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Home Fact-Check How Vinod Dua and The Wire spread half-truths and whole lies - Part 1

How Vinod Dua and The Wire spread half-truths and whole lies – Part 1

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The old school method of spreading lies amongst public is to write articles. But there is a drawback: since text can be searched via search engines, it’s easier to bust such fake news. As a result, over the past few months, we have seen how lies after lies are published in the leftist propaganda website The Wire has been exposed. So how does one avoid this? Publish videos instead.

Publishing videos is much better since the content in it can never be referenced or searched. Further, owing to wide penetration of 3G and 4G services, videos become viral much faster.  Now all you need is a sobre-looking, reliable face to rattle out half-truths and whole lies. And Vinod Dua fits this role perfectly. Through his video series titled “Jan Gan Man ki Baat“, Dua, peddles some of the finest unadulterated propaganda, which will be dissected one by one.

A disclaimer though: This is not an exhaustive list of lies. There may well be many factual inaccuracies which have been missed. This article only tackles the glaringly obvious and catastrophically major factual inaccuracies in his videos. Some of the lies have been repeated by Mr Dua in subsequent videos, and they are not counted separately.

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Most importantly, this is only Part -1 of an ongoing series fact-checking each of Vinod Dua’s videos:

1. Video number 3, From 1 min onwards: (Also Video number 29, from 8.10 mins onwards)

Dua claims that in a rally, Modi took credit for the work of Indian scientists involved in launching satellites. Dua then plays a video of Modi in a speech. The transcript of the video is as follows:

Modi: If an enemy’s missile comes towards us, then our scientists have designed such a missile, that it can intercept and destroy the enemy missile while it is 150 kms away in the air itself. But I know, they will ask for proof. You want to see the proof? Go up 150 kms in the air.

It is unclear how Modi is taking credit of the work of scientists here, since he himself says our scientists have developed these missiles. Or does Dua want the credit to go to Nehru-Gandhi family? Because around 4 mins into the video, Dua credits this achievement to Dr Vikram Sarabhai and *drum-rolls* Jawaharlal Nehru! So children, satellites launched and developed anytime in the future, are Nehru’s gifts to India, per Dua.

2. Video number 5, From 1.20 mins onwards:

Dua criticizes PM Modi for speaking about religious discrimination in UP while providing electricity, and for construction of shamshans and kabrasthan. While he reads couplet to further criticize these statements, he conveniently forgets to mention that both the statements about religious discrimination in UP were found to be true.

3. Video number 6, From 3.40 mins onwards: 

Dua states that it has been reported that covers which look like fingers, to be worn over human fingers, have been developed so that one person can change the cover and vote repeatedly. He credited this invention to “Indian genius”. Mr Dua should stop believing Whatsapp forwards since the finger caps were actually from Japan, invented for use by members of Japanese mafia, who had to cut their fingers off. Incidentally, in Video 10, he appeals to viewers to not trust anything they see on social media!

4. Video number 12, From 0.35 mins onwards:

Dua here repeats the claim that Modi does not believe in climate change. This claim is based on a short footage of Modi speaking to school kids. More recently, this out of context video was used by comedy group AIB, in a comedy video. Once social media users exposed how they had used edited footage, they deleted the video. In the complete video, Modi had stated how the bad habits of humans have resulted in us harming the environment. He then gave points of advice to the schoolkids that humans should love and not struggle with nature. So clearly from the video, not only PM Modi wasn’t refuting climate change, he actually was telling the school kids how the changing habits of humans have resulted in the degradation of the environment. While a comedy group has deleted the video, a ‘serious host’ like Dua retains it. Worse, he repeats the same claim in Video number 14, at 5.20 mins.

5. Video number 14, From 4.50 onwards:

Here, Dua claims that Minister Maneka Gandhi, has started a curfew system for girls aged 16-18 years, because she believes that once it is dark, there are hormonal outbursts in girls. Dua then claims that she had said this only about girls. The number of facts distorted in this innocuous line are too many. The statement which is being referred to, is from a show on NDTV, video can be seen here.

Firstly, her statement was in response to a question by a girl, who asked her views on the curfew system which exists in colleges, not a system being introduced by Maneka Gandhi, as Dua claimed. Secondly, Gandhi states that as a parent, she would expect her daughter or son, to be safe in college. She also says that during the age of 16-18 years, children may have hormonal outbursts, and curfew system, which exists all over the world, could be to protect the children from themselves. She reiterates that the same deadlines, should be put for the boys hostel as well as the girls, and the deadline time is debatable. She closes with the sentence: “Why should boys be allowed to wander about the campus after 6pm in the evening, let them also stay in and let them do their work.”

6. Video number 24, From the start:

Dua tries to target the UP Govt for taking action on illegal slaughterhouses. For this he concocts a cocktail of whataboutery and half-truths. He asks why other sectors are not being targeted. Secondly, he claims that the unorganized, unlicensed sector is “paak saaf” (as clean as milk). For his whataboutery, he claims, those selling vegetables, newspapers, milk, eggs, tailors, cobblers, cycle repairers and laundries do not have license, and just like them, slaughterhouses too, do not have licenses. Dua forgets that all the aforesaid jobs do not need a license whereas slaughterhouses need a license since they have to maintain hygiene. Does Dua seriously think people will equate a cobbler with a slaughterhouse? Next he glorifies the unorganized, unlicensed sector for providing jobs and helping the economy. He doesn’t of course mention that India’s tax base is abysmally low, also because of the “paak saaf” unorganized sector.

