Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Media creates their own headlines..

The following piece was written for Niti Central. Reposting it here for reference :) 

Mr. R.P.Singh , former DG in CAG, came out of nowhere on Friday and said that the 2G loss calculation according to him was a mere Rs. 37,000 crore and not Rs. 1,76,000 crores. He also "revealed" that the chairman of the Public Accounts Commitee (PAC), Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi (of the BJP) influenced the final report by CAG - "revelations" that were enough for the TV media folks to go into a frenzy! 

Shortly after these "revelations", there was another news flash. "BJP stands exposed, says Sonia Gandhi". 

Bhupendra Chaubey of CNN-IBN interviewed Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi on these allegations and more. At 9:16 in this video interview  he asked Dr. Joshi:

"The Congress president has said that the tables have been turned and the BJP is being exposed"

Dr. Joshi replies. At 9:40 he says:

"Whosoever advised her to make that statement, I can only sympathize with them". 

Now let's get to "whosoever advised her". 

Next day, in this front page report of The Hindu, I read this (emphasis mine): 

Sonia Gandhi, responding to a question whether the BJP had been “exposed” by the former auditor’s revelations, said “Yes, absolutely I think so.”

Responding to a question whether the BJP has been "exposed"  - which means that she was posed a leading question by one of the journalists there! The advise came from a section of the media itself! 

A non-leading question would mean something like this: 

Q: Madam, what is your reaction to R.P.Singh's allegation that Mr. Murali Manohar Joshi has influenced the CAG report on 2G scam?
A: The tables have been turned and the BJP is being exposed.

Let's now sample some news reports that were out on the previous day. 

So now there is more confusion - was she also asked whether the row has backfired on the Opposition? 

NDTV video and some text accompanying it: 

After a meeting of the Congress core group today, Sonia Gandhi remarked that she thought the BJP has been "exposed". 

Exposed in double quotes and single quotes! 

No one on TV said that it was the reporters that asked the leading question. Only after reading this full PTI report that The Hindu has published, did I come to know of such a question being asked. Looks like some reports did pick up this PTI line at a later point of time.

Why is the headline so different than what actually transpired? Is there a video available of this rare moment of Sonia Gandhi speaking to the press? What were the other questions asked? Was she willing to face all of them? Did she walk away after merely commenting on the "exposed BJP"? 

Most importantly, why does that reporter (or reporters) think that the BJP has been "exposed"? How intelligent of the media to ask a leading question and then give the impression that those were Sonia Gandhi's words - and then tell the people that the Congress is fighting back? These are all questions that are lingering in the mind right now - questions for which answers might not be available at all! 


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