Newslaundry deliberately misquotes PM Modi’s speech into “anti-dalit” joke

This is one of the most ironic situations one can possibly have. Newslaundry claims to be “a media critique, news and current affairs portal” and as such was expected to be a place where “sabki dhulai” would take place, for their wrong or erroneous reporting. Instead, Newslaundry has now become the hub of such wrong, and biased reporting.

Take for example their coverage of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, held in New Delhi. They tried to cover it by giving importance to a small speech by Indian Express Chief Editor, Raj Kamal Jha (who happens to be Congress sycophant Sanjay Jha’s cousin). It is entirely their prerogative on which speech they focus, but in their article, which was designed to put down PM Modi, they slipped in a piece of utter lies, which later if given the correct spin by successful media houses, can be used to show PM Modi as anti-dalit. This is what Newslaundry reported:

“……and enjoyed some thunderous applause when he made a bizarre and offensive comment about crimes against Dalits. Listening to the laughter from sections of the audience to Modi smiling and saying, “How would the BMW driver know if the one he’s running over is a Dalit?” was distressing. It underscored the need for criticism of the political establishment that Modi himself had encouraged earlier in his speech. Of course, he followed that sentiment up with a directive that the media should behave responsibly and not “divide” the nation, but that’s a separate problem.”

It is one thing to be snide and hateful to a person you hate, and it is quite another thing, to be blatantly untruthful, hiding the tone, tenor and context of a statement, just to make a point. The full quote and context of PM Modi is captured in the following video:

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A transcript of this portion:

Media should criticise the Government as much as possible, I do not have any problem with this. Don’t report this wrongly. BUT, India is a country full of diversity and special identities. The unity of the country…., For you it is a story, and as soon as you publish it, you go after another story, but, sometimes it creates such deep wounds…..Earlier, whenever an accident would take place the news would be: ” in so-and-so village an accident took place in which a truck and a cycle rider, got injured, expired…”; Slowly, things changed, “in so-and-so village, in the day, due to rash driving, drunk driver, crushed an innocent person, “crushed“.” Slowly, reporting changed and became: “BMW car, crushes one Dalit“. Sir forgive me, but the person in the BMW car didn’t know that the victim was a Dalit. But we set fire to such matters. An accident should be reported, if worth making a headline, it should be made as an headline….

The intention of the entire statement of the PM was clear, he wanted the media to stop sensationalism, to stop bringing up caste, religion, creed and such divisive things, into news items where they had no relevance. We at OpIndia.com too have raised this issue umpteen number of times. Earlier this year, a Times of India journalist and Newslaundry co-founder were caught on social media fanning caste-hatred, by making an incident into an upper caste vs lower caste issue, when actually some of the perpetrators themselves were Dalits.

So it was the second stage of irony now, that when the PM was urging the media to stop sensationalism and stop bringing up “anti-dalit” narratives where none existed, Newslaundry chose to bring the “anti-dalit” angle. Clearly, the agenda driven “neutral” reporting of Newslaundry is exposed here.

P.S. They managed to put up a full transcript of the Indian Express’ Editor’s speech, but couldn’t put up the transcript of a small anecdote of the PM, which they had chosen to spin into an anti-dalit statement.

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