On Saturday night, hashtag #YoRajdeepSoNeutral was number one trend in India on Twitter. The hashtag was Twitterati’s response to a tweet by journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, where he claimed that he was called “neutral” by someone after he praised the Modi government.
Strange. When you praise the Modi govt, you are branded ‘neutral’; when you criticise, you are biased!
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) May 23, 2015
The tweet amused a lot of people as Rajdeep Sardesai is known to be an anti-Modi voice on social media. He is seen close to Aam Aadmi Party as there are videos that show him admitting that it was him who advised Arvind Kejriwal to do a “Tehrir like drama” on the issue of Lokpal.
And his advice did work. The attempted Tehrir square like anti-corruption movement launched the political career of Arvind Kejriwal, who earlier this year swept Delhi assembly elections decimating Congress and BJP. Rajdeep Sardesai had taken a dig at Narendra Modi even then.
Not only this video, there are numerous other instances, such as Rajdeep going soft on Kejriwal when the AAP supremo attacked media while taking umbrage when Modi does the same. And his fist-fight with a Modi supporter outside Madison Square in the USA is a well known event.
So with such a background, can someone really call Rajdeep Sardesai a “neutral” journalist?
People on Twitter searched for tweets that had “neutral” keyword in it and had Rajdeep Sardesai tagged. They could not find any tweet where he was called “neutral” for praising Modi government, contrary to what was claimed by Rajdeep in his tweet.
And thus the hashtag started, which had following hilarious tweets:
#YoRajdeepSoNeutral that scientists are considering renaming neutron as rajdeeptron. ☺
— Namrata (@dixitnamrata) May 23, 2015
#YoRajdeepSoNeutral that in cricket matches, he cheers for umpires.
— Deepak (@poetrification) May 23, 2015
Epic 1!! #YoRajdeepSoNeutral That he only eat nutrela !!!
— Madhukar pandey (@21jags) May 23, 2015
— The Sparrow (@sailorsmoon) May 23, 2015
— Aashish (@c_aashish) May 23, 2015
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) May 23, 2015
— Aravinda Tughlakwal (@NagHvu) May 23, 2015
#YoRajdeepSoNeutral that he sit in the middle of See-saw when he was kid.
— Okie Tata Bye Bye (@OkieTataBye) May 23, 2015
#YoRajdeepSoNeutral that in Salman-Shahrukh clashes, he supports Fardeen Khan
— Psycho (@i_Psycho) May 23, 2015
In Punjab you will find names like Rajdeep Singh and Rajdeep Kaur. Even his name is gender neutral. #YoRajdeepSoNeutral
— Sagarcasm (@sagarcasm) May 23, 2015
#YoRajdeepSoNeutral he always sits on the floor in buses coz he can’t take sides.
— Thought Gun (@ShootinThoughts) May 23, 2015
#YoRajdeepSoNeutral , he supports congress when he is asked to choose between BJP & AAP.
— Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt) May 23, 2015
While Rajdeep Sardesai can either choose to laugh off this trend or blame “bhakts” for “targeting” him, perhaps it will do good to him if he introspects a little and publicly admits that he is not neutral.
And it is perfectly normal. In fact, a person can’t be 100% neutral.
Having a bias or preference is very human thing and heavens won’t fall if Rajdeep Sardesai admits that he has some, which are pretty apparent to everyone excluding himself.
What a reader expects from journalists is not neutrality, but “objectivity”. A reader expects that a journalist should stick to facts and not stoop to lying and fabricating information in order to cater to his or her biases or agenda. Till Rajdeep Sardesai is truthful and objective, there is no problem if he is “non-neutral”.
So chin up Mr. Sardesai, admit to your biases and earn the respect for being truthful and objective. And on that note, a song for tonight – jhooth bole kauwa kaate, kaale kauwe se dariyo!