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Let us begin with the video of the king of "carefully presented BJP interviews", Rajat Sharma interviewing Baba Ramdev aide Ved Pratap Vaidik.

Even as respected journalists flee a sinking media, the entire media seems to have let this pass unquestioned. Ved Pratap Vaidik has no authority to engage in dialogue with anyone. This cannot be called a journalistic endeavor, since there is no documentation, or for that matter any new information not previously known being disclosed. It is no documentary type visit bringing insight to an entity. Instead, he seems to have held a bilateral dialogue with an entity we consider criminal.

Is the BJP also legitimizing a track of dialogue between extremists of both countries?

What does Ved Pratap Vaidik have in common with Hafiz Saeed other than organized religious Nationalism with stakes in national politics?

He speaks of their talks as a cultural exchange, asks after his objections to Narendra Modi and views with regard to Modi's potential visit to Pakistan. Now let us get this clearly. India considers Hafiz Saeed to be a terrorist. He is no representative of Pakistan recognized by India to interview for acceptance of the Indian Prime Minister. This undermines India's efforts to pressure Pakistan to curb radicalization against India by giving legitimacy and seeking acceptance from someone we consider to be a terrorist supporter.

Here are some quotes. I leave you to decide for yourself what Ved Pratap Vaidik is up to and what Rajat Sharma is doing when he projects an action clearly against India as some kind of achievement. Not to mention the whole pantheon of Indian media who appear to not have noticed this at all, or have not found it worth questioning.

baatcheet shuru karnese pehle, kuch tasweerein hum darshakon ko dikha dete hain. Lahore ki ye tasweerein hain. subah mein savva ghante lambi mulakaat hui Ved Pratap Vaidik ki Hafiz Saeed se. ek kamre mein sirf Hafiz Saeed or Vaidik sahab the. Vaidik sahab aap.... (Before beginning the talk, we bring you some images. These images are from Lahore. In the morning, there was an hour and a quarter long meeting between Ved Pratap Vaidik and Hafiz Saeed. Only Hafiz Saeed and Vaidik sahab were in a room. Vaidik sahab, you...) ~ Rajat Sharma

And amazingly, after showing images of the meeting, Rajat Sharma completely skips asking what gave Ved Pratap Vaidik the authority to do a one on one meeting with a non-state actor of another country that asked about the acceptability of the Indian Prime Minister in the opinion of someone declared a terrorist in India. He directly moves on to ask details of the meeting as though it were a formal dialogue with any legitimacy!!!

Now, if this were anyone other than a Modi supporter, the TV channels would be rightfully screaming outrage over the fact that the meeting happened at all, let alone got reported in detail over national TV in such glowing terms. The fact that the meeting seeks a terrorist's opinion on the Indian Prime Minister is an insult to India!!! Even if he is a product of an allied religious fanaticism industry. The expectation is that he represents the country now. It is no matter of pride that religious fanatics engaged in harm to the country find him acceptable!

Talk of terrorist associations. There would be more outrage if non-BJP Indian politician had an opinion on Modi. Apparently it is more acceptable to be a terrorist than a non-BJP politician?

Then Ved Pratap Vaidik drops these gems unchallenged by not just Rajat Sharma, but anyone in Indian media so far.

Quoting Hafiz Saeed in first person: media ke baare mein jab baat hui, to unhone kaha ki aapka media mujhe baar baar dahashatgad kehta hain. aapke propaganda se america prabhavit ho gaya aur america aur united nations ne bhi mujhe dahashatgarh ghoshit kar diya.... (when we spoke about media, he said that your media calls me a terrorist repeatedly. America has got influenced by your propaganda and America and United Nations have also declared me terrorist.)

Conveying Hafiz Saeed's view and then the astonishing response to the accusation of Indian media calling him terrorist.

lekin unko maine spasth kiya ki ye sirf media ki wajah se nahi hain. ye uch aisi ghatanayein Pakistan ki taraf se hoti hain ki jikse karan logon ke man mein ye vishwas pakka hota hain i koi na koi badi deheshatgarh takat un sab ghatanaon ke peeche hain, jisse pura hindustan bilbilaa uthta hain. (but I made it clear to him that it isn't only because of media. These are some incidences from Pakistan's side, due to which people believe that there is some or the other big terrorist power behind them, because of which entire Hindustan trembles.)

