Chief of Editor’s Guild and Editor-in-Chief of The Print, Shekhar Gupta, called journalists a ‘different kind of vultures’ during the 15th October episode of Cut The Clutter on the media outlet’s YouTube channel. During the episode, he was discussing the controversy revolving around New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi.
Speaking of Rukmini Callimachi, Shekhar Gupta said, “She rose as an international star and you know what happens? When you rise as a star anywhere, a lot of people, particularly those who get left behind start sharpening their knives. And I can tell you something. There is no place more perilous for a successful professional than a newsroom. Because reporters have to compete all the time in a cut-throat manner.”
He continued, “And we are worse than vultures, most times. The vultures usually only eat up what somebody else killed or what died by itself naturally. And vultures usually perform a useful job by cleaning it up, by scavenging it for you. But we are different kinds of vultures. We are always waiting, I am not saying all of us, there are always exceptions, we are always waiting for some reporter, particularly a star reporter to get something wrong.”
“Even a little thing wrong. Then, if the person is down, then you go after the person and kill the person, then you clean up the person, pick the person’s flesh off her bones. So the newsroom is a very tough place,” said Shekhar Gupta. He called them vultures later in the show as well. It may be recalled that Rajdeep Sardesai has admitted in the past that journalists are like vultures.
At another point in the show, Shekhar Gupta expresses surprise that “civilised countries” have hoax laws and tells his audience, “Can you imagine if we had a hoax law in this country? I think a lot of people will be in jail.” The implication appears to be that India is not a civilised country and that is why India does not have hoax laws.
The Rukmini Callimachi Controversy
Rukmini Callimachi is one the dock for her podcast ‘Caliphate’ which sought to provide an insider perspective into the macabre word of the Islamic State. ‘Caliphate’ relied heavily on the account of one Abu Huzayfah al-Kanadi. He claimed to be an ISIS fighter and provided a vivid description of executions he had carried out.
The only problem was that he was arrested recently by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the hoax law of the country for allegedly lying about the crimes he allegedly committed in the Middle-East. The supposed ISIS fighter has been identified as on Sheroze Chaudhry with origins in Pakistan. On her part, Rukmini Callimachi claims that she has explained in an episode what she can and cannot confirm about his claims the conflicting strands in his story.
2. Below is a link to Chapter 6, which exposes both what we know he lied about, explores the conundrum of what to do when you discover that a source has lied, and lays out for readers what we know to be fact and equally the many things we still don’t knowhttps://t.co/tKJWGqt02D— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) September 25, 2020
Despite her clarification, Rukmini Callimachi has come under intense criticism from those on the Left who appear to believe that her podcast fuels Islamophobia.