Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Incoherent Mind

Someone in the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi’s image managers decided he must finally do a TV interview. They decided to do it big. They decided it shouldn’t be a “chota-mota” interview with regular Congress propagandists like Rajdeep Sardesai or Barkha Dutt. They decided it should be a full-length, almost 75 minutes, interview with Arnab Goswami on TimesNow (January 27). I had recorded the whole thing but thankfully TimesNow also put up the transcripts but seem to have later removed it but it’s also available here. If you watched the interview you would know RG had come thoroughly prepared for the task. He had memorised all the answers he could but it turned out they were all answers to questions his coaches might have asked. One had to often struggle to find a connection between what Arnab asked and what RG answered.

The good news first. RahulG decided that this was an occasion of great significance so he must have felt the need to shave and come clean for Arnab. Any of those Gillette brand managers would be impressed. The make-up, the looks and the appearance was great. Unfortunately for viewers, RG also had to talk and that’s the tough part. For me, RG only confirmed what I had suspected and written many times on this site that the man is incapable of thinking on his feet or any kind of comprehension skills. Let’s just sample some of the Q&A (excerpts, some edited):

Arnab Goswami: Specifically speaking how is Narendra Modi, your party criticised him for the 2002 Gujarat riots, and how can you do that when he has been given a clean chit…. Do you believe that strategy of your party is fundamentally wrong?
Rahul Gandhi: The strategy of the party is very simple. Everything we have done over that last 5-10years, in fact if you look all the way back to the freedom movement, every single thing we have ever done is empower people. We empowered people in the freedom movement, we empowered farmers in the Green revolution, and we empowered the citizens of India when we did the telecom revolution. We have empowered millions and millions of people through frankly the most powerful legislation that has ever taken place in this country called the RTI- Right to information. Things that used to be closed, things that were in closed doors which nobody knew about.

That was the trend and pattern of the whole interview. Arnab asks something and RG goes into a banter about some unrelated issue. The few words most used by him were RTI, Women empowerment, system and fundamentals. This is apart from “my daddy, my grandmother” who are regular features of his answers to anything. Vote for me because my granny died and because my daddy died and that makes me who or what I am. So the reason, I suspect, Congress is so connected with corruption and scams is they were busy empowering everyone. You can ask any question you like but RG had only answers on RTI and empowerment. Mind you, even RTI is not an original Congress formulation. People are now better observers of what screw ups politicians do and they don’t use lipstick like a Vinod Mehta or Varadabhai tend to do. I think it is fair to say RG came for an essay on the cow but he was asked to write one on a dog instead. You see, this is the problem with people asking questions. Arnab should have first checked what RG had come prepared with, no? Some more where RG analyses RG and tells us how we should analyse RG:

Arnab Goswami: Are you avoiding a direct face-off with Narendra Modi? Is there a fear of loss Rahul because this election is not looking good for the Congress party from overall estimates? And the growing belief is that if Rahul Gandhi has not picked up the challenge officially that means that there is a fear of loss, he is avoiding a direct one on one battle with Narendra Modi, you must answer that?
Rahul Gandhi: To understand that question you have to understand a little bit about who Rahul Gandhi is and what Rahul Gandhi's circumstances have been and if you delve into that you will get an answer to the question of what Rahul Gandhi is scared off and what he is not scared off. The real question is what I am doing sitting here, you are a journalist, when you were small you must have said to yourself I want to do something, you decided to become a journalist at some point, why did you do that?
Arnab Goswami: You are asking me the question
Rahul Gandhi: Yes, I am asking you a question, it is a conversation

Arnab Goswami: Because I like and enjoy being a journalist, it is a professional challenge for me. My question is you avoiding a direct face-off with Mr. Narendra Modi?
Rahul Gandhi: You are not answering my question, but I will answer the question and that will give you some insight into how Rahul Gandhi thinks. For that I will have to expand a little bit about my growing up, how I grew up and the circumstances in which I grew up. What I saw when I was a child ,was my father, who was a pilot, and because of circumstances was thrown into the political system and all I saw when was small after my grandmother died was my father in constant-constant combat with the system in India and then I saw him die actually. In my life I have seen my grandmother die, I have seen my father die, I have seen my grandmother go to jail and I have actually been through a tremendous amount of pain as a child when these things happen to you, what I had to scared off I lost, there is absolutely nothing I am scared off…. The system everyday-everyday hurts people and I have felt the pain that the system can cause. I felt the pain with my father, I saw him every single day of his life, so the question of whether I am afraid of losing an election or whether I am afraid of Mr. Modi is not actually the point. I am here basically for one thing, I see tremendous energy in this country, I see more energy in this country than any other country, I see billions of youngsters and I see this energy is trapped...

