed. Let’s get one thing straight. If someone tells you a conversation is “off the record” then you are ethics-bound not to use or quote it with attributions. This is more so if you happen to be a reporter or a journalist. If reporters break that code, half their ‘sources’ would never talk to them and feed them information, juicy gossip or tips. But in the recent episode concerning Barkha Dutt, Pak PM Nawaz Sharif and Hamid Mir the “off the record” story is not the entire truth. If you intentionally lie or cover-up and then get exposed it is better to admit it with a decent reason for the cover-up. Whining and defending is like quick-sand. The more you extend the lie, the more it drags you in. There are situations when “off the record” simply cannot apply, as we shall see. In the age of internet and communication even words in private meetings can damage an entire campaign. Watch the video (1.03 mins):

There you go! That statement by Mitt Romney that 47% of American voters who don’t pay taxes will anyway not vote for him cost him a lot. Those who tracked the campaign will remember the damage it caused Romney. So who is Barkha trying to fool?

This is a tweet by Numero Uno Rajdeep Sardesai from February 2012. Do you remember the context? During the UP elections campaign Rahul Gandhi suddenly invited editors of many news outlets to a ‘breakfast’ meet. Like a slave, Rajdeep rushed to it at 2.25am, as did the others. It was supposedly an off the record breakfast meet. Now, can a breakfast meet with a political leader with many editors be off the record? Nonsense! But the editors mostly chose to toe the line, become slaves and didn’t report much about what transpired at the meet. This is not journalism, this is absolute cronyism. In a lunch meet the same Rahul “complete nonsense” Gandhi told American Ambassador Timothy Roemer that Hindu terrorism is a greater threat to India than LeT. Is that off the record? Can RG talk crap to a foreign diplomat and claim off the record? It is just as well that Wikileaks exposed him for his stupidity.

So by what quixotic measure is a gathering of a politician and a bunch of media folks an off the record affair? This is the fallacy. An off the record conversation is meant to be one between two individuals. You cannot talk to a group and say it’s off the record because the assorted members of a group cannot be expected to behave uniformly. That is the stupidity of media assumptions. So when Pak PM Nawaz Sharif invited Barkha Dutt, Hamid Mir and some other reporters to a “breakfast” meet in New York on the sidelines of the MMS-Sharif talks there is no way it can be described as off the record. It so happened that at this meet Sharif was upset with MMS talking to Barack Obama about some Indo-Pak issue and called him a “Dehati Aurat” (Village woman) complaining about him. This simply cannot be off the record. Word got out when Hamid Mir told a Pak TV channel about this comment being made to him and Barkha. She denied Sharif made that remark to her. That started the whole problem. Do I trust Barkha? Absolutely not! What Hamid Mir said is quoted by Smita Prakash of ANI. By the way, the discussion on the Pak Geo channel also mentioned how MMS’s position stood eroded after recent events.

I don’t need to put up the video (Youtube) as it doesn’t need forensic experts to verify what Hamid Mir quoted. Cleverly, Barkha later tweeted there is no record of the conversation. Funny, she claims “off the record” and says there’s no record? Fact: There is no record that Nawaz Sharif told anyone that it was an “off the record” meet. Even if he did so, it is invalid. You cannot be PM and expect to gossip with a group and not be quoted. You WILL be quoted. Period! So Barkha goes on a sprint of denials of Sharif having made that “Dehati Aurat” remark about MMS. Here are some exchanges:

Okay, he didn’t say it to her she says. So people like Barkha and Hamid don’t gossip and compare notes on what Pak PM’s say? If you believe that, you can believe the earth is flat. Next she says Rightwing extremists are using a distorted report to abuse Pakistan. Abuse Pakistan? This is the stupidity to which Barkha has degenerated. Caught in mindless denials she even blames imaginary rightwing extremists for her stupidity.

