Controversial journalist Barkha Dutt, who recently quit 24-hours English news channel NDTV under unclear circumstances, today posted a message on micro-blogging site Twitter comparing the US and Indian media, and hinting that the media in India worked under political pressure:
Trump Vs Media a lot like India BUT their Media way more outspoken & free & their politicians (unlike here) unable to shut down information
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) January 22, 2017
False equivalences are the hallmark of any “liberal” commentator and through this tweet, Barkha Dutt came up with another one.
First of all, there is no “Trump vs Media” like situation in India. If there were any, we would not have seen ruling BJP leaders running to the NDTV studios every now and then to give exclusive interviews to Barkha herself. Funnily, today itself another NDTV journalist claimed that a BJP minister “confided” to her some political thoughts. Will anyone from Trump’s team confide anything to a NYT or CNN journalist? What comparison Barkha was then drawing?
The only Indian politician who openly attacks media like Trump does, is Arvind Kejriwal, who called Shekhar Gupta – who has mysterious professional relationship with Barkha Dutt – a dalaal (pimp) and who has attacked other journalists like Arnab Goswami on other occasions, but Kejriwal remains a favourite of most of the Indian media. So the comparison by Barkha appeared odd.
The second part of the tweet about politicians being able to shut down information was even more odd. Then shouldn’t she disclose this attack on transparency and information by the political class? Which politician shut down what information and which event(s) she was referring to?
With such questions on their minds, many Twitter users took to direct responses and sarcastic comments to point to Barkha where she was erring.
Some wondered why she did not speak out if there was any political pressure on NDTV?
@BDUTT Surprising unexpected comment-Are you hence implying NDTV faces political pressure & is biased?Or is the comment for all media minus NDTV?
— Monica Jasuja (@jasuja) January 22, 2017
But pressure? Really? When one is free to report like this?
In India media can go against army and support terrorists by calling him son of poor headmaster or young leader. https://t.co/A7zKX8aBrp
— Amit (@kashyapamit27) January 22, 2017
Demeaned Nation & PM Modi at the highest by peddling lies, glorified Terrorists, anti-nationals.Still enjoy life at the fullest. No Freedom? https://t.co/Kgg7ts8MlL
— Lilly Mary Pinto (@LillyMaryPinto) January 22, 2017
As correctly pointed out in this tweet, it is not “Politicians vs Media” in India, but “People vs Media” and it had started with one blogger getting legal notice from Barkha Dutt:
. @BDUTT Here it is the reverse, media shuts down voices and important events. Chyetanya Kunte’s blog was hounded and shut down
— The Masakadzas (@Nesenag) January 22, 2017
Comparing US and Indian media? Lol, if an American journo had faked interview with Secretary of Defense, nobody would have promoted his book
— Sandeep Kadian (@GappistanRadio) January 22, 2017
Well, if we are comparing US and Indian media, how about this comparison?
If an American journo had been caught in a Radiagate like scandal, would he/she still have a career?
RT for no, Fav for yes pic.twitter.com/M1ULGz1lBd
— IndiaSpeaks (@IndiaSpeaksPR) January 22, 2017
Some pointed out the inherent irony in Barkha’s tweet:
— kunal kohli (@kunalkohli) January 22, 2017
Maybe Indian media is indeed not free, they are…
Fair point. The media in US is free while most of ours is paid. pic.twitter.com/ja3QazgvD5
— The-Lying-Lama (@KyaUkhaadLega) January 22, 2017
Or this is the freedom that media wants?
Senior Journalist @BDUTT says, “It is more easy to sell fake news in America, Media is free there, We want same freedom in India too”.
— Limes Of India (@LimesOfIndia) January 22, 2017
Pro tip: Barkha Dutt can reject all of the above as “trolling” and continue with her false equivalences. No one can ever take that freedom away.