What. The. Fuck?

India thinks Hafiz Saeed is terrorist because it trembles at the terrorist power behind some incidences from "Pakistan's side" (as opposed to any role by Hafiz Saeed and denied by Pakistan state)? And really? Hindustan trembles, which is why they think he's terrorist? Reminds me of the "hysteria" accusations made at women. "Hey, Hindustan is overreacting because they're terrified, they mean you no harm." And this joker is proudly sharing this with whole country without any questions raised on a channel known to be pro-Modi-sarkar. Makes one wonder if Modi sarkar's plan is to prostrate India!

Descriptions of Hafiz Saeed's grandeur follow. Thousands coming to listen to him, then Vaidik went to meet him. Lived in a dense, upscale locality in Lahore, his security is better than Pakistan Prime Minister's, he has high stature in Pakistan, I got the impression he doesn't want to meet me but he called me, then he immediately said he had heard our complaints in media and asked me to tell him about myself, etc.... note that this man Hafiz Saeed, whom Vaidik is giving glowing details of being allowed to meet, is calling for Pakistanis to fight India for the "freedom" of Kashmir often in his public meetings.

Vaidik is describing discussions of how Hafiz Saeed said we share a common culture. How his mother came to Pakistan pregnant with him. Then Hafiz Saeed asked about Modi's wife and he said that he has no wife in the manner we understand wife and is a bachelor for all practical purposes. Sangh pracharaks are bachelors. Then he described sangh, brahmacharya and so on.

Then Vaidik asks why Hafiz Saeed has enmity with Modi. Erm... WHAT? Hafiz Saeed denied enmity with Modi (which probably means that bhakts on Twitter will like JuD better now). Vaidik asks about the treatment Modi will get if he comes to Pakistan, and Hafiz Saeed says that they will give him an open hearted welcome. So the question is, what visits does Vaidik think India's Prime Minister will do to Pakistan where Hafiz Saeed will provide hospitality.

And Vaidik asks whether Saeed too is a brahmachari and Saeed replied that he has three wives. And so on.

Nor is this a one time connection. Ved Pratap Vaidik confirmed to journalist Aditya Raj Kaul that he had been seeking a meeting with Saeed for a while since his meeting last year got cancelled.

He paints a glowing picture of Hafiz Saeed as a humanitarian messiah who has been defamed. Repeats Saeed's claim that he was framed by Rehman Malik. Bluntly denies allegations of terrorism on Hafiz Saeed's behalf based on HIS OWN interactions in Islamabad and Lahore. Sidesteps questions of calls for jihad in Kashmir that are ON RECORD and states that Saeed made a very favorable impression on him. In short, he openly contradicts India's stand on Hafiz Saeed ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Or perhaps, he simply sees nothing wrong with religious zealots doing humanitarian work and inciting violence using the popularity it brings them. Sound familiar?

This is a far cry from BJP's so far rabid stand against Hafiz Saeed and given that statements of this magnitude are made on National media without any objection from BJP (indeed a defense of his "motives") - from a party that is happy to object to absolutely every pro-Pakistan/pro-terrorist word ever said and rabidly attacks any attempts to raise questions - this raises serious questions about the BJP government's stand with regard to Hafiz Saeed, and more importantly, his views on Kashmir that were neatly sidestepped, but are a core issue. The government's silence on this interview is ominous.

The interview sounds like Vaidik is out to build relationships and there is absolutely no distinction in the importance given to the meetings with Nawaz Sharif and other official government representatives and Hafiz Saeed. In fact, Hafiz Saeed is compared MORE favorably. In a BILATERAL discussion often featuring India's Prime Minister.

Given that there is no censure, nor any specific interrogation of Vaidik after extensive contact with a wanted terrorist in a trip featuring meetings with official Pakistan government representatives, is this rubbish is actually sanctioned by Modi?

This interview and the complete lack of scrutiny is a FUBAR of massive proportions, that a completely prostrated media is happy to ignore. It raises questions about the government's intentions with regard to prosecuting terrorist acts against India, entities that are actively trying to separate Kashmir from India and the overall questions of developing relations between extremists of the two countries. NONE of which can be good for India.