On one point RG is off the mark though. I believe when Arnab was young he wasn’t thinking of being a journalist or even thinking of journalism. It is quite possible that Arnab just had a lot of questions for the nation or on behalf of the nation. So Dr. Rahul Freud Gandhi analyses Arnab’s diaper days and tells us how a man from Assam who wasn’t “empowered” decided and became a journalist. Whoa! When you don’t have answers you also fool yourself with lies. RG often cries about his granny and here mentions her being jailed. It doesn’t occur to him or his party that the criminal Emergency saw thousands of people being dumped in jail by IndiraG for no rhyme or reason except their opposition to her corrupt misrule. Thus, it is evident that this guy neither understands reality nor acknowledges truth and gives the impression that events in this life have caused a lot of mental damage. Some of this damage seems irreparable.

Arnab Goswami: Explain that. Government of Gujarat was aiding and abetting the riots is what you just said, explain that?
Rahul Gandhi: I mean it’s not me...it’s the large number of people who were there, large number of people who saw actively the Government of Gujarat being involved in the riots.
Arnab Goswami: You will keep that line despite the CM getting a clean chit form the courts?
Rahul Gandhi: I mean, people saw it. I am not the person who saw it, your colleague saw it. Your colleagues told me
Arnab Goswami: What are you saying? Can you explain?
Rahul Gandhi: What I feel is that this country needs to look at the fundamental issues at hand, the fundamental political issue at hand is that our Political system is controlled by too few people and we absolutely have to change the way our political system is structured, we have to change our Political parties, we have to make them more transparent, we have to change the processes that we use to elect candidates, we have to empower women in the political parties, that is where the meat of the issue but I don't hear that discussion, I don’t hear the discussion about how are we actually choosing that candidate, that is never the discussion.

This is a fantastic answer to who saw the Gujarat govt abetting riots in 2002. RG foolishly fumbles and states he was told by others. He mentions Arnab’s colleagues saw govt employees aiding the riots and Arnab’s honourable colleagues at that time were Rajdeep and Barkha. So RG is not really off the mark here. It’s a fact that the most number of lies were peddled by Arnab’s colleagues who, if you go by RG, are superior to any court or SIT. But asked to expand on his silly answer, RG again takes us through his nonsense of “fundamental issues” and changing “processes”. Nobody tells this jerk that most of the ills in our system and polity were installed by his own party. And even so, there is hardly any sign shown by RG of improving or changing anything in the last 10 years that he has been in politics and part of the govt. Naturally, the Congress cronies at CNN-IBN and Firstpost were quick to use this as a headline “Rahul blames Modi for 2002”. It’s now a tradition. By this token, RG should still be held guilty of abducting Sukanya Devi.

Rahul Gandhi: My long term view is that we need to take the Indian political system to a different place. We need to bring in youngsters and we need to move away from this concentration of power. Unfortunately the political system today is at a particular place and I can’t simply ignore the fact that the political system is at that place, so certainly there are points at which you might have to take a decision that you are not a 100% happy with but the long term idea for me is to transform the system, to bring in youngsters and make sure they are empowered.

Arnab Goswami: Lalu Prasad has been convicted on the 30th of September 2013 ….
Rahul Gandhi: Our alliance in Bihar is with a political party with an idea not an individual, we are making alliance, and it is not certain that we are going to make an alliance, we are in process of talking to people and our alliance is with an idea, with a party, not an individual

Who can disagree with all this? I’m sure RG and Congress have a rare vision through which they see RJD as separate from the criminal Lalu Prasad and they also see an “idea” of the party which they are willing to marry. This is the moron who claims he is against corruption. This is the moron who talks non-stop empowerment and change in systems. But he proves only one thing: that he doesn’t have the slightest idea what BS he is talking about. RG is just an over-grown kid who uses big words without any idea what they mean.

