When it comes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian mainstream media has gone through many stages. First we had the outright lies (Modi is guilty in Godhra or Best Bakery or this or that case, he will lose this or that election, fake Snoopgate and the like).
Then we had the denials (there is absolutely no development in Gujarat and Modi is not the most popular leader in India, he is just a 28% PM and the like). Now we have a stage when they are simply trivializing all his achievements. They are diverting the attention from them with silly trivial lies.
A look at some events and how the media covered it…
What actually happened: Modi went to the US in what was arguably the most successful visit by an Indian PM. One person even said that it was the greatest visit by an Indian after Swami Vivekananda.
US politicians stood in line to shake hands with him and one even called him “(Ronald) Reagan of the world stage.” His speech at Madison Gardens was the cherry on the cake.
What they saw: Oh my God! #ModiBhakts and Internet Hindus go on the rampage in New York’s Times Square!
What actually happened: Barack Obama became the first US President to become chief guest in India’s Republic Day parade. He accepted the invitation at short notice and it was the first solo country visit by a US President in ages. (The Saudi monarch’s death led to a detour on his way back though)
The Modi-Obama chemistry was talk of publications all over the world and more importantly the Indo-US nuclear deal which had been in hibernation for years was finally activated.
What they saw: Oh my God! The Prime Minister wore a Rs 20 lakh suit! (This soon became Rs 10 lakh and then came a minor apology which was totally ignored by Modi critics).
When that fell flat, it became…
Oh my God! Obama is reprimanding and commanding Modi to crack down on Hindutva forces!
What actually happened: The Indian Coast Guard saw a suspicious looking foreign boat in Indian waters and chased it and ultimately neutralized the threat. Post 9/11 all countries are on guard for foreign vehicles/boats in their territory and their prompt action may have averted a 26/11 type incident.
Had the Coast Guard been reporting to Manmohan Singh, he would have been hailed as a hero. But Modi gets different treatment.
What they saw: Oh my God! Poor simple Pakistani smugglers have been terrorized by the might of the Indian Coast Guard!
What actually happened: India affected a spectacular rescue operation in the beleaguered country of Yemen. In a delicate operation that involved getting the okay of many countries a whopping 5500 Indian nationals were evacuated.
Our goodwill extended to other countries too and 1000 more foreign nationals were evacuated. General VK Singh became a star and we were the toast of international media houses all over the world.
Again the tragedy is that VK Singh reports to Modi and not Manmohan.
What they saw: Oh my God! VK Singh used the term #Presstitutes in a Tweet! He must resign immediately!
What actually happened: Modi went on a successful Europe Trip. He became the first ever PM to pay homage at the Neuve-Chapelle Memorial in France where thousands of Indians died and have their names written at the memorial.
Modi also decided to push the Rafale deal as the defence industry saw a real paralysis under UPA from 2004-14.
What they saw: Oh my God! Modi is wearing a Louis Vuitton shawl! What right does he have to do that? What happened to make in India?
A photo of Modi wearing a shawl was enough to “allege” that it was Louis Vuitton. You may have heard of “breaking news” and “investigative journalism”. Well these senior journalists have mastered the art of “Breaking investigative journalism”.
The moment a photo/headline/flash about Modi comes, they have the whole investigative story about Modi’s misdeeds ready. For example whenever any places of worship attack, Modi can be invoked in the story or even the headline.
Later when it turns out to be a theft case or an inside job, the story can be safely ignored. The allegations against Modi stand. Since Doordarshan comes under them they may well do an end-of-day news bulletin titled…
Today’s Top 10 fake stories against the government.
What India requires is a strong watchdog against all governments (both BJP and Congress) and not some random barking which is passed off as investigative journalism.
That’s India for you!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here