If Hafiz Saeed is innocent or mistakenly accused, his name should first be cleared officially before such overtures. Regardless, abundant public speeches inciting large crowds against India exist, and such overtures seem inappropriate even if he were not guilty in 26/11. And if there is no change in status in India considering him guilty in 26/11, then what Ved Pratap Vaidik did amounts to an action against India's interests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZQyS21Ut-s

Goes much to say how much the new government is undermining India's interest that the only place this interview shows is on a channel that did a carefully scripted interview of Modi, the rest of media is silent and there is no censure or even official denial of legitimacy for Vaidik from the government or security agencies investigating in the wake of this travesty.

Update: Hafiz Saeed is a terrorist. Government of India has nothing to do with a journalist meeting him. ~ Arun Jaitley and some other denials and distancing by others. Still no comment on a channel broadcasting a blatantly pro-terrorist show.

This old piece remains among the best on the organized right wing takeover of Indian media.

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What have been the inroads made by the RSS into the media over the years?

It is not just the RSS, but the entire Sangh Parivar. That includes frontal organizations like the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and also the BJP. I make this distinction because there are a number of people who are currently with the BJP or the NDA, but they don’t have a RSS background. Over the years, there have been many journalists who have been sympathetic towards the Sangh Parivar; some were open supporters and others were not so open supporters of the Hindutva ideology. Such individuals have for many years supported the BJPand its earlier incarnation – the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. I will give you an example. The late Girilal Jain, former editor of The Times of India, was a very sophisticated proponent of Hindutva. He was not a crass fanatic who would say that all Hindus are good and all Muslims are bad. He was far, far more sophisticated in his arguments. The essence of his views was similar to what the BJP and RSS propagate, namely, that the Hindu tradition has somehow been neglected by successive Congress governments, that successive governments had appeased the Muslims and thereby discriminated against the majority community or the Hindus. Mr Jain was, however, never a member of the Jan Sangh or the BJP There are other senior journalists who have been far more overt and open in their support for the BJP, individuals like M.V. Kamath and Dr Swapan Dasgupta.

Were these only a few individual supporters or was there a Sangh Parivar plan to garner support in the media?

There were individuals who were ideologically sympathetic towards the Parivar, people like Manoj Raghuvanshi or Rajat Sharma. Rajat had an RSS background and he had been attending shakhas from his childhood. As a student he was a leading functionary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. He was jailed during the Emergency while he was a student of the Shri Ram College of Commerce in Delhi University. These were individuals who were very clearly aligned, first with the RSS, then with the Bharatiya Jan Sangh and the BJP. These individuals never formed any association, but they were known to be sympathetic to the BJP and the ideology of the RSS. They were often formally and informally briefed by leaders of theSangh Parivar.

So the Sangh Parivar, years ago, had a plan or a strategy of entering the media?

Perhaps it was not a coherent game-plan or a well-defined strategy. You must remember, if you exclude the period when Morarji Desai was in power in1977-78 and all the way through till February 1998, barring the 13 day period in May 1996, the BJP was always in the Opposition. So it did not think in terms of developing a group of sympathizers in the media. It was only in the mid-1990s that ideologues of the Sangh Parivar thought of developing a more coherent strategy which was part of their overall game-plan. This wasthe plan to woo all the influential sections and organs of Indian society, be it the judiciary, the defence services, the bureaucracy, or the police. There was already in the media, an informal club of sympathetic individuals who kept saying: “Give the BJP a chance”. Only when the BJP sensed that the party would come to power that a strategy developed. Throught he informal club of sympathizers more journalists were picked up. Then there were the opportunists who joined in. You must remember that the Sangh Parivar is not monolithic, there are factions within it. When in the Opposition they spoke in different voices – liberal Vajpayee, moderate Jaswant, hardliner Advani. In the media too, among the sympathizers of the BJP, there were hardliners and moderates. After the core group, came the hangers-on. There were very definite gains to be accrued from those close to power. They became beneficiaries of government patronage and such journalists were included in the Prime Minister’s entourage, they travelled in style and comfort at the expense of the taxpayer. I have been on some of these junkets and I know what happens. There are drinks, lavish gifts, five-star hotel rooms with a hamper of goodies waiting, royal treatment. And at the end of the day, there is a small story to file. There are hundreds of accredited, bona-fide journalists, but only a limited number can travel with the Prime Minister. The way they are picked and chosen makes the difference. There’s tremendous scope for discretion. If fifty journalists are to chosen, about ten or fifteen would be from the top papers or television channels while the selection of the rest is determined by the Prime Minister’s Media Advisor Ashok Tandon or his officer on special duty Sudheendra Kulkarni. Even if the selection of journalists is supposed to be made by the Press Information Bureau, officials in the PMO often decide who is included and who is left out. The bureaucrats are invariably subservient to the political appointees.