Arnab Goswami: You're avoiding a debate. Will you have a debate with Narendra Modi if he agrees to a debate on any of these issues? My question is direct. If Narendra Modi says I'm willing to debate these issues...
Rahul Gandhi: I'm debating these issues by building structures in the Congress party that's going to transform it.

So even where a debate is concerned RG is debating by building structures in his party. By logic it means RG is debating all the time. So someday he might reach a conclusion and when he does it will probably require changing the whole structure again.

Rahul Gandhi: It all depends on what you're trying to do. I told you that I'm here because I want to help use the energy of this country. I want to make this country powerful. I want to project the ideas of this country. To do that, I think there are basically 3 things one needs to do. One, is changing the way we do politics here. Getting away from the superficialities, getting away from the small issues and moving deeper into the issues right. Questioning the system, changing the system. Things like RTI, things like Lokpal, things like how we choose our candidates. Things like bringing youngsters into politics. Second is empowering the women of this country. Really bringing them into the system. Really pushing them forward. And third is using the energy of the youth of this country. Bringing in the type of jobs that they need. This stuff is not done in 5 minutes. This stuff is frankly not done in this type of discussions. This stuff is done through concentrated thinking and long term work. It's frankly difficult work, it's painful work….. The real thing is that it's a heart thing. It's a soul thing. Why are you here? I asked you that question, why am I sitting here? I'm sitting here because I feel with all my heart that we need to change the system here and not enough people are actually asking that question.

It’s a heart thing! It’s a soul thing! This stuff is not done in 5 minutes. This stuff is done through concentrated thinking. I can keep laughing at this moron but he is a serious problem to himself. What exactly is concentrated thinking? Like you lock yourself up and think? One can pick what he or she likes or dislikes from an interview but I am convinced this man is a danger not only to the country but to himself as well. There is neither clarity in thought nor a demonstrated skill of comprehension. All the nonsensical nuggets by RG are pieces of his usual meaningless speeches which he could have delivered with anyone asking him questions. I am also convinced that he keeps referring to “systems” because he doesn’t know what it is that needs changing or fixing. Even Harsha Bhogle who analyses cross-bats and googlies for a living couldn’t find a connection between the questions and answers.

I may have mentioned this before that in the theory of change one answers three simple questions as a leader. This comes from the book “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt about a factory manager struggling to save his plant in the 3 months given to him:

1) Change what? – This is simply identifying what or which parts of a system to change.
2) Change it to what? – This answers whether you change a donkey to a horse or a horse to an elephant. In other words, mere desire of change doesn’t mean anything unless one is clear on what to change it to. If one part of a system needs to be changed 100% or be made an online process. RG has not shown anything in his political life of what he would change things to.
3) How to – If one knows what to change and change it to what then the obvious question is how to do it. RG is not only a powerful person in his party but also holds power over the govt. I haven’t seen any knowledge or skill in this interview or any time before that he possesses the answer on how to change things.

Empty words and an empty mind; there is a reason why RG has been nicknamed “Pappu”. As the years pass he only keeps giving us more proof why he is such a big disaster. When there were only black cars and people demanded more colours, Henry Ford was famously reported as saying “we have all the colours you want, as long as it is black”. RG was no different, you can ask all the questions you want he has only four answers: RTI, Women-empowerment, system and fundamentals. I believe it is not just that his answers are incoherent but perhaps his mind itself is incoherent. 

PS: Vote on the poll for worst journalists 2014 (Right margin of page).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Democracy & The Fake Aam Aadmis

England is often called the “mother of democracy”. Our former rulers don’t have a Constitution. Till about 2009 they didn’t even have a Supreme Court. They have managed a democracy pretty well without a Constitution. We borrowed their parliamentary system, retained some laws from Jurassic park and we borrowed the concept of Constitution from others. The ones who scream most about democracy in India are usually the ones who hate it the most.

