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Saturday, January 16th, 2021

A ‘Normal Journalistic Report’ and a Clarification *

Nirmala Sitharaman BJP National Spokesperson,Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP National Spokesperson{ Nirmala Sitharaman ** }  A news dailyhas issued a clarification relating to a front page news report which appeared on 23 June 2013. “Modi in Rambo Act saves 15000” was given pride of place just below the masthead considering that the copy related to a Chief Minister who is the toast of the nation and from whom every day, ‘the nation wants to know’. To explain a boomeranged Rambo Act, a corner of page 9, close to the fold and deep inside, is indisputably, the best suited. With 175 years of experience to count on, it had creditably recognized the massiveness of the government’s advertisement budget and claimedthat the government wastrying to brow beat the media to toe their line. However, somewhere in its bureau, a hot serving was being readied with a sleight of hand;“relief”was changed to “rescue”, capped with the catchy ‘Rambo Act,’ Alas inadvertently, it was a service for a campaign of calumny. The news powerhouse’s respectability was enough for others in the trade to even write editorials based on this. For some it was Modi’s PR exercise, for some others he crossed the proverbial ‘lakshmanrekha.’ There was also one who, being completely outraged, called Modi a habitual liar. One another, teased by the visuals shown elsewhere, felt Modi went with his paraphernalia to airlift his old mother. A respected lady with well-honed writing skills couldn’t miss the opportunity. Sacrilegious to mistrust a well sourced front page under the banner report, she added to the lexicon by condemning the ‘Rambogiri.’ Such was the import of the report and such again the almighty source which carried this news that ministers in even competent ministries did not pause for a minute to check. They saw ‘rank opportunism;’ they saw Modi ‘milking a tragedy for political reasons,’ and they even saw ‘Modi tom-tomming myths.’ Another newly appointed media monitor of the ruling party parroted, “it doesn’t suit a leader of Modi’s stature ‘to claim’ he will come like a Rambo and fly with 15000 away.” Now, as we welcome the gracious and magnanimous clarification which sets standards in fair journalism, we wonder where and how those who jumped in haste, are wiping out the black ink on their visage, which is yet to dry. But the move from the ‘Rambo’ to the ‘puppy’ is too quick for even those who are searching for the tissue papers. The international agency did no such sleight of hand. Theirs was the daal-chawal variety. No spice or condiment added. That the Indian palate could savourit in all its direct plainness was perhaps unimaginable to the vigourouspurveyors of the India’s morality. How, but how, can this “insensitive remark” be allowed to go without an apology, they asked! Even more so because it refers (does it, indeed?) to a particular community! Competitive professionalism demands that everyone use the common grazing ground. And be sure, most stomped in. The clichéd lines such as “Modi, the polarizer should apologise” were ready. For all those who are compelled to have an evening out: Oh how boring, Modi again? That #*#*$* # - he keeps us busy with the TV channels! In this, and in the case of the one with today’s clarification, Modi the Chief Minister doing his duty and reaching out doesn’t seem to matter. The party that he is the leader of, doesn’t matter. The state and its people who elected him don’t matter. His very name is cannon fodder! Also, the clarification issued by the news daily does not mention his name or his party’s name as it has only magnanimously referred to their spokesperson. How can one ask for more? ___________________________________________________ Nirmala Sitharaman BJP National Spokesperson,Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP National Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman ** BJP National Spokesperson ________________ *Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC.



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