What kinds of favours have been given by the government to journalists?

Very concrete, material favors. The Unit Trust of India is the repository of the savings of 20 million Indians. Since the BJP and the NDA has been in power, the UTI has sanctioned loans to at least four media companies headed by sympathizers. These direct beneficiaries include Jain Studios headed by Dr J. K. Jain, who was a former BJP MP and member of the party’s national executive; Pritish Nandy Communications promoted by Pritish Nandy, Shiv Sena MP; BAG Films led by Anuradha Prasad (wife of Rajiv Shukla, Rajya Sabha MP belonging to the Loktantrik Congress); CMYK Printech Limited, publisher of the Pioneer newspaper, edited by Chandan Mitra.

If you speak to Pritish Nandy, Chandan Mitra, Dr Jain or Rajiv Shukla, they will all tell you – so what’s wrong if the UTI has sanctioned loans to our companies. These are credit-worthy projects, they would contend and hence, there is nothing wrong if a government-controlled financial institution like the UTI loans money to projects which are bankable. After all, a loan is a loan and it will be repaid as per certain terms and conditions. This may be factually correct but what is not said is the following: the UTI might have hundreds and thousands of applications for loans, but it often chooses to extend loans to specific organizations and not others. It is hardly a coincidence that these organizations happen to beheaded by or associated with individuals whose sympathies for the Sangh Parivar are well known.

Is there a similar trend in the language press or TV channels?

In large sections of the Hindi-speaking belt, there are innumerable journalists as well as newspaper and magazine owners who have been very blatant in their support for the Sangh Parivar. To some extent their support may be guided by their own personal ideological inclinations, but I suspect that many of them currently support the BJP because it happens to be in power. There are some like the owners of the Dainik Jagaran chain of newspapers who never disguised their sympathy for the BJP.

You have talked of the opportunists who want to be close to the power- that-be. Would that not be true for any government? What is the special danger at present that there is such a swing to the right?

You are right. To some extent, this is true of all governments. Earlier it was the Congress. Even during the United Front government, I K Gujral appointed those who were close to him. As far as the Sangh Parivar is concerned, they have tasted power for the first time. So in a sense the BJP is incorporating some of the worst aspects of previous regimes. It took many decades for the Congress governments to become thoroughly corrupt. But it took the BJP just a few years. Earlier governments too would shower favors and patronage on sympathetic journalists by taking them on foreign trips, by giving them land at throwaway prices, by giving them access to government accommodation at highly subsidized rates. The BJP and Sangh Parivar learnt this game faster and to an extent, did it more efficiently. Their ideology is a divisive ideology and is against democratic norms, against the very essence of democracy, and to that extent against minorities. They may claim they are in favor of secularism but we know they are not. To that extent, once these individuals are at the helms of important organs of society they do considerable damage to the entire Indian society. So just as the Hindutva ideology is damaging the legal system, the defence services, the bureaucracy, so also the media is getting damaged.

So it’s not just a matter of corruption or doling favours; it is basically the question of ideology?

Absolutely. There is no doubt about that.

You would remember that even during the massacre of Sikhs in 1984, there was an upsurge of communal feelings. The minorities, especially the Muslims, though not under direct attack, felt insecure and threatened. How do you explain that? As I mentioned earlier, the seeds of what you see today, were sown earlier. The group of journalists sympathetic to the Sangh Parivar has been around for along time in the profession. They were ideologically oriented. Some claim they were independent but others like Rajat Sharma had very strong roots in the RSS from childhood, adolescence and youth. They were not very organized because they were not in power. The club was a very informal grouping. Even the BJP’s strategy was not very coherent. It existed in the past but it was not so coherent, not as articulate as it became around the time the BJP and the Sangh Parivar sensed that they were going to be in power in New Delhi. After they came to power, the strategy became clearer and better defined. Once in power, they were able to expand and extent their influence because they were able to bestow favours. The patronage element came in.