RahulG quotes the Constitution as if his party actually believes in it. This is the party that “appointed” and unelected loser as the PM. And then he claims those who are anti-democratic are against Congress. The undisputed truth is Congress neither believes in democracy for itself nor for you. Their only Constitution is “Gandhis”; Chinese Gandhis if you like. This hypocritical approach to democracy also goes for all Commies who would like to overthrow the state and have a single-party rule like the Chinese. This is what the Maoists, Congress, Commies and the Johny-come-lately, AAP, would like to have. On January 23 on HeadlinesToday Yogendra Yadav, the umbilical cord between Congress and AAP, once again reiterated his “Idea of India”. This being “democracy, inclusiveness and diversity”. Yadav is the classic Commie liar who will use deception to further his ends. Which part of the nonsensical dharna by him and the AAP thugs constitutes democracy by elected members of a house? That brings us to the question: Are these people really Aam Aadmis at all? Do they even understand democracy or how it works? Take a look at this motley crew of AAP members and their supporters:

Was Dhirubhai Ambani an Aam Aadmi? When he was a gas-station attendant he could be called one but once he built his business and became one of the richest men in the country he ceased to remain an Aam Aadmi. The same is true for all the people you see in the pic above. Some are politicians, some are political-brokers. Most of them also have a shared resume of suspicious foreign funding whose interests aren’t exactly transparent. Kumar Vishwas claims he worked his way up in life earning Rs.100 for some shows. His climb is admirable but now that he stays in a 7-room bungalow, does he still qualify to be called Aam Aadmi? Absolutely not! Same is true for Arvind Kejriwal, Ashutosh, Yadav and the rest. The possible exception could have been Binayak Sen but he’s actually “special” because he’s a convicted criminal. The lies of Ashutosh claiming to be a journalist already stand exposed. There’s another guy called Punya Prasoon Bajpai who claims to be a journalist but was caught sleeping with AAP. I guess it’s not hard to identify the other closet AAP members who still pretend to be journalists.

The deception of AK is evident by his tweet to Bajpai. He claimed Bajpai was batting for BJP while in truth the guy was sleeping with AAP and AK probably knew it. This same AK claimed Congress had spent 1400 crores on the media to damn them when almost the entire media was batting for AAP in the hope that they can deliver a final “Blow to Modi”. All the crooks haven’t managed it so far so they will have to try some new tricks. Latest allegations are that AAP offered money to write positive posts about them to a Pune writer. What comes through clearly is that both AK and AAP are a big front for the Congress and their deceptions have been cleverly peddled by the CNN-IBN group, Aaj Tak, Headlines Today, TOI group and quite a few other media dealers. On January 23 (on his election tracker show) a panellist, Manini Chatterjee, stated this bluntly to Rajdeep Sardesai. It is important to ask, therefore, if these guys are really Aam Aadmis.

For a start, how many Aam Aadmis would have done what AK did for 2 days at the Rail Bhawan and gotten away with it? Any other man or group would have been quickly arrested, lathi-charged and dumped into some open-air stock yard. That the police and the Centre watched quietly is only because AK, Somnath, Yadav and their gang is NOT “Aam Aadmi” anymore. “Sponsored revolutions’ invariably go wrong. I have no doubts the so-called AK and AAP “revolution” is sponsored by forces that want to destabilise India, create anarchy and keep a certain party away from power. Only a thorough ignoramus will fail to see through this. Over 40 years ago, John Lennon, out of experience, warned us of these FAKE revolutions with bad tactics and bad intentions. It may be of some solace that he wrote “Revolution” in the hills of Rishikesh in 1968. This video should tell you all about it (3.20 mins):

Claims of representing the Aam Aadmi when these Commies and Maoist-sympathisers are actually fooling them now stand exposed. Each person in the Commie gallery that appears earlier in this post has nothing in common with any Aam Aadmi. The great Commie ambition is to overthrow democracy and establish a system where their members alone will dispense instant justice on the streets or wherever they are. Ask CPM, they know all about it. They want to make laws that will suit themselves and not democracy. I have long maintained that our MSM itself is infested with Commies and anti-nationals of all kinds. They find it easy to fool people because people have been fooled for ages by the Congress+Commie combine. Let me quote again “People don’t drink the sand because it quenches their thirst, they drink the sand because they can’t tell the difference”. It is this helplessness coupled with ignorance that is the prey for anarchists of the AAP variety.