And being asked more questions by many others her story suddenly changes from outright denial to “unethical to report on an off record conversation”. Where was the need to say “unethical” if the Dehati comment wasn’t made by Sharif? Then suddenly memory returns and Barkha drags herself further into the quicksand by stating there was some story about how a village woman settles her fight. So Sharif was narrating some stupid story without some context? Who is lying here? It is quite obvious isn’t it? If Sharif had a reason to narrate that village woman story the reason is pretty clear who was being called a “Dehati woman”. But Hamid Mir had already poked holes into her story since the video quoting him appeared on Youtube. So you see, now we have to fix Hamid Mir too. So I reasonably estimate that calls might have been furiously exchanged and poor Hamid was badgered into making some concessions. Here are some more exchanges:

So Hamid does a flip-flop to bail out Barkha and she claims victory. Only problem is that it doesn’t wash. The damage was done. Late night on Sunday Barkha used her home channel NDTV to do a “Radiagate” type defence once again where she claimed she was innocent and Sharif didn’t make the Dehati comment. But Hamid doesn’t alter the fact that Sharif shared a joke which Barkha calls a “village tale”. So that is ample evidence that Barkha was indeed there when Sharif narrated the story. Why all this fuss in the first place? Barkha could have simply said Sharif said something uncharitable about MMS and she didn’t consider it fit to report or quote and that would have been fair and ended the matter. But trust habitual bad drivers to crash over and over again. And blame the car!

Let’s go back in time a bit. When the Radiagate story broke Barkha claimed she was just “stringing along a source”. Anyone believe that? Okay, naturally the people who put out the tapes, Open Magazine, had serious questions that Barkha could never answer. If indeed Barkha was stringing along Niira Radia for a story then where was the story? That would have been a bomb of a story but where was it? Hartosh Bal of Open mag did ask the question:

The context in which Barkha was talking to Radia is important. Negotiations were underway between the DMK and Congress for places in the Union Cabinet. Barkha makes the claim that Radia was a valid news source for the DMK camp. Among the portfolios on offer was telecom, and Radia was the top PR representative of the Tata Group of Ratan Tata, which has a major interest in the telecom sector via its firm Tata Teleservices Ltd, and also of the Reliance Group of Mukesh Ambani, which had a direct interest in the sector via Reliance Infocomm before the Ambani brothers split. For any political journalist worth her salt, the alarm bells would have gone off at this stage, and should have led to one of the biggest stories related to government formation in this country: ‘Tata telecom PR chief handles negotiations for telecom portfolio.’ Did you happen to see this story on NDTV?”

Well? Did you ever see that story that Cabinet berths are being brokered and lobbied for? So Barkha cannot claim innocence then and she cannot claim innocence now. This is not journalism, this is Cuckoo journalism. Oh wait! Memories are short. Barkha doesn’t tire talking “ethics” when she has demonstrated practice of precious little of that. Let’s go back in time again. Remember ‘To Sir Creek with hand-in-glove? Since she claims “off the record” conversations are to be kept off the record I would like to ask her how she claimed that the Sir Creek Agreement was ready and then Pak PM Yusuf Gilani was just waiting for MMS to visit Pakistan to sign and announce it. Here’s the video (0.46 min):

In the panel discussions in the video above, Barkha claims Gilani told her about the agreement being ready to sign. Did he? Or was she fibbing? If Gilani tells her in “ishaara” (hints, signals) was it meant to be a clear on-record statement? And if that was the hint which he gave where exactly has Barkha reported this on NDTV or any of her articles on NDTV or mother goose Hindustan Times? Nowhere! So it appears that an agreement was clandestinely prepared; obviously implying GOI was aware and Barkha suppressed that from the public and boldly claims it on a Pak channel. Mind you, the text of the interview with Gilani has been posted on NDTV’s website but there is no mention of the “agreement”. Convenient ethics? It’s cuckoo journalism!

Barkha has a history of frequently interviewing Pakistanis like Imran Khan, Parvez Musharraf, even Imran’s Mom or any Paki of position. Her constant obsession with Pakistan is indeed beyond reason or explanation. I wonder how many “off record” conversations passed during those interviews. As fate would have it, on both occasions (Sir Creek and Dehati Aurat) the issues fell right into the lap of Narendra Modi. In the campaign for Gujarat elections in December 2012 Modi used the Sir Creek episode to slam MMS and Congress. On September 29 he used the Dehati Aurat slur to slam MMS and Congress again (coupled with RahulG’s complete nonsense rant on the Ordinance protecting criminal politicians). Modi also slammed the journos without naming Barkha but nobody missed it. For the 11 years that Barkha and others of her club have trolled Modi, he finally returned an unforgettable spanking that is not going to be drowned in a hurry by Barkha.  