Is patronage only favours and junkets?

No, patronage also comes in the form of employment. Former journalists are serving as personal secretaries and assistants. A former journalist is on the personal staff of Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resources Development. And perhaps it is no coincidence that the same individual used to once work for the Panchajanya. Similarly, other journalists were employed by the party and the PMO. Kanchan Gupta is a classic example. He worked in The Statesman, The Telegraph, and The Pioneer. Then he joined the BJP, then the PMO and now he has left the government and joined a private television firm headed by Ramesh Gandhi. Then there are the opportunists. Take the case of Subhash Chandra who heads the Zee group of companies. One bright day, he was seen addressing a public rally of Swayamsevaks at Agra. Subsequently, when the Zee group’s affairs were being investigated by government agencies, he began to adopt a critical stand vis-a-vis the government. A classic case of opportunism. It cuts both ways. The same person who never flaunted his RSS links suddenly chose to address a rally of Swayamsevaks to underline his Hindutva credentials and when all this did not help him expand his business empire, he apparently started singing a different tune. The problem with opportunists is that they will help you when it suits them and ditch you when the going gets tough. The other thing, as stated earlier, is that the Sangh Parivar is not a monolithic organization. Dr. J. K. Jain, who would swear his loyalty to the bosses at Jhandewalan (where the New Delhi offices of the RSS are located), carried out a campaign against Brajesh Mishra, the principal secretary to the Prime Minister and national security advisor. So secular-minded people should realize how to utilize the divisions within the Sangh Parivar. There are the hardliners, the moderates, the opportunists and the downright corrupt.

Is not this notion of hardliners and moderates really false?

Yes, but only up to a point. Because if it did not exist, this government would have been running quite smoothly. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Vajpayee currently finds that the enemy within is creating more headaches for him than the enemy without.

Is this not merely a strategy?

Yes. It was a very good strategy when they were in the Opposition. You confuse your opponent when you speaking many voices. But when you are in power, you have to show unity. You cannot afford to be seen to be a divided family. Then your credibility gets negatively affected. This is the weakness of the BJP. Secular forces have to realize this weakness and exploit it.

So ideologically there is no difference between Vajpayee and Advani?

There is no difference. But the BJP and the Sangh Parivar have been able to effectively exploit the division in the ranks of those opposed to them. The secular forces have to take a leaf from their book and learn how to exploit the Sangh Parivar’s internal differences.

What is the economics of the various religious channels? They don’t appear to have advertisements. How do they survive?

Unlike countries like the USA where there is a long tradition of religious channels, in India, they run on donations. They have no advertising support. They are not commercial organizations. They are run ostensibly by those who are donating money for these religious bodies.

Why have these channels proliferated?

One, because of the general attempt by the ruling party and the ruling elite to emphasize the so-called ‘Hindu’ tradition and to create an overall ambience, an atmosphere of religiosity, where to be religious is ‘in’ and irreligious ‘out’. The other aspect has something to do with technology. It is that much easier to start a channel today. It costs less money. You will see that most of these channels are very boring. It has one talking head who will talk for hours on end and give you long sermons. The cost of production of television programmes has come down drastically in recent times. The cost of leasing a transponder on a satellite has come down. Another aspect is related to the fact that large sections of non-resident Indians (NRIs) have become supportive of the BJP. If you put yourself in the shoes of an average NRI, who, being located outside his country of origin, feels the need to assert his or her identity much more than the average Indian. You are in a foreign land, in a society in which you represent a minority. You need to assert your Hindu identity more than many Hindus who live in India. This was realized very early by the Sangh Parivar and they tapped resources from them not only for the BJP but also for television channels. Though I have no evidence, I think such channels could be beneficiaries of some of the hard currency that has been donated to organizations sympathetic to the BJP. Just as this money has been used to fund various activities like the Rath Yatra and the whole Ram Mandir business, I will not be surprised if some of the money has been used to fund television channels and media activities.

What are your comments about Hindutva on the net?