The kind of threats that AK made during his stupid dharna can only come from an anti-national. He threatened to fill Rajpath with supporters to disrupt the R-Day parade. He asked the police to shed their uniforms and join the protest. That is the equivalent of provoking a revolt and he grandly claimed “I am an anarchist”. Ask yourself an honest question. Would any Aam Aadmi get away with what AK did? Would he or any of his goons get away with what they did if they didn’t have the title of “minister” and “MLA” after their names? Any real Aam Aadmi doing what these thugs did would immediately be arrested. The horrible fact is that AK, Yadav and his gang neither respect democracy nor understand it. Democracy was deliberately meant to be slow and not instant. Dictators can be swift and take instant decisions. During wars an army general or a leader is better as a dictator than a democratic leader. Take Cincinnatus or even Winston Churchill, when the battle was over Cincinnatus went back to his farm and Churchill was voted out. Look at some of the other foul-mouthed utterances of these so-called Aam Aadmis once they got into power:

I have little doubt that this AAP gang is nothing but foot-soldiers for the Congress which is well-aware of its possible death in the general elections. The history of Commie Congress and their other Commie friends is one of destroying democratic processes; not nurturing them.

So for RahulG or Yogendra Yadav to claim they believe in any form of democracy is the biggest farce being peddled in this country. Their friendship is inevitable as RahulG expressed his admiration for them and has poll-campaign friendly meets with them. None of their actions have proven their claims. The same AK who called MPs “murderers and rapists” now protects a thug as Law Minister. Somnath Bharti has been indicted for tampering with evidence and also has FIRs for his illegal behaviour with the Africans. What exactly is different between a Khap Panchayat and the AAP Panchayat? AK and AAP continue to defend this Bharti despite undeniable evidence of wrong-doings. They want instant laws, instant doles, and instant street justice. Democracy doesn’t work that way. Sometime back the US had a shutdown over debts and their Congress and Senate were at loggerheads. A brilliant article explains why this conflict is the best part of democracy and that democracy wasn’t meant to be as “efficient” as people imagine it should be. It was deliberately meant to be a bit slow but considerate. Let’s read a bit of this:

The founders did not want an efficient government. They feared tyranny and created a regime that made governance difficult. Power was diffused among local, state and federal governments, each with their own rights and privileges. Even the legislative branch was divided into two houses. It was a government created to do little, and what little it could do was meant to be done slowly. The founders' fear was simple: Humans are by nature self-serving and prone to corruption. Thus the first purpose of the regime was to pit those who wished to govern against one other in order to thwart their designs. Except for times of emergency or of overwhelming consensus, the founders liked what we today call gridlock.
At the same time, the founders believed in government. The U.S. Constitution is a framework for inefficiency, but its preamble denotes an extraordinary agenda: unity, justice, domestic tranquility, defense, general welfare and liberty. So while they feared government, they saw government as a means to staggeringly ambitious ends -- even if those ends were never fully defined.

… The founders needed to bridge the gaps between the need to govern, the fear of tyranny and the uncertainty of the future. Their solution was not in law but in personal virtue… Their Senate was both a Roman name and venue for the Roman vision of the statesman, particularly Cincinnatus, who left his farm to serve (not rule) and then returned to it when his service was over… They also wanted virtuous rulers… It is the virtue that most reasonable men would see as praiseworthy: courage, prudence, kindness to the weak, honoring friendship, resolution with enemies. These were not virtues that were greatly respected by intellectuals, since they knew that life was more complicated than this. But the founders knew that the virtues of common sense ought not be analyzed until they lose their vigor and die. They did not want philosopher-kings; they wanted citizens of simple, clear virtues, who served reluctantly and left gladly, pursued their passions but were blocked by the system from imposing their idiosyncratic vision, pursued the ends of the preamble, and were contained in their occasional bitterness by the checks and balances that would frustrate the personal and ideological ambitions of others”.

People like Arvind Kejriwal and his gang (as also the Congress party and the Commies) do not like these checks and balances. Their bitterness spills on to the streets. They will do anything and everything to have their way even if it means disrupting your lives and destabilising our democracy. It’s another R-Day celebration and a celebration of our Constitution. However weak in some areas our Constitution maybe, we do not want fake Aam Aadmis pretending to be revolutionaries. At the very first opportunity, after being elected, they abused their positions and the Constitution. The only place for elected representatives to seek change is through the Assembly or Parliament. Even before AK and AAP have started doing any good they have already started destroying some of the best things about India. These guys neither understand democracy nor do they respect it. More importantly, these fake Aam Aadmis neither understand governance nor have the skills to deliver. 

