In what appeared to be a synchronised spreading of fake news on social media, Congress-friendly journalists and self-proclaimed fact-checkers were caught spreading fake news that retired NIA judge Ravindra Reddy, who acquitted Swami Aseemanand in Mecca Masjid bomb case, has joined the BJP.
It all started when ‘journalist’ Saurav Datta, who is associated with the left-leaning website Scroll and an online rag which was last found highlighting the CRPF jawans who lost their lives in Puwalama attack on caste lines, shared a tweet.
Saurav Datta shared a screenshot from one ‘Mangalore Voice’ which claimed that NIA judge Ravindra Reddy who acquitted Swami Aseemanand in Mecca Masjid blast case has now joined the BJP.
As if on cue, the tweet was retweeted over 350 times in less than an hour and quote tweeted by many prominent journalists.
Without verifying, whether Reddy has joined the BJP, he was demonised already, casting aspersions that the reason he may have been invited to join the BJP because he acquitted the RSS leader.
Mihir Sharma, who usually likes to twist facts and sometimes spread lies, too thought this was ‘Banana Republic’. Speaking of facts, Samar Halarnkar, who heads the dubious, factually incorrect data website and a faulty ‘fact-checker‘ was also caught ‘retweeting’ the above tweet, helping Datta in further spreading the fake news.
Some were found resorting to the oldest trick in the book to absolve oneself of the blame when one knows that the news may be untrue, but wants to shoot off from other people’s shoulders. Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal often tweets ‘is this true’ tweets, which more often than not are untrue. Inspired by Kejriwal, abusive troll masquerading as a journalist also put up an ‘if this is true’ tweet.
Swati Chaturvedi likes to gloat that she has highly placed sources. However, instead of bothering to confirm with her sources, she chooses the ‘shocking if true’ trick. More like Baingan Republic. Chaturvedi later on deleted this tweet and posted a ‘clarification’ that the man above is not Ravindra Reddy.
NDTV’s Nidhi, too went the ‘shocking if true’ route. Nidhi, too, later on deleted her tweet after she was pointed out that she need not be shocked because this is not true.
Wall-Street Journal columnist who usually likes to tell a lie a thousand times till it becomes true, Sadanand Dhume, too tweeted based on Datta’s tweet. However, he later apologised for not being careful. Eventually, Datta, too, deleted his tweet, an hour after it had spread like wild fire.
Datta admitted that he found the screenshot he shared from ‘activist’ John Dayal’s Facebook page.
Dayal chose to spread fake news without verifying and at the time of publishing this report, the Facebook post is still up despite people pointing it out that the above post is fake news. As of now, the post has been shared almost 250 times on Facebook.
The same screenshot shared by Dayal was later on shared on Twitter by lawyer Sanjay Hegde.
This was later on spread further by Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh.
In fact, not only is the news that Reddy has joined BJP incorrect, but the above image is also not that of Reddy. It is actually that of Ram Dayal Uike, former Chhattisgarh Congress working president joining the BJP in October last year.
Congress Chhattisgarh working president and Pali-Tanakhar MLA, Ramdayal Uike joined BJP in presence of Amit Shah and CM Dr.Raman Singh pic.twitter.com/m2MuwrTraO
— ANI (@ANI) October 13, 2018
And most amusingly, Reddy has actually joined Telangana Jana Samiti, which is a Congress ally.
The prominent journalists and self-proclaimed champions of truth not only spread a piece of unverified information, but it was also a fake image with the fake news.