Indian Media Watch…. Crooks and Liars in the Indian media are the greatest danger to our democracy. Bias, outright lies, paid news, plagiarism and political leanings characterize much of our media.
October 30, 2012
This is a picture of woman being beaten up by a mob as you can plainly see. Her clothes have been torn by the mob as you can plainly see. Her name is Uma Khurana. She was a school teacher tillLiveIndia accused her of running a sex-racket with school girls in a fake sting in August 2007. LiveIndia’s editor at that time was none other than Sudhir Chaudhary.
The same guy has recently acquired more fame in the Jindal-Zee extortion sting. The fake sting not only damaged Uma Khurana personally, professionally and socially but also physically. She filed a case against LiveIndia but they may have settled it out of court later. TV channels don’t seem to learn.
Still, a certain form of witch hunting continues on TV.
This is now practiced in a much specialised form by Arnab Goswami (AG) on TimesNow. Kicking and screaming, interrupting speakers, badgering, often talking nonsense is an art that has been taken to a different level by the extremely obnoxious AG. This is not so when he does a one on one interview in his ‘Frankly Speaking’ where he appears to be far saner and civilised. So it’s safe to assume that what happens on his NewsHour is a deliberate “show”. If Arnab thinks it’s a great hit, he has to count as the biggest moron in news business.
Don’t know if AG is imitating Keith Olbermann of MSNBC or Sean Hannity of Fox. Throughout the last week or so AG has been carrying a series on Nitin Gadkari(NG) and his supposed fake investors. Fair enough! It’s the way that the whole expose is being organised each day as Part 1, Part 2… Part 14, Part 16, Part 19 (as of October 29), that makes one wonder if there is more to it than just exposing NG. One did not see such enthusiasm in exposing Robert Vadra,Salman Khurshid. The enthusiasm has to be journalistic and within levels of decency. Where the political aspect is concerned, nobody has any doubt that NG has blundered. That the funding of NG’s companies through allegedly fake investors is highly improper is not being debated. Whether these are illegal or not is for an inquiry to decide.
For starters AG had Anjali Damania with her silly SMSes as allegations.Then came another drama by Arvind Kejriwal & Co. that the media called a “damp squib”. But Arnab’s witch-hunt had actually started much before these events. He and TimesNow had started their inquiries into NG’s businesses early in August 2012. So till such time Arnab got some documents he played up the non-issues and when their allegations turned out damp-squibs he turned on to NG’s companies. What he did is a must and should be done. But the way it is being done smacks of a witch-hunt that seems to have a larger political objective.
The TimesNow reporters have been hounding NG like street dogs and have been chasing him all over the place. From RSS headquarters in Nagpur to the airport and chasing him like paparazzi. Those beat reporters should be as ashamed of themselves as AG should be. Take a look at the pics from TimesNow and also ABPNews. The reporters crowding all around NG and even making movement difficult. This is not just for NG; these street dogs that pass themselves off as reporters seem to think it is their birth-right to crowd individuals and shove their mics and cameras into people’s faces and bodies. PCI and NBA should outlaw this and issue an advisory to keep a clear distance of at least 6ft. from any individual the media wishes question. If not, these cowardly dogs should be sent to the municipal pound and made to spend a day with the dogs there to see how it feels.
And why are these TimesNow street dogs cowardly? Take a look at the second pic. This is one from a video that TNow repeatedly showed where Robert Vadra is getting into his car. Not one of the media dogs is anywhere near him. He is protected by those SPG guards and no one dared get anywhere near him to ask any question. So will these street dogs learn to respect individuals only when there are SPG or police around? Or when they belong to the Queen’s family? Same goes for the dogs from other channels. It is neither ethics nor professionalism that is being demanded. It is simple common decency that you don’t push and shove anyone, no matter what the issue is. And then AG demands answers for the nation. Thank you Arnab, obnoxious morons like you don’t need to speak for this nation!
That is one part of the story. Here is a tweet from the Monk. He suggests it is tough to cover Congress for a reporter but BJP loves media. Anyone who certified this guy a journalist should be stripped of his license to be a journalism-school principal. If Rajdeep doesn’t know that Opposition parties make their voices heard more through the media than govt voices then he should quit and tend his dog. In fact the news media itself is supposed to play an adversarial role to the govt of the day. On the contrary, our media seem to be slaves and parrots for the govt. Here’s the worse part: Because the BJP is more accessible for the media it seems Arnab and Rajdeep find cheap thrills in frequently targeting them rather than the real criminals in the govt. What does it say when post-release of the Jindal-Zee tapes Naveen Jindal goes on every news channel proclaiming his “innocence”? Where’s further investigation in Coalgate and of Naveen Jindal’s operations? And Jindal, the alleged coal-scammer, goes around certifying Rajdeep and Arnab as journalists with great ethics. The height of insults that Arnab can ever get is a comment, of all people, by a journalistic-bimbo who posted this comment about him on Madhu Kishwar’s website:
Sagarika Ghose, CNN IBN: Great piece on Arnab. He’s dangerous for TV news. Not all of us are like that though!
Imagine, the Social Genius of all people calling Arnab as “dangerous for TV”. Haha! That comment was in response to a scathing open letter Madhu Kishwar wrote to Arnab sometime back. (Read here). I also recommend that he read all the comments in response to that letter to realise how he has fallen in the eyes of viewers. So what makes AG behave in this fashion? Not sure, but I imagine years of playing third fiddle to Rajdeep and Barkha Dutt at NDTV could be one reason. The other reason could be to gain TRPs over NDTV and CNN-IBN. If that is true, then Arnab has to be pretty stupid. Any channel with decency and a fair bit of news can score over both NDTV and CNN-IBN quite easily. The simple advantage Arnab has over some other media celebs is nobody doubts his integrity. Not yet! But if he continues his theatrics and obnoxious witch-hunts people will indeed start doubting his integrity too.