At around 3.19 mins, he says that he feels not only the unorganized slaughterhouses, but the entire unorganized sector is being targeted. Then, at 5.10 mins, a journalist at TheWire is made to speak, and she then says that it is rumoured that slaughterhouses are being targeted because they are owned mostly by a “specific community”. Which is it Mr Dua? Is the entire unorganized sector being targeted or is only a “specific community” being targeted. You can’t have it both ways!

7. Video number 26, From 4.15 mins onwards:

Based on the “analysis” from a reader, Dua claims that UP’s anti-romeo squads have a hidden ulterior motive, which is, to stop inter-caste marriages. He provides zero data, zero logic, zero anecdotal evidence even, to present this hypothesis, and instead proceeds to bash upper castes. This claim is asinine, insulting and laced with communal agenda which isn’t even worth debunking.

8. Video number 27, From 5.45 mins onwards:

Dua repeats the lie that BJP had blocked GST for 7 years, when they were in opposition. This is a lie because many non-BJP states and even Congress states had objected to UPA’s version of GST. Even as late as December 2013, just a fey 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. Again in July 2013 it was reported that 3 non-BJP states, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, and Congress’s own Maharashtra had opposed a provision in the GST Bill. Mr Dua needs to read up.

9. Video number 29, From 0.55 mins onwards:

Dua takes up the mantle of speaking against trolling, and claims that in cyber-space, members of a “specific party” only engage in trolling. It does not take much to guess which party is alluding to, but having said that, any literate social media user will know that trolling is something which has transgressed political and even national boundaries. If Dua wants to lay the blame of all the trolling on social media at the feet of one “specific party”, he should provide statistical proof, or admit that he is indulging in propaganda.

10. Video number 30, 0.10 mins onwards (Also in Video number 38, 6.25 onwards):

Dua recounts the BJP’s “jumlas” and mentions that in one of the jumlas, it was claimed that within 100 days, black money from abroad, would be brought back to India. This is an outdated lie Dua is repeating. Rajnath Singh is on video, clearly saying that an enquiry will be started into the Black Money case within 100 days of coming to power. At no point in time, any BJP politician had claimed to bring back black money in 100 days.

11. Video number 30, 2.10 onwards:  (Also in  Video number 53, 3.05 onwards):

Dua, along with ‘The Wire’ cofounder Sidharth Bhatia, claims that India has not taken any action on the people named in the Panama leaks. He even issues a challenge to the PM to act on these names. This video was published on 6th April 2017. April 2016 reports: Panama heat: Income Tax Department knocks on 3 Delhi doorsPM Modi steps in: Income Tax, RBI panel to probe Panama Papers trailI-T dept sends notices to Indians named in Panama Papers.

Income Tax department has been probing all the people named from April 2016 itself, on what basis did Dua claim that no action was being taken? A few months before Dua’s lies it was reported that even the ED had widened its probe based on Panama papers. A few days before Dua’s lies, it was reported that the Income-Tax Department had launched a probe into the suspected undisclosed foreign assets held by more than 1,900 persons of Indian origin, who either control or have financial interests in close to 3,000 companies incorporated in Panama. What are you smoking Mr Dua?

12. Video number 34. 0.20 mins onwards: (Also video number 49, 1.10 mins onwards)

Dua makes the oft-repeated claim about demonetization, that during the process all the “black” money turned “white”, as it returned to the banks. We had explained here that “black” money can “become” white, only if appropriate taxes have been paid on it. Much before Dua’s above video, the Income Tax Department had already launched Operation Clean Money, through which, in only the “first batch”, about 18 lakh persons had been identified in whose case, cash transactions did not appear to be in line with the tax payer’s profile. The investigations in many cases are over, and in some cases further action is being taken. If as Dua claims, all the money had become white, what is the Income Tax Department chasing?

13. Video number 34, 2.35 mins onwards: (Also in Video number 53, 3.30 onwards) :

Dua makes a sensational claim that it was hoped (by whom?), that about Rs 15 lakh crore black money would be recovered via demonetization. Like most of his claims, this has no source, has no backing and no data. However it is very easy to trash this claim because the total cash in circulation was Rs 15.44 lakh crores, and no sane minded person had hoped or expected that almost the entire money i.e. Rs 15 lakh crores would be identified as black money. So is this a deliberate attempt to fix the target so high, to make sure the actual achievement looks like a failure in the face of this imaginary target?

14. Video number 36, 10.50 mins onwards:

Dua says “There is an American fact-tank, like think-tanks, which is named Pew Research Centre. The research of Pew Research Centre, is very respected all over the world, it is considered to be trustworthy, and people use the research extensively”. The same Dua, had belittled Pew Research in video number 152, by questioning its sample size. Why the U Turn? In the 36th video Dua quoted Pew Research as showing that India is the 4th most intolerant nation, and in the 152nd video, Dua was discussing the Pew survey which showed PM Modi as the undisputed, most popular leader in India. Make up you mind Mr Dua.

15. Video number 53, 2.00 onwards:

Dua says, in his 3 year report card of Modi Sarkar, that inflation has fallen. But he attributes it to demonetization, and the fall in demand caused by the shortage of cash. We are not sure when Dua earned his economics degree, but here is a chart of India’s inflation rates from November 2015 till the date of the video.

Inflation can be seen hovering between 5-6% till July 2016. This can be called moderate inflation, as compared to the high inflation periods during UPA regime. From July 2016 to May 2017, there is a steady and continuous fall in the inflation rate, except for the period from roughly December 2016 to March 2017, when it rose marginally. This shows two things: Inflation had begun falling much before demonetization, and immediately after demonetization, inflation rates actually rose for a few months. Dua needs to create a better story.

While we are fully aware the litany of lies and misrepresentations won’t stop, we will try our best to to bust the lies continually being peddled by these videos.

Part 2 will follow soon.

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