The media ecosystem, often sympathetic to the Congress party, has been facing a tough time since few weeks to defend the party ever since the alleged links between the Congress party and the Communist Party of China resurfaced. With more damning disclosures being made day-after-day validating the alleged links between the CPC and the Congress party, and revelations that Congress govt had donated money from Govt and PMNRF to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the ‘liberal-secular’ media ecosystem, which has been put in a precarious position, have chosen to remain silent at a time when they are expected to question the mighty Gandhis.
Unsurprisingly, the media organisations, rather than questioning the Congress party leaders over their alleged links with China and questionable grants to RGF, have been trying their best to put out the portray the ‘positive’ image of the Gandhis. In a similar attempt, Shekhar Gupta’s ‘The Print’ on Saturday tried to pull out a stunt by carrying out ‘investigative journalism’ to fact check a claim on social media, which was originally intended as a pun to mock Congress party leaders, especially Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
An image of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi distributing sweets at an event went viral on social media on Saturday, in which Singh was holding a box of sweet standing next to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
The viral image is from 2015 and was taken during an event hosted by the Congress party to celebrate the country’s 69th Independence Day.
The social media users, however, made few observations and posted their views on the internet. Some netizens had their own take on the viral image. Similarly, Activist and Author Shefali Vaidya, known for her wit, shared the particular image on Twitter and took a dig at the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“Rare historical pic of family servant Ramukaka holding a box containing 100 crore rupees from the taxpayer’s money to be donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation as Shehzada and the Dowager Empress mingle with the commoners!” Vaidya tweeted targetting the Congress leaders.
Rare historical pic of family servant Ramukaka holding a box containing 100 crore rupees from the taxpayer’s money to be donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation as Shehzada and the Dowager Empress mingle with the commoners! pic.twitter.com/57VlhHGxhi— Shefali Vaidya. (@ShefVaidya) June 26, 2020
Shefali Vaidya tweeted that former Manmohan Singh was holding the sweet box on behalf of the Gandhis, which they intended to distribute to the commoners.
The tweet by Shefali Vaidya came at a time when the Congress party under the leadership Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi is being alleged of receiving huge money not only from the Chinese but also of deviating public money to her private foundation Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
Not just Manmohan Singh, even Rahul Gandhi had a sweet box: The Print
However, Shekhar Gupta’s ‘The Print’, which has largely remained silent over the ongoing events linking to the Congress party, was quick to jump to fact check whether Manmohan Singh was holding the sweet box on behalf of the Gandhis.
Shockingly, The Print not only fact-checked the claim of a tweet which was intended as a pun but also revealed that Rahul Gandhi had carried his own sweet box and did not make Manmohan Singh hold on behalf of him.
The Print report read, “A gallery of images from the day can be found on the Congress’ official Facebook page, where even Sonia and Rahul could be seen holding sweet boxes. It was not just Singh who was holding the sweet boxes, as was claimed by Vaidya in her tweet.”
The Print claimed that the sweet boxes were distributed among some children after the flag hoisting, and Singh, Sonia and Rahul — all were seen distributing sweet boxes to the children.
The Print’s investigative journalism continues
The Print, however, did not stop just at ‘fact-checking’ Shefali Vaidya. It went further to state that the same picture was shared by a group, ‘India Against Presstitutes’, on Facebook in 2017. “Both Vaidya and India Against Presstitutes shared the image with the false claim that the former PM was holding a box of sweets for the Gandhi family,” the ‘investigative report’ claimed.
Therefore, The Print chose to ‘fact check’ a tweet which was intended as a joke against the Congress leaders, to defend the party which is facing the heat due to its closeness with the ruling Communist Party in China.