Even within the BJP there is a strong opinion that Nitin Gadkari should resign. If not, he should definitely not be given another term as party president. This is apart from the man and the party welcoming a full inquiry. Arnab is within his rights to seek an inquiry. He has no moral right to witch-hunt anyone. All the channels were quick to discuss the Jindal-ZeeNews extortion episode. While that is a welcome change one wonders why they aren’t following up with an investigation on Naveen Jindal. If Zee is alleged to have sought payments for “silence” it does make me wonder if other channels have already been paid in some form or the other for “silence”. Everyone observing news channels was pretty clear that after the Robert Vadra and Salman Khurshid episodes the channels would go after a BJP personality for ‘balance’ and that would extend right till the HP and Gujarat elections. It does appear that Arnab has chosen it upon himself to be that obnoxious witch-hunter. There’s more bad news, Sunday Guardian even suggests it’s an attempt to “Hammer Gadkari to save Vadra and other scamsters” and I quote:
“Apparently, a strong word was conveyed that they should leave Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law well alone. Ministers, including I&B boss Ambika Soni, are said to have reached out to the media houses, gently suggesting that further interest in the doings of Robert Vadra and his multifarious business activities would be most unwelcome”.
None of this is lost on viewers and observers. There are some who believe Arnab’s belligerent witch-hunt of Gadkari is over a petty issue of not having got an interview like his close competitors did. Some believe what Sunday Guardian suggests. Whatever the motivation, Arnab would do well to control his belligerence on TV. He would do himself a lot of good if he treated his panellists and his targets with a certain level of decency and respect and not with obnoxious witch-hunts. There’s a 100 crore defamation suit against TimesNow; wonder what happened to that.
ALSO – – – – – –
Open letter to Arnab Goswami by Madhu Kishwar
AND – – – – –
Nothing ever like it on Indian TV : Arnab Goswami’s veritable ‘Devil’s Dance’
SOME MORE ON THE ‘CAPERINGS’ OF THE ‘BENNETT COLEMAN & Co’ !!
And what about Times of India’s ‘fake’ followers on Twitter?
October 27, 2012
The Times of India has carried a report in its Ahmedabad edition on October 27, 2012, on the number and quality of followers that Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi has on Twitter.
The hostility of the Times of India towards Modi is not new. The SIT, constituted by the Supreme Court to look into the Gujarat 2002 violence, has indicted Manoj Mitta working for this newspaper for being in active connivance with the cottage industry out to besmirch Modi through crooked ways. Manoj Mitta, while working for the Times of India as a journalist, was also helping Sanjiv Bhatt draft his many false affidavits that he submitted in the Supreme Court. Just recently, when the Modi Government announced a ban on tobacco products in Gujarat, the Times of India ran multiple page articles with detailed pictorial instructions as to how to circumvent the ban. Between the health hazards of tobacco products and supporting Modi for just one cause, they chose tobacco!
Yet, the story that the Times of India has published on Modi’s Twitter followers is particularly vicious. The story is ostensibly about the quality of Twitter followers that Modi has and yet the story is not just that. Innuendos are thrown into the story that fake followers are bought by celebrities and politicians through some marketing agencies and that Modi might have done the same. No other celebrity and his or her followers have been analysed in the story to even give a semblance of perspective and balance. It is all about Modi so that the innuendos stick on to him alone. A nondescript website ( Status People ) is used as the only source to base the story on. Whether the website has any credibility, is it peer reviewed as a genuine website or some crack job – nothing is mentioned. As long as anything that comes handy to discredit Modi, it’s fine with the Times of India!
Below is an analysis of 10 accounts using the same website (thus fairness) for some celebrity and non-celebrity handles:
From the above chart, a few things are clearly discernible :
- Every account that is a celebrity has the same ratio of fakes, inactive and active accounts. Everyone. Be they politicians ( like Shashi Tharoor) or movie stars (like Shah Rukh Khan). The Twitter handle of the office of PM of India (S.No. 04) has the least percentage of “Good” followers as per this website. Even Barack Obama, President of USA, has about 70% non-good followers.
- Non celebrity accounts ( like mine and I have included one more – @MrsGandhi – just to confirm ) are the ones with negligible fake followers, but even they have some some!
- Times of India’s own Twitter account (S.No. 08) has as much fake followers as other celebrities. In fact in this aspect, Hindustan Times (S.No. 09) , the closest competitor of TOI, fares better with lesser fake followers. Should we junk TOI and go for HT then?
There are two other aspects to this story in addition to the vicious nature of the TOI attack.
First, the CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, has debunked the idea of fake followers on Twitter. In aninterview published on October 12 2012, Costolo said that the biggest misconception people have about Twitter is that participating on Twitter means one must tweet. On the contrary, 40 per cent of the people on Twitter don’t tweet at all. They are there just to follow others, get access to their favorite celebrities, or keep on top of the news. But they do not tweet. The classifying of fake followers by websites like Status People, merely on the presumption that they follow many people but don’t tweet, is therefore clearly suspect. What is even more incredulous is that a newspaper like the Times of India should base a report on such suspect website.
Second, when mainstream media resorts to such disingenuous practices, it becomes a participant in the political process and not a just a neutral reporter and observer of facts. It is then that it invites charges like the one facing media across platforms — is there really any difference between some media practices and the oldest profession in the world?