Predictably, the bimbo who can’t survive a day without uttering some nonsense jumped in gladly. Sagarika Ghose claims using the allegory of a village story was a low level discourse to slam the PM. It doesn’t occur to this Cagetory5 moron that the same media which is crying foul not only distorted but for days misused and abused an ordinary analogy of a “Puppy” by Modi to claim he abused Muslims. The practitioners of gutter journalism are having a bad time. No matter how much Barkha tries, this is humiliation she brought upon herself with her mindless denials and cover-up attempts. This is not the first time either. NDTV should have sacked her long back.

The Cuckoo does not build its own nests.  The female Cuckoo uses nests of other birds to lay her own eggs and leaves the parenting to the other birds. Quite a species, wouldn’t you say?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Send In The Clowns

"The idea had been growing in my brain for some time: TRUE force. All the queen's men cannot put it back together again”. That little quote from a famous movie is the rephrase of the simple lines from a nursery rhyme. A Prime Minister who has been humiliated over and over again by others yesterday had to face the ultimate insult from his own party member. Two terms wasted in overlooking so many scams and so much corruption had to end in dishonour. The mindless ordinance attempting to overturn the SC ruling on convicted legislators was the last straw for the public. There were wild guesses that even the President would send it back for reconsideration. We can forget all that now. A long time ago I wrote the post “The tears of a clown prince”; that post was about Rahul Gandhi’s silly utterances on corruption and black money. In a burst of stupidity the same RahulG not only re-established his clownish tendencies, he also reduced the PM, the Cabinet and the entire media to nothing but a bunch of clowns.

In the afternoon of September 27, 2013 RahulG walked into the Press Club where the Congress spokie was defending the Ordinance. RG was kind enough to give a warning to Ajay Maken that he was “arriving”. He first called Maken and then at the dais made Maken look absolutely dumbfounded with what he uttered. I quote the priceless gems from RG:
I am not going to get into a long drawn press conference. I will make some of my opinions heard and then I'll go back to work. I called up Makenji and he said he was meeting the press, speaking about the ordinance. He gave me the political line that everyone will give you. My personal opinion about the ordinance on lawmakers is that it is complete nonsense; it should be torn and thrown away. Everyone does this and there is a time to stop this nonsense - and I really feel this is time political parties stop making such compromises. When we make small compromises we compromise everything. If we actually want to stop corruption then we cannot make these compromises. I am not interested in what the Opposition is saying; I am only interested in what our government is doing. What our government has done as far as this ordinance is concerned is wrong”.

Complete nonsense? The guy does love tearing things, doesn’t he? He tore that SP manifesto last year. He watched the Lokpal Bill of his party being torn in clever drama. Now he wants to tear the Ordinance. The tears of a …. Oh never mind!

And all this while the PM is away in the US! Not knowing how to respond MMS just said he was aware of RG’s statement and that RG had written to him about his opinions too. Really? So even after receiving a letter from RG the PM went ahead with the ordinance? That’s quite unbelievable. As that bomb exploded our media clowns didn’t know what to do. All these years of sucking up to MMS and RG had come undone in one single stroke. They didn’t know what to do. Even RG’s “evoluter” Barkha Dutt dropped everything else early morning in Washington DC and stuck to politics back home. The free junket wasted! Here are initial responses from some of the media clowns:

Now RG will steer the party? Well Barkha, that depends if you consider he has completely evolved or if he’s work-in-progress. The Category5Moron gleefully jumps to point at some minister in the Gujarat govt under Modi. Well, to Numero Unee it doesn’t occur that the two people most affected by RG “tearing” the Ordinance are Rasheed Masood of Congress, and, of course, Lalu ‘fodder’ Prasad. The entire Cabinet which approved the Ordinance were running around like headless chickens trying to figure out to say. The man who has a “happy-tongue” and blabbers about a lot of things also explained how he was wise not to comment on the Ordinance. Of course, he doesn’t tell us why he didn’t object earlier as part of the Cabinet. Meet Shashi Tharoor, the flip-flop man again:

The ministers and other members, sycophants that they are, crawled behind RG and kept saying PM wasn’t “snubbed” by his stupid outburst. All through last evening TimesNow, NDTV, CNN-IBN and other channels somehow tried to pin the Ordinance tragedy on BJP by twisting the chaos into some imaginary role of BJP supporting it by seeking the parliamentary route. Nonsense! Only yesterday the BJP leaders met the President to reject the Ordinance. The Congress members and spokies, even side-kicks like Sanjay Jha, were totally caught with pants and skirts down. The ministers tried to hide in the nearest hole possible. The last few days and even till RG’s presser all the Congis and some crooks in the media were defending the Ordinance. RG’s order was clear: “send in the clowns”. And I quite like the way this theme expresses it (video 2.49 mins):

The Congis and media make quite a pair. One in mid-air one on the ground. One who keeps tearing around, one who can’t move… Where are the clowns? Making an entrance at a presser with his usual flair. Sure of his lines. Don’t you love farce? The clowns were right there at the press club. Isn’t it rich? Isn’t it queer? Losing the timing this late, in their careers? Where are the clowns? Well, maybe next year!  

What the media doesn’t tell you is the awful truth that for the last few months Narendra Modi has been running away with the political agenda with his block-buster rallies. In contrast, the Congress heir RahulG has had nothing to show but usual blabber about poverty being lack of self-confidence or a state of mind. RG’s rallies have drawn poor responses. The Congress is even scared to allow media to live-cast his speeches. He is that blooper-prone and his nonsensical utterances a delight for cartoonists and the butt of jokes. Terrorism in J&K even as PM goes abroad and wants to hold talks with Pak PM. The SC made mincemeat of the bogus Aadhar card scheme. And public opinion against the Ordinance protecting convicted legislators was abundantly evident. A caller from Hyderabad on Times Now, on September 26, spanked Sanjay Jha severely and the latter still kept defending the Ordinance, as did other Ministers and spokies. They have to realise they’ve been made to look like idiots.

But here’s the dangerous part. Even if all the sycophants line up behind RahulG and MMS is made a scapegoat and many are now demanding the resignation of the PM they miss something. Imagine, when Modi was nominated PM candidate the same clowns were asking if it wasn’t a snub to a senior statesman like LK Advani. Now the same clowns are suggesting RG’s silly outburst is not a snub to MMS. Sanjay Baru, former media advisor to PM, was harsh enough to immediately seek his resignation and slammed RG for not following the Indian culture of respecting elders and insubordination. Funny, isn't that? If your junior commits insubordination you sack him or you yourself resign? Where do Baru and Rajdeep get their wisdom? The truth they won’t acknowledge is that RahulG doesn’t respect anyone or anything. He thinks people are fools and he can go around making silly statements and be a hero. RG has a wrong set of advisors. The other awful truth is nobody has any sympathy for MMS either. He has lost the halo of “honesty” and people see him as a man who condoned scams and corruption right through the last 9 years. Nobody will weep for him over his political death. MMS may even go down as the worst PM India ever had.

And the real danger is that anyone who can barge into a presser when he normally never speaks to media and makes tall claims and makes a damaging outburst against his own party member who is PM is seriously psychologically damaged. Neither RG’s language nor his cruel dismissal of his PM and entire cabinet in public reflect any diplomatic skills. Such a man is really unfit for any senior position in any govt. Far from having reacted to public sentiment or trying to prove he is a leader or outspoken, RG only gave proof he is a bigger clown than we so far imagined. He dunked the Congress into a deeper hole than they already were. This is a man heavily drunk with power without the slightest bit of responsibility. With a man like this you can never know what he might utter anywhere, including on economic issues or matters of foreign affairs. Imagine the man suddenly having a fit at the UN or a G-20 summit. The media who clowned around all along and many still believe RG’s act was a brave one or heroic need to have their head examined. These are the clowns they sent in. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Back To British

