ThePrint, run by veteran journalist Shekhar Gupta, has become notorious for running propaganda in the name of journalism. They have been spreading lies and misleading claims to target the Modi govt. Here are fifty examples of ThePrint’s mischievous and misleading journalism. These are in just the past few months – imagine how much would have piled up over the years.
Creating Confusion on Vaccine Trials, Encouraging Hesitation and Spreading Fake News
Wilfully misleading the public on what causes black fungus, ThePrint chose to cover itself in cow dung. This when AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria has been absolutely clear that over consumption of steroids is the factor behind it.
How do you create panic? By linking a famous personality’s death to a COVID vaccine. Never mind that the person may have had a heart problem.
What makes one angry is the fact that ThePrint chooses to run big bold headlines about Chhattisgarh Chief Minister’s claim of the Centre not warning them about the second wave.
This despite having carried a story on their website about the warning being given in January of 2021. At least cover your tracks properly, dear team of ThePrint.
Adverse reactions to a vaccine does not mean a vaccine can’t be safe. Despite no links, ThePrint deemed it necessary to report people dying after ‘taking the COVID vaccine’.
Vaccine hesitation efforts should be bolstered in the warped world view of ThePrint. Spread confusion to create hesitation, for reasons malevolent to say the least.
The shameless effort to muddy the waters on vaccination was going on for a while. Never mind vaccine hesitation being created in the process.
ThePrint also chose to carry op-eds that have caused much damage to the vaccine drive by saying Indians don’t need it, weakening India’s fight against COVID.
Full on efforts to create vaccine hesitation by spreading panic, an art that ThePrint has truly mastered. One could indeed take lessons in Goebbelesian propaganda from them.
ThePrint however thought that it could absolve itself of all sins by baptizing itself. It decided to run a story on 23 May 2021 after months of propaganda, that claimed anti-vaxxers were the cause for India’s vaccine hesitancy. As they say in Hindi – sau chuche khaake billi hajj ko chali.
If this was not enough, Mr. Gupta’s organization was more than keen to be voyeurs of death. In a piece that tried to undermine the Prime Minister, ThePrint claimed that the PM or the BJP did not help an RSS worker despite tweets appealing for the same, only to be busted by Twitter users. The family of the deceased had also rejected the claims by ThePrint, saying that theyt were misused by the media. It is as if ThePrint chose to be a synonym for vulture.
On the issue of Dr. Shahid Jameel’s resignation, it is pertinent to note that ThePrint attributed his resignation to a New York Times op-ed where he claimed that ‘Decision-making based on data is yet another casualty,’ on the issue of the government’s pandemic handling. This was the same man who had in 2020 predicted that the worst of the pandemic was behind us and consistently raised questions on vaccine efficacy in the name of ‘science’.
Shekhar Gupta, The Goebbels of Journalism
The less said about Mr. Gupta, the better. The flair with which untrue statements are dropped in with candour is an art few can muster like him.
On 15 May, Mr. Gupta either out of ignorance, but most probably due to malice condemned how bodies could be seen floating only in the Ganga and the Yamuna, but not in the Brahmaputra, Krishna, Cauvery, Godavari, Narmada and more. Never mind that there is a culture of not burning bodies during specific periods or that Nepal has been pushing in bodies in Ganga’s tributaries. Truth should not come in the way of good propaganda.
On 8 May, Mr. Gupta declared that ‘after seven years under Prime Minister Modi, India is an unprecedentedly dysfunctional, worse flailing state.’ However, it seems Mr. Gupta could not control a shade of the truth from blurting out from within, as he acknowledged how “the distribution of welfare benefits to the poorest and the building of hard infrastructure” showed Mr. Modi as an able administrator.
