In the most recent instance of spreading misinformation, ABP News has aired footage that vastly exaggerated the number of Chinese Coronavirus cases detected in Haryana while, simultaneously, vastly understated the cases of the virus in the state of Maharashtra. It is pertinent to note here that Haryana is ruled by the BJP with Manohar Lal Khattar as Chief Minister while there is a ‘secular’ government in Maharashtra of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance between Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress party.
People on social media pointed out that in a footage aired on ABP News claimed that there were 1761 cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus in Haryana when, in reality, as per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the state has recorded a total of 177 cases as of the time of writing this report with only 145 active cases. 29 had recovered and subsequently discharged while 3 had unfortunately passed away due to the virus. The footage was aired on the 12th of April at around noon.
Simultaneously, another user tweeted that ABP News had shown Maharashtra having only 381 cases. It is Maharashtra, in fact, that has recorded a total of 1761 cases as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as of the time of writing this report. 208 people have been discharged while 127 have succumbed to the disease. The footage, as seen in the above-embedded tweet, also showed Kerala having 151 cases when in reality it has 239 active cases excluding 123 cured patients and 2 deaths. A total of 364 positive cases were reported in Kerala.
Haryana has done a stellar job at controlling the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus while Maharashtra has failed utterly thus far to curb its spread. While Manohar Lal Khattar has taken several important steps to aid the state machinery in combating the pandemic, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, has resorted to PR campaigns instead of concrete steps. While the efforts of the former have been continuously underplayed by the journalists and mainstream media, the latter has received a great deal of praise without any achievement to his credit. Uddhav Thackeray is also being aided, it seems, by fake news being spread by the mainstream media.
The mainstream media and journalists have not taken to rectify their incompetence even in the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps, it’s due to the fact that the incompetence is driven by malice that it has been so difficult to rectify it and time and again, the media has engaged in spreading fake news. The fake news spread by the mainstream media cannot be attributed to incompetence alone because if it were only incompetence, they would have erred on equal parts against all sides of the political spectrum. However, as of now, the incompetence always appears to work against the BJP. Therefore, malice can definitely not be ruled out.