As 2018 comes to an end, we bring you the yearly roundup of a subject close to our hearts at OpIndia: media lies. This year as well the mainstream media continued to peddle lies and fake narratives even as celebrity journalists showed how their IQ is lower than Delhi’s winter temperature. Topping the list is NDTV (no surprises!).
1. NDTV changed its headline after their dishonesty was caught on Twitter
On 20th November, NDTV had claimed that a BJP leader, Gyan Dev Ahuja was caught distributing money at a rally and was charged with violating the poll code. However, Ahuja had already quit being a BJP member after he was denied a ticket in the Rajasthan Assembly elections. Once the flaw was pointed out, NDTV changed the headline to describe Ahuja as ‘Ex-BJP lawmaker’. But then, almost as if NDTV was acting as Nostradamus, Ahuja ‘rejoined’ BJP three days later on 23rd November. He was also appointed state’s vice president for the BJP. You just can’t make such stuff up.
2. The truth about the origins of Children’s Day
We have grown up believing that Children’s Day is celebrated on 14th November on Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday as a tribute to him. The popular narrative being he loved children and hence a day to honour him. Except, the real story is far from what media wants us to believe. “Baal Divas” is inspired by “Flag Day”, Queen Elizabeth II’s (surprise, surprise!) birthday on 19th June. The day is observed to raise money for the Save The Child Fund. And that is how we have one more British legacy being celebrated in name of Nehru-Gandhi family.
3. Times Group had to delete a report and apologise to Subramanian Swamy for circulating a misleading quote on Rafale
In July this year, BJP leader and legal activist Subramanian Swamy threatened to initiate legal proceedings against Times Of India after the publication’s digital portal IndiaTimes misquoted his statement on Rafale. In reality, they had used Swamy’s 2015 quote in a 2018 story, without verifying, which left Swamy furious. IndiaTimes later issued an apology and pulled down the story.
4. Molestation accused Vinod Dua maliciously edited a video clip of Nitin Gadkari
Left-wing propagandist Vinod Dua, who is now gainfully employed again at a seemingly obscure media platform ‘HW News’, published an ‘exclusive’ interview with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. Except, it was maliciously edited to show Gadkari was being critical of the Modi government. On watching the full clip it was clear that the government Gadkari was actually critical of was the former Congress-led UPA government.
5. BBC’s shoddy report on ‘fake news’ which reeked of dishonesty and lack of ethics
BBC’s “Beyond Fake News” report which made the outlandish claim that ‘nationalism’ was driving the spread of fake news. The report was based on dubious data, incorrect interpretations and biased sample. It was almost as if BBC decided the conclusion of their research and then reverse worked their data to suit their conclusion. After being called out for their shoddy journalism, BBC deleted the ‘research’ it had conducted on ‘fake news’, amended the same, uploaded and then deleted again. Amusingly, the fact-checking websites used in the BBC research have themselves either spread fake news or are known for dubious data analysis themselves.
6. The Wire journalist shared communally sensitive fake news, retracted after being corrected
The Wire journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani tweeted fake news that BJP MP Babul Supriyo had threatened to skin Muslims alive. She retracted her statement partially but later continued to defend her fake news. While Mahesh Hegde of Postcard news had been arrested for posting a tweet with fake news that had communally sensitive content, no such action was taken against Sherwani.
7. Did Modi spend Rs 35 lakh for Yoga Day video shoot?
Short answer, no. Long answer, journalists, politicians, celebrity lawyers shared a link of a soft-porn website which made the above claim, only because it suits their agenda. Months later, they shared a link from the same website which made outlandish claims. Both the times, the news were fake.
8. Pro-Congress troll spreads fake news on his pro-Islamist propaganda website
Abhishek Mishra, a pro-Congress troll, runs fake news and pro-Islamist website and multiple Facebook pages. The pro-Islamist and fake news website has news such as a hen giving birth to puppies instead of laying eggs. He was caught spreading fake news regarding a BJP leader in Rajasthan, during the run-up to Rajasthan Assembly Elections which was actually an old, unrelated clip from 2016.
9. The Wire spun another web of lies, this time to target Piyush Goyal
The leftist propaganda website ‘The Wire’ and its “ace journalist” Rohini Singh have developed a penchant for peddling baseless stories and branding it “investigative journalism”. Their modus operandi is simple. They take unrelated facts, throw in some well-worded insinuations and quote incomplete reports to make the reader believe they have stumbled upon proverbial gold when what they have is worse than ash.
10. Barkha Dutt used the death of a journalist to lie and spread propaganda in an international publication
The unfortunate assassination of Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari was used by Barkha Dutt to spread propaganda blaming “Twitter fundamentalists” for Bukhari’s death. And as if that wasn’t enough, she went a step ahead and used his death to write a shoddy, lie ridden article in Washington Post, basically using his death to further her own agenda.
And with that, we conclude the top ten lies media spread in 2018. We hope you enjoyed reading our articles as much as we enjoyed writing them. Do keep reading and sharing and supporting us as we enter 2019 and brace ourselves with more media lies to bust.