1 May was particularly interesting, as a gust of literal flourish got Mr. Gupta to shout ‘Mayday! Mayday!’ and proclaim India is a disaster. Casually, Mr. Gupta wants us to believe that Chinese President Xi Jinping is offering us generous assistance, whereas truth is that all such ‘offers’ are just commercial orders. Not to forget how it conveniently stopped cargo flights bringing medical supplies to India. This prompts one to ask Mr. Gupta a famous Hindi movie dialogue from 3 Idiots – kehna kya chahte ho!? (what do you want to say?)
“PM Modi cancelled the last leg of his campaign in West Bengal. That he waited till the last day means he was still hoping to be able to do it, but realised he was behind the curve on the pandemic,” waxed Mr. Gupta eloquent on 24 April. Of course, let us discount the fact that Mamata Banerjee continued her rallies even after the PM stopped, or that Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Choudhary did rallies despite Rahul Gandhi’s sanctimony.
17th April saw Mr. Gupta go on endlessly against Mr. Modi, with casual Hinduphobia. Alluding that the Kumbh Mela caused a spread, Mr. Gupta stated “That festivals, the Kumbh Mela and full-blooded election campaigns could now go on. The war with the virus was over and the good side, ‘us’, had won.” Clearly in the world view of Mr. Gupta, COVID is a fascist manifestation that spreads only in majoritarian gatherings like Kumbh. Neither does it spread in farmer protests, nor does it spread in protests against Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati’s comments across the country by agitated Muslims or in Christian priest gatherings.
The Masters of Propaganda and Misinformation
Propaganda sounds good when the proverbial egg on the face situation does not arise. At least Mr. Gupta seems smart, unlike some of his co-workers and opinion writers that he surrounds himself with.
While Modi waxed eloquent on India-EU trade talks, European leaders were unhappy at US for supporting Delhi’s demand to waive Covid vaccine patents, Jyoti Malhotra decided to write on 11 May. Little did she realize that EU would actually adopt India’s stance in a few days. Such assurance in writing is a shoddy slip.
Word soups that self-contradict are for the dumb to absorb. Big rhetoric is typical of Ms. Malhotra, as she proclaims how “India went back on its own stated policy of not accepting foreign aid, although there is a subtle difference this time around with the world offering material help.” 27 April was no bar from not being honest. A policy decision was taken by the Manmohan Singh government in December, 2004 in the aftermath of the Tsunami and that policy has been continued with for the last 14 years.
Institutional Hinduphobia certainly seems to be one of the key propaganda tools of Jyoti Malhotra. “India’s international reputation has already taken a hammer blow with politicians like BJP leader and former Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat saying things like, ‘Ma Ganga will not allow corona to spread,’” she writes. An attempt perhaps to distract from the so-called farmer protests being the real super spreaders in Delhi, Haryana Punjab, which even Congress party members are forced to admit now.
Of course, he is joined by such illustrious people like Shivam Vij, who proclaimed without an iota of evidence the utterly unscientific narrative of herd immunity.
Not to be outdone are the likes of Nitin Pai, who dismissed vaccine by calling it a political jumla, caring two hoots about science. This incidentally is the same man who had famously predicted that ‘India will not have a second wave’.
Of course, chief snafu officer of India, Shobhaa De, who thinks that a man’s looks drive the economy, can also represent the voices of an animal called the crocodile to mock the Prime Minister. Such is the august company Shekhar Gupta maintains.
Then we seem to have such ‘brilliant’ opinion makers like Ruhi Tewari, who claim that ‘Health is not the primary focus’ of the Modi government. It seems that the 157 medical colleges and new AIIMS built over the years by the Modi government should be repurposed to teach some basics of journalism and reporting. Ms. Tewari also needs to learn that Delhi Police arrested people for property defacement under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007, that strictly prohibits banners and posters.
What got attention of course is the blissful unawareness that former bureaucrats like Arvind Mayaram have willingly displayed, who have not let facts come in the way. While demanding an oxygen plant in every district hospital, he chose to ignore how states like Delhi squatted on proposals to build oxygen plants.