There is a group of NRIs based in the USA. These people are very active, they scour various sources for any news that fits their ideological purpose. So if a brick of any temple is damaged anywhere in the world and is reported even in an obscure publication, it will surely be on that website. They are today talking about the “genocide” of Hindus. They are going into detailed discourses of genocides of various communities, like the Jews by Hitler. They are trying to draw parallels to the alleged genocide of Hindus. I find that a lot of this information is circulating on the web. There is a lot of provocative and fanatical information on the web. They use language that hard-core racists and fascists use to preach hatred. I notice that it is often very difficult to trace and track down those responsible for spreading hatred. These people would encourage anti-Islamic and anti-Christianity propagandists. Odd bits of information that can be construed to be against the tenets of Islam or against Christianity will be very prominently displayed. According to an article in a June issue of The New York Times , a particular website called hinduunity.org has been set up by a 30-year-old Indian who is getting support from a right-wing Jewish organization (Rabbi Kaha) which openly espouses violence against Palestinians. The following are some quotes from this website –

“We are fighting the same war. Whether you call them Palestinians, Afghanis or Pakistanis, the root of the problem for Hindus and Jews is Islam. ”

“Secularism is not an option. ”

“The loot, plunder and mass Hindu genocide that occurred in the 1, 400 years of Islamic rule in India cannot be forgotten. Hindu militancy is the only solution. ”

This website provides links to other websites set up by supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the RSS, the BJP and the Bajrang Dal. It also gives a hit-list of the enemies of Hindutva. The internet is a relatively recent phenomenon so these websites are also recent. Some of these are very active. Many are based in the USA. Not only are they praising Hindus but they are also denigrating other religions. It is very interesting when they repeatedly talk of genocide of Hindus in Kashmir, in Bangladesh and in Afghanistan. The websites played up stories of Hindus being asked to wear a certain dress in Afghanistan. They would deliberately play up these stories and ignore many other aspects. Though the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are the most economically backward classes in Indian society, it is also true that tribes in India have not been exterminated like they have been in the USA and Australia. They remain economically very backward and exploited. But there has never been the kind of genocide in this part of the world as there has been in Africa, North America, Latin America (in the Amazon) and in Australia. Facts like these would never be highlighted in the websites run by Hindu fanatics.

What should be the strategy of the secular media in countering fundamentalism?

The secular media has to learn to use the same technology, the same weapons to counter their propaganda and hatred. Today it has become relatively easy to set up websites, relatively inexpensive to start television channels and produce TV programmes. The way to counter these people is to pay them back in the same coin. The same tools, gadgets and technology should be used to highlight their falsehoods and lies, their propaganda and to present the other side of the story. The difference, I think, should be that one should not try to match their virulence and abuse with abuse, but match it with a sober, scientific, and rational reasoning. Use their technology but don’t use their style or their content. Their style is absolutely venal, their content is lies. Countervenality by grace and magnanimity and counter lies with truth. I believe that all those individuals who are secular minded and who believe that the proponents of Hindutva are dividing the country, need to get active. I want to emphasize that those within the media who have been critical of the government’s policies, the secular elements, are not very united. They are fighting battles in isolation. They need to close their ranks and come together.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is a journalist with more than 24 years of experience in various media, including print, radio, television and the internet. He is currently director of the School of Convergence

This post has been republished from jananatyamanch.org

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The role of paid media in putting the final touches on the Narendra Modi facade.

As Modi's war on India reaches its final stages, skilled professionalism carefully wipes out any specks on the elaborate facade.

