How media allows incompetent ‘senior’ journalists to spread misinformation and lies

Veteran journalist Vrinda Gopinath, who has been associated with Left-leaning publications like Scroll and The Wire, in her recent piece on India Today’s DailyO, wrote how lines between “bombast” Modi and dynast Rahul Gandhi have blurred. In the article, she claims that Gandhi has been seen as worthy opponent to Modi and hence the “BJP’s reputation shredding machine” has worked relentlessly to “tatter the former’s credibility and capability as an entitled, privileged, but talentless and failed prince”. She then goes out to point how everything about Modi is wrong:

In her rush to showcase Prime Minister Modi as a toddler excited about his birthday, Gopinath forgot that Twitter shows bouncing balloons on profiles of everyone who has entered their date of birth in the profile. When her absurdity was pointed to her, she immediately lost her cool and started typing with caps-lock on!

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One really struggles to comprehend why she brought in the VCs of JNU, BHU for her ignorance about how the ‘balloons bouncing’ for birthdays works on Twitter. In same paragraph, she had claimed that the schools were instructed to be open on Modi’s birthday which fell on a Sunday but the same was ‘hastily withdrawn after protests. In reality, the Uttar Pradesh Government had clarified that no such memo has been issued. Where does the withdrawal of notification come if no such notification was issued in the first place?

She then goes on to talk about how Bullet Train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is a waste of money.

This is completely untrue. The project is fully funded by the Japanese through a soft loan at an interest rate of 0.1% per annum. The repayment of the loan begins after 15 years which will be paid over 35 years. The low interest rate coupled with extended repayment period have addressed potential economic downsides in the project.

Then she talks about how Narendra Modi, as Gujarat Chief Minister, had “single-handedly” blocked GST:

Half knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially in hands of those who are prone to spread misinformation. It is a fact that many states had opposed the GST bill during the UPA rule. But were only BJP states opposing GST? Lies.

Even as late as December 2013, just 4 months before end of UPA’s 10 year rule, it was reported that the Congress-led ruling UDF government in Kerala has lent support to the Gujarat government’s apprehensions on GST. The Finance Minister of Kerala raised questions on numerous concepts under GST on which there was no consensus nor clarity.

Again in July 2013 it was reported that 3 non-BJP states had opposed a provision in the GST Bill. Which were these 3 states? Non-BJP ruled Tamil Nadu. Non-BJP ruled Orissa. And Congress ruled Maharashtra! So, while it is true that BJP led states were opposing GST fearing loss of revenue, even Congress ruled states were opposing. Why leave out that part of the information?

Then she writes this:

She states that the radio show of Prime Minister Modi “Mann Ki Baat” is a fortnightly broadcast, while in reality it is a monthly broadcast.

Expecting a “senior journalist” to be well-versed in facts in her opinion piece is not too much to ask for.

However, the issue here is how these media outlets provide their platform to such highly incompetent people to spread lies. Whatever happened to editing and fact-checking?

This is especially funny and tragic given the fact that most mainstream media outlets these days are trying to run down ordinary social media users as “fake news peddlers” if they share some misleading or wrong information, while they themselves have been doing it for ages.

To escape being blamed and shamed for their own fake news, most of these outlets have chosen to promote some cheerleaders as “fact checkers”, who ignore misinformation and propaganda pushed by such “senior journalists” and instead attack ordinary social media users and politicians of a particular party.


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