PS: Please vote on India's worst journalists poll (Right margin of this page).


Friday, January 24, 2014

The Shoe Finally Pinches TOI

“The conventional approach is, therefore, imperfect since it does not capture the information that is of most relevance to teenagers and younger audiences. Advertisers or PR agencies have come to acquire a near monopoly of the information supply in these areas. Newspapers often have to rely on these sources of information for their copy. It is not unusual for newspapers to use leads from PR agencies to make their own copy. Professional news gatherers have long since ceased to treat PR agencies as anathema; indeed, many see them as an invaluable 'source'.”

The para above wasn’t written by me. It’s a quote from TOI’s article introducing Medianet in 2003. What exactly is Medianet? It replaces the PR firms planting articles in the media. TOI decided to do it themselves. So when you open your Sunday edition and look at the glossy supplements with a grand story on best wines (with pics of some top brands prominently featured) or the luxury-leather business you should know who’s been working really hard. Then there’s Private Treaties, another of TOI’s innovations. You should have known better; nothing is free at TOI. Want publicity for your movie? You pay TOI! Want a new launch reported? You pay TOI! Having a convention or a seminar and invite the press to cover? You pay TOI. Nothing is free! Being the leader, TOI’s frivolous practices have been quickly emulated by almost the entire media. And all this crap under the privilege of “journalism”.

Any genuine marketer will tell you advertising doesn’t sell. Publicity does! Sometimes even bad publicity sells (That’s why Bollywood often engineers controversies just before release of some movies). That’s why Arvind Kejriwal does a “nautanki” on the streets. Samir Jain learned from Richard Branson. You see, Branson didn’t have money to advertise or impress the press, so he undertook his own crazy stunts which the media had to report, for free. Samir Jain saw that as opportunity to make more money and that nothing should be reported free (read TOI Story). His brother Vineet Jain, who jointly runs the business, told New Yorker’s Ken Auletta: “We are not in the newspaper business, we are in the advertising business”. So what explains the following which appeared as a “Note to readers” by TOI on January 23, 2014 (edited excerpt)?

It is being said that this paper, after initially supporting AAP, has now 'turned' against it. We were prepared for this. We have been called pro-Congress, anti-Congress, pro-BJP, anti-BJP. We have been accused by some of being cheerleaders for Narendra Modi, and by others of running a campaign against him. And depending on who you listen to, we are either too soft or too hard on Rahul Gandhi. Truth is, we have no political masters, nor do we have any hidden agendas. The only side we take is that of our readers… We want to make India a better place for our children; we want them to grow up with hope, not despair. Our job is to inform, educate, entertain, guide, and above all, help every reader realise his or her full potential… We believe taxpayers have a right to expect that their money is spent honestly, prudently and wisely—instead of disappearing down the ratholes of sloth, corruption and political handouts. We believe natural resources need to be allocated fairly and transparently. We believe that business, when honestly conducted, is good for the nation. We believe in the creation of opportunity for the greatest number. We will support Modi, Rahul, Kejriwal and every other politician every time they do the right thing. But no one should expect a blank cheque from us. Our sole allegiance is to our reader, not to any politician or party.

Really? TOI cares about its readers? Then it gets even better! TOI wants to make India a better place for children? I apologise if you fell off your chair. It’s not your fault. Did TOI suddenly have an attack of conscience? We don’t know, we can only make a fair estimate. But what I can tell you with a certain amount of confidence is that money has to be behind the note. Nothing else drives TOI.

It is true that as India’s biggest advertising house TOI generates enough money and can withstand being bulldozed by politicians or political parties. But it is also true that some of their biggest advertisers do have political leanings. I cannot list all the crimes of TOI over the years but let me give one good example of how the reader is treated as a fool by this ad agency. A reader buys a paper and trusts the front page for the most important news of the day. Advertisers like the quarter page ad on the front page (usually at the bottom right) because the ad attains “news status” and is impossible to miss.