  1. Mukesh Ambani sues the government for his oil prices, seemingly without waiting for a BJP rule, just in time for elections. In an astonishing display of media independence, all of Indian media refuses to serve his interests even if he owns major stakes in several of them, and plod along determinedly covering cliches. They, with their ready intellectual panels don't lift a finger to help his interests. Yeah. Right. Because gas prices are hardly a national issue! Why should they cover when the election circus is cued for broadcrebuttingast? At best, this is to create a perception in the minds of people that Ambani isn't counting on Modi to lay golden eggs. The timing of the reminder is very elegant too. Day after campaigning ends in Varanasi, so no question of anyone reminding which MLA controls which portfolios in Gujarat and since when, on the ground in Varanasi.
  2. Carefully scripted news interviews to known supporting journalists have served to project a facade that Modi has answered critics transparently, when he wasn't criticized at all on the interviews. Interviewers have managed to not ask him anything that will get him nailed. Some of this has been so blatant, that the India TV interview was ridiculed for having an applause track in the form of a worshipful audience the way comedy shows have a laughter track - regardless of what he said. This saw Qamar Waheed Naqvi, editorial director resigning in disgust, though Rajat Sharma seems to not understand what was wrong with the interview. After all, it was live, no?
  3. Print interview carefully authored by someone not Modi, in language way beyond anything Modi has shown competence with carefully plaster over some of the more skillful perception juggling that Modi probably couldn't handle in person. Thankfully, this interview finally upgrades the Modi trolls from the Subramanian Swamy issued "Naxals" to "Maoists" apart from the perception mongering of Modi as a moderate leader. Incidentally, this is the same Modi that called "trophy" "toffee" in a speech attended by thousands. "Anachronistic" and "detriment" used by Modi? I haven't heard him speak English that well ever, and not even his Hindi speeches cover the meaning of these words in the manner used in the interview. Would like to hear the audio recording of the interview to believe it isn't paid media.
  4. Within two days, Modi appears before the usually shouting, now silent Arnab, manages to speak uninterrupted for as long as he likes and fixes another major criticism of Maya Kodnani being on his cabinet saying there were no charges against her when he appointed her. Right. An FIR 12 days after the riot couldn't result in charges in five years, is what he is saying, in super efficient Gujarat. So which one does it mean? Super efficient at preventing criminals from coming to justice or so efficient that entire fact finding committee reports couldn't make the Chief Minister aware of the grave acts of Maya Kodnani? Arnab lets it pass like the lamb that he is.
  5. The interview with Arnab actually goes a step ahead and claims Modi to be the victim of media not reporting things he says. This is rather rich, speaking on a channel that officially ran tags mud slinging his opponents using interpretations worthy of being issued by BJP trolls themselves and on the same day as Modi hogging Prime Time TV as per CMS media analysis was the other important headline related with him. And he actually says "When I made her a Minister, she was not facing any charges, for your information. But still, I feel she has the right to get justice for herself from many courts. As a citizen, she has that right. Let her have it." Has he forgotten that Maya Kodnani was convicted? He still doesn't seem to think there was any mistake in appointing her to power. Lucky for him, Arnab is such a tolerant fellow.

These are just some examples, but the final stage of the Modi make up is basically to collect all criticism and answer it in a way that fools all but those aware of issues with open collusion with the media. The task now is to present plausible explanations for as much criticism as possible before people press buttons on EVMs - whether the explanation is true or not.

22

Before the dust settled on the sniggering at the unabashed fan worship of Narendra Modi in what was supposed to be an interview by the supposedly sharp Rajat Sharma, news comes in of senior journalist and editorial director Qamar Waheed Naqvi resigning from IndiaTV in protest of the "fixed" interview.

The interview in question took "staged interview" to a whole new level from Modi's staged interview with Madhu Kishwar (which later turned out to be old footage from her research for her worshipful epic on Narendra Modi). The audience for Modi's interview with Rajat Sharma was packed with Modi fans who cheered at every single thing he said, while Rajat Sharma was acting like the sub-heading on an article optimized for Search Engines - highlighting the content rather than questioning anything.

To the best of my knowledge, the much acclaimed interview neither brought up any new information on Modi nor posed any uncomfortable questions.

Qamar Waheed Naqvi's resignation in protest of the interview has gone unreported by mainstream media (as expected) and fits into a larger pattern of omerta on anything that makes BJP look bad in the run up to the election.

This fits into an election season strangely devoid of many experienced voices being nudged out of public vision. Another example of a missing commentator who won't bend ethics is P Sainath. He doesn't appear to have written on the Hindu this year at all, while tweets on Twitter indicate that the last anyone heard from him was when he pointed out in his Keynote Speech at "Zeitgeist" (a media conference by St Xavier’s College) on "Structural compulsions of the media to lie" that the coverage of Aam Aadmi Party changed drastically after they took on Ambani.

While Sainath is known best for his ground breaking work on the Agrarian Crisis, he is among the leading commentators on paid media and elections. His silence in what is turning out to be a Modi season of media is a story of its own.