Congress President Rahul Gandhi gave a comprehensive “tell-all” interview to India Today that was published today. In the interview, Rahul Gandhi admitted that his only aim was to tarnish PM Modi’s ‘incorruptible’ image, and the interviewer sat there, without countering the lies and peddling further lies.
While India Today published the litany of lies by Rahul Gandhi, it was curious that a channel like India Today chose to conduct a text interview with Rahul Gandhi instead of a video interview.
A rumour gained wind on Social Media that India Today had indeed conducted a video interview with Rahul Gandhi, but the interview was so bad (some said worse that the blabbering mess the interview with Arnab Goswami was back in 2014), that India Today chose to scrap the video interview and publish a text interview instead.
This Whatsapp message doing the rounds, that was also shared by many on Twitter, said that Rahul Gandhi appealed to India Today not to air the video interview because it was a disaster. The rumour also was that Congress functionaries grabbed the cassettes and agreed to let them publish a text version of the interview. The forward also questioned whether this was fair journalism.
While Social Media is often the hotbed of misinformation and rumours, this particular rumour does seem to have some credibility and it certainly does appear that India Today conducted a video interview of Rahul Gandhi that was later not aired. The evidence to support this theory is mounting and damning.
Evidence 1: Why the lapel mic?
The Director of India Today and Aaj Tak anchor, Rahul Kanwal tweeted a gif of Rahul Gandhi while plugging the “hard-hitting and combative” interview of Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi’s most hard hitting and combative interview ever. A must read to get a handle on what is going on in the mind of the President of @INCIndia #RahulGandhiToIndiaToday #IndiaElects https://t.co/uoyQEFevPV @RahulGandhi @IndiaToday pic.twitter.com/TeJIeq5DbF
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) May 3, 2019
If one looks at the gif carefully, one sees a lapel mic that has been plugged on Rahul Gandhi kurta collar.
A still from the interview shows the lapel mic too.
If this indeed was just a text interview from the word go, one must wonder why Rahul Gandhi was wearing a lapel mic at all?
Evidence 2: The India Today ticker
OpIndia accessed the India Today screen that displayed a ticker that asked its viewers to ‘WATCH’ Mega Exclusive Rahul Gandhi interview on India Today at 6:30 PM.
If the plan was to do a text interview from the word go, why did India Today display this ticker? Why did India Today ask its viewers to WATCH the interview at 6:30 PM? An interview, that was then never aired?
Evidence 3: Tweet asking people to ‘WATCH’ the interview
India Today had also tweeted about the Rahul Gandhi interview and the tweet itself indicates that there is enough proof that initially, a video interview was to be aired but was later scrapped.
The Tweet from 2nd May 2019 asks people to ‘WATCH’ the most in-depth interview of Rahul Gandhi this election season on ‘India Today TV’. Then, it gives an update to the live blog.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) May 2, 2019
If the interview was supposed to be published as a text interview from the beginning, why would the word ‘Watch’ be there in the tweet and why would India Today ask its viewers to watch the interview on India Today TV?
Also, if it indeed was meant to be a text interview, why would India Today plug the link of a live blog? Once the article is live, no media house would tweet its excerpts from an article on to a live blog. A live blog would be used to tweet text updates of a video interview while it was being aired so people who can’t watch it live could read the updates.
It is highly probable that India Today had indeed taken a video interview of Rahul Gandhi and that interview was scrapped and a text interview was published instead. The real question is, why was it scrapped? Was the interview that bad? And if the interview was really that bad, is it the media’s job to shield a politician who cannot give a proper, live interview even though it must have been planned? What does it say about the Media and India Today in particular? Most importantly, what does it say about Rahul Gandhi?
Update: India Today has issued a clarification that there was meant to be no video interview but only a print interview. It also says that Congress has a video recording of the interview that is not available to the channel. The explanation, however, still doesn’t answer some crucial questions. You can read the full explanation here.