On Saturday, OpIndia published a report about a “mysterious doll” on the desk of NDTV journalist Vishnu Som that bore uncanny resemblance with the dreaded global terrorist, Osama bin Laden.
Netizens too speculated the same and wondered as to why Som would want to keep memorabilia of a slain terrorist. In a series of tweets, the NDTV journalist confirmed that the doll was indeed that of Osama Bin Laden but clarified that he had “no affinity” for the man behind the 9/11 attacks.
1.This is a Russian Matryoshka doll, widely available online, that I picked up on Red Square, Moscow several years back. I found it utterly bizarre that the world’s No 1 enemy would feature on a doll being sold right outside the Kremlin. https://t.co/4390wLgQyL https://t.co/8KWNxvnLX9
— Vishnu Som (@VishnuNDTV) February 29, 2020
His complete statement has been updated the OpIndia story. Nevertheless, several people had pointed out the abnormality in having a doll with the face of the most dreaded Islamic terrorist sit on one’s desk every day.
It is also amusing that @VishnuNDTV calls OpIndia “hate specialist” while staring at Osama Bin Ladin every single day as he works at NDTV. Multi level irony just shot itself in the balls.
— Nupur J Sharma (@UnSubtleDesi) February 29, 2020
Although Vishnu Som had already confirmed that the doll indeed featured Osama Bin Laden, NDTV India anchor Ravish Kumar, in a desperate attempt, rushed to the rescue of his fellow journalist and claimed that the viral image in question was “photoshopped”.
He wrote on Facebook, “IT Cell (referring to BJP) checks every day whether the people they target have learnt to outsmart them. My colleague Vishnu Som has a Russian Matryoshka doll on his table. It is now being ‘photoshopped’ to look like the picture of terrorist Osama Bin Laden. The fake image has been circulated several times. It is written in your destiny that you will be fooled in this manner. First, they created a different perception of NDTV in your mind. They trigger it from time to time to see if the malicious perception is intact. So, they target me or my colleagues with photoshopped images and fake news.”
Ravish added, “This is a game of psychology and technology. They are attempting to subdue your rational mindset. They want you to react just by looking at pictures. So, they are circulating these photoshopped images.”
He concluded his rant, “Do you wish to get fooled by the BJP IT Cell over and over again? Don’t you feel humiliated? I think the majority of people do not. They take it as a matter of pride. Else the IT Cell would have closed down in one day.”
It may be noted that the image was taken from a show on NDTV and video of the same is available online, where the doll can be seen, therefore it was a hilarious claim by Ravish Kumar that it was photoshopped.
One hour later, Ravish Kumar realised that he went on a hysterical tirade on a baseless claim of “photoshopped image.” Contrary to the ethics and integrity of a Ramon-Magsaysay awardee, Ravish edited his Facebook post instead of apologising for his mistake. The same can be confirmed from the edit history of the Facebook post.
In his new post, he retained several extracts from the original post while he shrewdly edited out the “inconvenient” parts, the allegation that image was photoshopped by IT cell.
He wrote, “My colleague has a Russian Matryoshka doll on his table. Vishnu has written that it was being sold in the Kremlin, Moscow. He found it strange that someone could sell the photo of a terrorist. People often buy such things as a part of a unique collection. If you go to America, then you will find bizarre toys of Donald Trump.”
At this point, it becomes imperative to ask, “Is Ravish Kumar drawing an analogy between Osama Bin Laden and the American President?”
Ravish continued, ” But IT Cell deliberately weaves such tales so as to build an atmosphere of fear/danger? The Taliban we know as a terror outfit is doing deals with America. There is no hue and cry over it. Why was there a representative of India? Why did not India say that we will not be a part of a deal with terrorists,? However, people are being diverted to think about a toy.”
Towards the end of his rant, he mentioned that “the post, has been changed.” However, he did not apologise for his false claims about the viral image being photoshopped.
It may be noted that Ravish Kumar made a total a five edits in his post, and he had removed the “Photoshopped” allegation in the third edit, but he added that it has been edited only in his fifth edit, without mentioning what was changed, and why.
There is possibly no greater expert at red hair fallacy than Ravish Kumar. In an attempt to dumb down his rant for his intellectually-deprived audience, he questioned America’s decision to strike a peace deal and withdraw its troops. Had he taken a class in diplomacy, he would not have asked why India played a role in the Afghanistan Conundrum. The funniest bit came in the end when he tried to monkey-balance “the outrage over an Osama doll” and the “silence over India’s representation in the US-Taliban peace deal.”
Ravish Kumar is not new to peddling theories that cast aspersions about issues and facts that he does not agree to. For instance, while speaking about the February 24 shooter who fired at Delhi Police personnel, Ravish Kumar had identified Mohammad Shahrukh as ‘Anurag Mishra’. He has proven yet again how a certain section of mainstream media is complicit in spreading misinformation, conjectures and sometimes blatant lies to fan violence under the guise of ‘freedom of the press.’