It is hard to believe that it took 28 years for India to get rid of the British after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919. Actually, we didn’t even throw them out. They left on their own accord after cutting India to pieces. I sometimes wonder how Indians gladly joined the British police force and fired upon and lathi-charged their own countrymen. MK Gandhi even supported (as did many other Indian leaders and Muslims in general) some stupid Khilafat movement for far off Turkey. MKG even condoned the Moplah violence against Hindus in the name of rebellion against the British. The British and the Congress party have a shared history of hatred of Hindus. Anything in Saffron that moves is worth their loathing and condemnation. The instances are many and now our modern day media is part of that bandwagon. Take a look at this pic by AajTak:

The headlines seem to glorify Azam Khan, who has been said to be the instigator of Muzzafarnagar riots. On the other hand it shows Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev’s mindless detention in London airport as “London me Lafda yog”. Chronic liars Digvijaya Singh call BRD a “thug”. It’s because such nonsense is being allowed to pass all the time that members of the “fake secularism” brigade has become more like the British.

Two years ago on Gandhi Jayanti, a funny hashtag #BritishRajTweets on Twitter, had a dose of tweets using current political leaders and public figures and what they would have tweeted during that time. In June 2011 after the cowardly attack by Delhi Police, on the orders of the Congress govt, on a sleeping crowd of agitators led by BRD (which resulted in the death of one woman) our PM could only say “Police action against Ramdev was unfortunate but inevitable”. The man is indeed a tragic failure. Naturally, I tweeted what I estimate he would have said about the Jallianwala Bagh too. Had the Congress been in the govt Jallianwala Bagh may have still happened and they would have defended it. When the woman (Rajbala) who was fatally injured in the attack on BRD died, the media didn’t make much noise about it. It was fine with them because… isn’t it obvious? She died exactly this day two years ago. Here’s the reason I suggested then:

Despite all his weaknesses and cases of poor judgement MK Gandhi still remained a patriot at heart who loved India. I cannot say the same for the Congress or some parties similar to it that are keen on destroying the very freedoms we fought for. In the last Bihar elections Nitish Kumar demanded and got a ban on Narendra Modi from campaigning in that state. The BJP foolishly even agreed to please Nitish’s ego and inferiority complex. Someone else wasn’t allowed into Bihar a long time ago too. The reasons, he was told was he would “disturb the peace”. Watch this video (4.39 mins):

If that shocks you then the worst is yet to come. The JDU govt in Bihar has threatened to arrest NaMo if he enters Bihar. On what grounds? The threat of disturbing communal peace? This is the nonsense that the British peddled and our “sickular” parties are doing the same thing. Long back the same Bihar govt under Lalu Prasad had arrested LK Advani during a yatra. Rajnath Singh and other BJP leaders were stopped from entering Muzzafarnagar after the recent riots. However, SoniaG, RahulG and MMS were grandly allowed to enter with cameras to show their “sickular” credentials in sharing tears of only Muslims and not Hindu victims. Gandhis are alive and well!

That’s not all. There is some joker in Tamil Nadu called M. Elango of some New Era Trust (Sounds like a Jesus or ROP Trust to me) who petitioned the Madras HC to ban Narendra Modi from entering Trichy for the same reasons as the British cited against MKG. (NaMo is scheduled to address a rally at Trichy today). Fortunately, the Madras HC rejected this nonsense outright but lately you don’t even know if courts will stand up for freedom. This guy Elango is a Congress member. There seems to have been no brains whatsoever in the Congress party to stop their member from indulging in such frivolous nonsense. Why would they? After all, anything against NaMo is welcome.

We are nearing another Gandhi Jayanthi. The Congress and other politicians will carry out the usual routines of singing praises to him. MKG wanted Congress disbanded after independence but that is one advice they will never heed. The British left but the Indian “suits” took over and we are now experiencing another British Raj. At least the media was patriotic during the freedom struggle. Now they too are full of Macaulay putras and putris who are no different from the British. They rejoice in the ill-treatment of their own citizens by the British and other countries. MKG wanted Congress to die. I have said this before “for India to progress, Congress must die”. They and similar “sickular” parties have taken us back to British Raj.