One has to take a pause and awe at the dichotomy of a situation when one encounters a video produced by the leftist propaganda website ‘The Wire’ where Dua talks about, wait for it, ‘fake news’. ‘The Wire’ itself been caught several times peddling the most outlandish lies with impunity. They have never retracted or apologised when called out. It would be fitting to look back at some of the lies that have been peddled by ‘The Wire’. This list is not comprehensive but only indicative of the editorial standards and ethics that the platform has regularly displayed.
‘The Sunday Guardian’ and ‘The Caravan’ that turned out to be a bullock-cart
The Wire is known for peddling anecdotes, which most of the times spawn from fairy dust and disgruntlement towards a certain group of people, as opinion pieces. They thought they would get away with it when they published an article laced with presumptions. In this particular article, a writer named Atul Dev currently associated with ‘The Caravan’, who previously worked for the English daily Sunday Guardian accused his former employers of ‘killing stories’ which are ‘even slightly critical of the Modi government’.
Atul accused the editor of Sunday Guardian, Joyeeta Basu and M.D.Nalapat of censorship and cosying up to the incumbent government in power. Basu quickly refuted all these claims and explained that she was just doing her job and that article is of mala fide intent in a series of tweets. Basu even threatened the propaganda website with legal consequences if such falsehoods are spread further.
Piramal Group and Piyush Goyal
The Wire is everything but sporadic. They have been consistent in their peddling of propaganda, half-truths, and fake news. Maintaining their track record, this website published a report on alleged financial misconduct on the part Piyush Goyal. The article accused Goyal of selling his investments in a private firm to the Piramal Group. The article also stated that Goyal allegedly kept the PMO in the dark and did not declare this transaction to the PMO.
This was quickly refuted by The Primal group and they called the allegations made, ‘baseless’ and ‘devoid of merit’. They also warned of defamatory action against the website. OpIndia had busted this report earlier and substantiated the different irregularities in the report itself. Even Rahul Gandhi rode The Wire’s fake news clown car all the way to a self-goal.
When it comes to Goyal, they have time and time again attacked him baselessly. In another article penned by one Rohini Singh, she alleges involvement on Goyal’s part in the defaulting of a company named ‘Shridi Industries Limited’. The story had several gaping holes and was soon fact-checked by us. The loans that Singh mentions were taken before Goyal took charge. The entire article reeked of poor research and willingness to omit facts which are inconvenient to the writer’s narrative.
Sherwani and a truckload of false attribution
Arfa Khanum Sherwani is famous for her hitjob on Sri Ravishankar posted a tweet, where she claimed that BJP MP and Minister Babul Supriyo had threatened to ‘Skin Muslims alive’. As usual, she did not feel the need to substantiate such outrageous claims.
The reality, however, was very different. The MP out of anger shouted the same phrase to a large crowd of miscreants, who Babul believes are TMC cadres planted there to create a ruckus. Upon being called out by Twitterati, Sherwani offered a partial retraction.
Zee sends a legal notice to the Wire
Continuing with the lies and propaganda spree of The Wire, one cannot but mention the CobraPost sting fiasco. Named innocuously ‘Operation 136’, the sting claimed that media outlets were willing to promote Pro-Hindutva content in lieu of monetary favours.
Zee Media Corporation Limited later sent legal notices to the CobraPost, The Wire, and The Quint. The notice to the Wire read:
“The deliberate manner in which you the Noticees have carried out the story in question by publishing the impugned articles makes it abundantly clear that you the Noticees have failed to act as per the principles of journalistic ethics and have only exhibited your biased and prejudiced mindset against our client for ulterior motives”.
The Golden Touch of Rohini Singh
Probably the most famous piece of fake news peddled by the leftist propaganda website is the hit piece written by Singh. The article alleged financial irregularities in a company of BJP president Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah. This obnoxious and shallow attempt at investigative journalism was decimated by OpIndia.
Later on 12th October 2017, Jay Shah slapped The Wire with a defamation case worth 100 crores. Even in the verdict delivered by the Gujrat High Court, the deceit by The Wire has been exposed.
Swati Chaturvedi: The serial offender
Swati Chaturvedi has time and again used apprehensions as evidence to go on the offensive against the people she feels less assured about. This Wire “journalist” has been known for peddling fake stories. She posted an offensive tweet against the now BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga on the eve of his appointment.
Bagga’s lawyer filed a case against her in the Delhi Patiala House Court and later, the Court summoned the abusive Chaturvedi. The tweet by Bagga’s lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastav stated that the summon is pertaining to the offences punishable under sections 499,500,501 of the Indian penal code.
Dua and his lies
The Wire has also been propagating fake news through their audio-visual broadcasts. Vinod Dua is another one, who has been constantly peddling lies about the incumbent government. In his video series – ‘Jan Gan Man ki Baat’, facts are omitted and half-truths are super-imposed to mislead the viewers about the situation of the county. He constantly lies about the situation in Kashmir, he even shrugs aside facts which are a matter of public record to establish The Wire’s narrative.
Some of his lies include manipulating the number of deaths in the Kashmir valley to portray a biased picture of the Kashmir problem. Omitting key diplomatic achievements by the Indian foreign service in order to manufacture the theory of diminished stature of India in the world, to name a few.
NSA and another botched up attempt by The Wire
The Wire after realizing the futility of their endeavour of maligning seasoned politicians tried their hands at maligning the family members of the people they despise. In another shallowly researched article, they claimed that NSA Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya Doval is at fault for serving as one of the directors in the India Foundation.
The charges made in the article essentially boils down to the apprehension that The foundation has directors who are also ministers in the Union cabinet which creates ‘conflict of interest’. If one goes by this theory then every media house is guilty of that charge and especially NDTV, as most of this media houses have shareholders who were Ministers at some point in their lives or have been bureaucrats. More so, the directors in the Foundation became directors long before BJP came into power. Telling of the Wire’s hitman mentality, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was never brought up by anyone, let alone this leftist propaganda website.
When a report by The Wire reportedly led to violence
A report had claimed that an article published in The Wire on 19th January 2018 led to violent protests in Assam, bordering Nagaland. As per the report, following the publishing of that article in The Wire, which quoted one Jagdamba Mall, as an RSS veteran, widespread violence broke out.
The report referred to Mall as an RSS leader and quoted him suggesting a ‘separate development authorities’ for 10 Naga-inhabited districts of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The report states that a one-time grant of Rs. 500 crore would be given. The report further claims that one of the groups interpreted ‘development authority’ as a step toward forward inclusion of the district with “Greater Nagalim” in the future. This led to widespread violent protests. However, it was later revealed that Mall is not an RSS leader and Chief Minister Sonowal had to come out and make a statement that the geographical integrity of Assam won’t be compromised.
CBEC slams The Wire for factually and legally incorrect news
By now, I think it has been successfully established that The Wire and its “news” are nothing more than mere tools for propaganda. The Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC), responsible for administering Indirect Taxes in India, operates under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
The CBEC had also slammed The Wire for a “factually and legally incorrect” news item when they published an article that claimed The report stated that, on August 21, 2017, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) adjudicating authority, K.V.S. Singh, had dropped all proceedings against the Adani group. The CBEC took to Twitter to put out a letter slamming The Wire and said this news had no basis.
In conclusion, there is a saying that comes to mind when one thinks about The Wire and their precarious ways of journalism. ‘Sometimes the job of a journalist is to squeeze water out of a rock’, but in the case of The Wire even if the rock is not there, these folks, if given their way, will create a waterfall.