B. Raman is a former officer of RAW (Research and Analysis Wing, the external intelligence wing of India). He is also the author of the book, the Kaoboys. On his blog, he regularly discusses many strategic issues. Occasionally, he also talks about hate on the internet. He is also a great admirer of Barkha Dutt, and misses no opportunity to praise her sky-high.
Recently, the Congress party announced that Sonia Gandhi went to the US for getting a surgery done and hours later Tehelka reports that Sonia Gandhi is in a cancer hospital for a surgery. While there were different viewpoints on how this serious matter can be kept so secret, Barkha Dutt emphatically declares that Sonia Gandhi is entitled to her privacy (it matters little though, that a NDTV website published the video of an ailing Steve Jobs).
B.Raman writes a blog post titled "VENOMOUS THOUGHTS THROUGH THE INTERNET" and discusses how Sonia Gandhi's illness has bought out the worst in some tweeters. He is disturbed with their thought process, through which they were hoping (or justifying) she would get more sick. Also, in this process B.Raman also brings in the "hatred" targetted towards Barkha Dutt (believe it or not, yes!).
So far, so good.
Now, this article has been picked by rediff. Small change in the headline though. "A venemous glee over the internet". And then the article is split into a slide show. First slide has a slide with an accompanying screenshot of a "I hate Sonia Gandhi" facebook page. Rediff made it look like as if there exists only a "I hate only" page for Sonia Gandhi. Slides 2 and 3 were the most contentious.
Slide 2 had a screenshot with search results on twitter for "Barkha Dutt".
Silde 3 had a screenshoot with search results on twitter for "Sagarika Ghose".
And in slide 3, tweets of yours truly appeared in that screenshot! Now, I do not believe this was deliberate targetting of certain individual tweeters. This is a very very poor editorial call. A total of 8 tweets have been shown on slides 2 and 3 - Not a SINGLE one of them is venomous, nor is there glee over them. Merely having tweets there just because Barkha and Sagarika are "mentioned" is naive. And if those tweets were "chosen" after a scrutiny, then it is a desperately cheap judgement call.
Just tweeting about Sagarika and Barkha does not amount to "venom". This kind of blind assumption that anyone criticising Barkha (because of the way she conducts interviews) and Sagarika (because of...ahh well!) have hatred written all over them and need not be taken seriously is very dangerous. Already Barkha uses this logic to not answer anyone questioning her strongly. It was sad to see rediff fall for this bait.
We requested rediff to provide us equal space to write a a counter argument, but rediff ended up removing those screenshots from the website. I would have preferred if that space was provided, but alas!