TOI thought what the hell; let’s make the ad the front page itself. This started sometime back and once in March 2010 it started with a full front page and went on through the inside pages as well for a new car brand. TOI doesn’t care about the irritation it causes the readers. Mind you, I am in no way suggesting ads shouldn’t be carried in an innovative manner but then don’t also brag about caring for readers if one is going to spam them on the front page. The practice of front page ads got better and better. The one on the left is a latest one from this month. There is something interesting about this. TOI realised that since their front page had become a “hoarding”, readers were smart enough to just pull out the whole page and dump it and not even bother looking at it. Now TOI feels a lot smarter, you know. So what they do now is use adhesive and paste that “hoarding” on top of the real “news front page” so you will have to tear it off before you get to the news page. Care for readers? Who are these scumbags fooling?

Now, where political nonsense of TOI is concerned the entire group, like many others, has been hounding the BJP and Narendra Modi in particular. I doubt anybody missed that. The most glaring example of this grand adventure would be that of the fake “Rambo” report after the Uttarakhand floods in June 2013. Anyone remember that? That bogus story was in the media for several days and played over and over again on TV. Now that page has disappeared but the clarification issued by TOI remains:

And that clarification was dumped in some inside page. LIE BIG, retract small. That’s the technique used. Based on this bogus report other group sidekicks of TOI also start writing blogs on their site with the hilarious lies. Here is one Prashant Panday who is trigger-happy to heap nonsense without much fact-checking:

Where did that Rambo come from? Salma reports it and Sabrina quotes it? Then this same Panday writes BJP claimed 11 lakhs attended Modi’s Patna rally under “bogus crowds”. I’m not sure this number has been claimed anywhere. Then Panday wrote crap about Arun Jaitley and then withdrew the article with a clarification stating his mumbo-jumbo was based on some other news reports. In short, peddling of sheer nonsense! Does TOI have an editor at all? And if that isn’t enough here is another one by TOI where it carries a silly article “Narendra Modi’s solar eclipse” laughably in two different pages by two different writers:

There is much more that can be dug out but that will only exhaust you. And they synchronise the whole campaign with their TV channel. Can TOI explain how it was honest to its readers and viewers when it carried a 19-part witch-hunt of Nitin Gadkari on TimesNow? Or have they already forgotten that? And now they claim they are politically non-aligned. And what are the great practices at TOI? Let’s get some more.

The PCI’s “Paid News” report was buried by the council till it was brought out by pressure and compulsion. Featuring prominently in that report was TOI, as the leader in bringing unethical practices to the news media. Both Private Treaties and Medianet received adverse mentions in that report. You can read the full report here. All their Medianet and Private Treaties related articles and supplements had scant respect for the readers and I would have to say “dishonest” to readers. So all this whining with our “allegiance is to our reader” can’t be taken even with a truck-load of salt. And where the voice of a reader or observer is adverse to TOI then they use their muscle-power to legally drown those voices. This action by TOI against a blogger called Aparajita Lath is worth a read. A young law student, all that Aparijita had done was write an article based on facts and information already in the public domain and nothing more. TOI bullies her but doesn’t take action against any of those powerful people she had quoted in her article.

Did TOI support AAP? Absolutely yes! But it is certainly not the only one. I have time and again pointed out that for over a year when the AAP was neither in govt nor opposition anywhere, their members were allowed a free ride to play the “monkey” and hurl abuses and mindless nonsense against Congress, BJP and against every politician of their choice without any responsibility. Slowly, it became clear that the primary target of AAP was BJP and not the Congress. Are we to believe that all the so called pundits and experts at TOI and Times Now are such idiots that they weren’t seeing all this? Rajdeep Sardesai wonders why this note by TOI. He may have to issue such a note himself one day because CNN-IBN group too has been promoting AAP for a long time. Ashutosh of IBN7 is proof of someone pretending to be a journalist while being a political activist.

TOI doesn’t give a damn about anything but money. So I would ask them to spare the moral sermon. This note to readers can come only for a few reasons. Circulation is falling and readers are seeing through their biased “advertisements” for some political party. A big advertiser must have threatened to pull all advertising if they “did not behave”. And last, but not the least, it is election season and some powerful political party may have threatened to pull out campaign ads if they “did not behave”. These are my estimates and can vary. But one thing is for sure as Vineet Jain said TOI is not in the news business but in the advertising business. Somewhere, the shoe of ads must be shrinking and it is probably starting to pinch.

PS: Please vote on the India’s worst journalists poll -2014 (Right margin of this page).