Then we saw more examples of Goebbelesian propaganda, when a Professor called Shareen Joshi decided to proclaim that the government has a “long-standing anti-science posture.” Funding research for four vaccines, raising drug production and supporting research for new drugs, and rapid development and deployment of testing kits be damned.
Not to be left behind were people like columnist Mihir Sharma, who ran an entire piece on ‘caste discrimination’ in America by ‘fascist Hindus’ while hiding the fact that the temple construction was given to a contractor in the first place, and questions should be asked of the contractor in the first place.
What was depressing to note, not the least angering, is the ‘fact’ that BJP is not able to digest its defeat in Bengal. I wonder how someone like D.K. Singh can sleep peacefully in the night after knowing that he is being convenient about BJP workers and supporters being killed in Bengal by the goons of TMC. But then, ThePrint seems to support such obfuscators.
50 Word Edit or 50 Words of Lies and Damn Lies?
The most blatant example of obfuscation comes in 50-word edits that the site specializes in.
So what if ordinary people die? Dance of death is kosher so long as BJP is at the ‘receiving end’.
India’s vaccine drive is an ‘embarrassment’, never mind the 20 crore people vaccinated so far, next only to China and US which started their programs much earlier.
Again, the fact that there was no objective assessment apart from the ‘views’ of a few ‘experts’ does not come in the way of peddling propaganda.
Why so gracious on China, ThePrint? Why exactly should scrutiny of China stop with regards to the pandemic?
EC did very well to get Narendra Modi’s image out of vaccine certificates. Of course, now that Bhupesh Baghel has inserted his own image in these certificates in Chhattisgarh instead, there is utter silence.
Indians especially Hindus must apologize for complaining about Hinduphobia veering on disgusting remarks, never mind the horrible remarks themselves that even made the Madhya Pradesh High Court reject his bail application.
Other Strange Mentions Worth Noting
Thanks to ThePrint, I also got to learn that caste could be found in algorithms of Instagram reels as well, and that dance too had caste associated with it.
Hinduphobia manifests in other forms too. Just look at the attempt of pinning the blame on deceased Rinku Sharma’s murder on Rinku Sharma. Ironically the same has never been rectified, let alone deleted, despite CCTV footage showing otherwise.
This Hinduphobia has recently also manifested in the manner in which Sharjeel Usmani’s distasteful comments on Hinduism were labelled ‘objectionable’. Even if it is a feed ThePrint could have corrected it. Clearly this shows where it stands.
This Hinduphobia also tries to show India as some exotic backward country by talking about ‘corona havan’ fumes as some bizarre unscientific practice. Never mind that their ideal utopia Kerala was engaging in Dhooma sandhya practice which literally does the same.
If embarrassing oneself in India was insufficient, ThePrint decided earlier in December 2020 to take the giant leap of ensuring international insult by being caught for lying by the Russian Embassy in India.
That month, ThePrint also chose to misquote an IIT Professor’s study, and even tried to amend it quietly without being caught. Unfortunately, the professor was smarter than their entire team of journalists.
ThePrint lets people call Central Vista wasteful, but quietly buries stories under mounds of news about Chhattisgarh building new Vidhan Sabha building despite COVID. But only the former can be wasteful expenditure.
Punjab government’s lies on faulty PM-CARES funded ventilators was given space by ThePrint. What of course never made the cut was the fact that the Punjab state government did not even choose to install many of them in the first place despite so many deaths over the months.
And as I was about to finish compiling “50 shades of ThePrint”, popped up another gem from the House of Gupta, and this time it was about how Under Modi govt, civil servants have lost initiative and drive. India is paying the price. A little bit of background check of the man, he used as his henchman, would have saved him from some ignominy but wo kehtey hain na ki “sharm tum ko magar nahin aati”
How can one end this piece without quoting this tweet where he cunningly used “data” to further his agenda. Hundreds of ordinary Indians turned into his arithmetic teacher telling him to use data uniformly; but then as they say you can’t shame a shameless man, you can only remind him of the awesome shit he’s done!