Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #234 - Journalism as Weapon

When Journalists turn into masterminds, Journalism becomes a Weapon of Mass Destruction. For, it is nothing else but information bandied around through human ideological intervention.

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Stories


Information is power. That we have been told again and again. The biggest fraud played on mankind by the power-hungry has been the sanctification of the keepers of such information. From the time of the Roman Empire to today, information has been spun and falsified and spread as truth. Sometimes to win wars and sometimes to rain death upon society through mobs and riots. The sanctification of information keepers has allowed that unhindered.

What journalists have done via their information interventions in India - whether it was the Gujarat riots or the insurrection in Delhi - is to use information as a weapon and orchestrate violence.

They aren’t journalists anymore. But violence masterminds.


how India’s journalists turned mob bosses

On Jan 28th, an FIR was filed in Uttar Pradesh against Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pandey, and editors of Caravan magazine for spreading fake news and provoking communal violence.

These are the people who had through fake tweets, fake news and hateful comments tried to incite mobs for creating an insurrection in the capital.

Meanwhile, Rajdeep Sardesai has been taken off the air by India Today.

Not only did he tweet about that fake news, but he also went ahead and did an entire program around that in order to create a “movement” over something that had not even happened.

The news took the country by storm. Sardesai even went live on India Today, explaining how the young farmer was shot by cops and why this would become a really big movement as farmers from across the country would seek ‘Justice for Navreet’. (Source)

Here is the fake tweet from “The Caravan” as well.

But what really happened was this.

It is very clear from the CCTV footage that the guy Navneet Singh wanted to trample the police with his tractor. Instead, he crashed into the barricades and the tractor overturned - killing him.

That was the truth. As plain as daylight.

But the many news reporters were spinning it otherwise.

Meanwhile, the so-called farmers on tractors were busy trampling people under their vehicles within the “protests” as this video bears out. But since they were being run over by the fancy tractors of ultra-fancy farmers, it was all ok! (Note - the video below is quite disturbing!)

Clearly, in this episode of anarcho-Leftist-Khalistani violence, new fake news was created while the real news (very disturbing) was buried. Of course, many of us have also seen how the cops were thrown from the wall by the violent mob.

Over time, the false and fake news circulated goes out further than the real news. Specifically, if that is carried by the influencers. University of East London academic Dr. Fadi Safieddine and colleagues had used the big-data simulation tool Biolayout Express to simulate the variables affecting the spread of fake news. The biggest factor was the lack of validation tools but also the impact of large influencers.

During their simulations, the team were able to demonstrate that having 30 per cent of users check if a post is fake can help stop the spread of fake news to its source. However, and keeping all variables the same, having an influencer with over 1,000 dedicated followers can make controlling spread a lot harder. The simulation under these circumstances shows 54 per cent of users are needed to be able to validate and check a post to stop it propagating. As such, the team concluded that the only way to stop the spread of fake news has to be in the form of an online tool that allows users to perform a validation check on an article. (Source)

Fake news has become a very dangerous weapon in how it is able to establish a lie which has the potential to create riots and violence. The hatred that was allowed to perpetuate amongst the protesters was responsible for the dehumanizing of not just the current government officials but also the police force. All that happened with the narratives that were spread.

What do you think the report stating “police shot a Sikh farmer” was meant to achieve?

Even if such a thing had happened, was it responsible journalism to share it? Worse amplify it? Specifically when the protesters were armed and violently attacking the police with tractors and swords?

It is obvious that the goal of Rajdeep Sardesai as well as others who promoted the “fake news” of “Sikh farmer shot by cops” was to enrage the mobs further and take the situation completely out of hand!

Sardesai was not behaving like a journalist - but a mob boss. He was not reporting the news. He wanted to create the news by unleashing violence on India’s capital.

Its been a long process

What has happened with the Rajdeep Sardesai case and what he has been doing all these years along with other so-called journalists is a basic propaganda eco-system at work.

The whole eco-system becomes a well-oiled machine if a strong enough persecutory governance system has ensured that no one can contradict the government agenda. And this whole eco-system creation with media at its center works in a collaborative manner.

Propaganda as we define it in Chapter 1—the manipulation of public beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors for political ends, framed in terms that reinforce partisan narratives—is much easier to insert into a system whose audiences, outlets, and elites have nothing to gain by disputing or disbelieving it and everything to lose by doing so, and will survive longer and propagate further in it. The network takes these inputs and converts them into a partisan package delivered to its various constituents: a steady flow of bias-confirming stories that create a shared narrative of the state of the world; a steady flow of audiences, viewers, or clicks for the outlets; and a steady flow of voters highly resilient to arguments made by outsiders on outlets that are outside the network. Outlets within the network are not designed to check or refute propaganda as long as it is consistent with the partisan narrative. There is nothing to gain and everything to lose. (Source - OxfordUniversity)

The eco-system that has been created based on Padma-awards, state doles, jaunts and benefits is an echo chamber. We saw how the entire eco-system jumped up in unison against the portrait of Netaji unveiled by the President by claiming it was the picture of an actor. Only to be proven wrong. Because of which some of them deleted their tweets. And, this was on an event by the President of India!

But it was never about being right or wrong. It is about reinforcing the propaganda that “is consistent with the partisan narrative.”

The prevalent model of UPA and Communist regimes nurturing pusillanimous “literati” is the tradition from the ancient Chinese era that the Communist Party adopted.

It was later injected into the political bloodstream of the Congress-Left machinery.

Meanwhile, the global actors who are adept at building false propaganda have already started spinning the violence that was unleashed on Delhi on the 26th.

This is the same commission that came up with the “Incubator Babies” stunt just before the first Iraq invasion by Bush Senior. (Please read this to know more details of that story - Issue #224 - The Tech Armageddon)

This is the reason why the Modi government’s extreme restraint was so important for India.

market corner: 10 quick bytes

  1. WhatsApp makes logging in on desktop more secure, begins rolling out biometric authentication feature - more

  2. US economy contracts in 2020; worst performance since 1946 - more

  3. A month after the Delhi High Court passed adverse remarks against Amazon.com Inc., the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has launched a probe against the Seattle, US-based e-commerce firm to investigate whether it violated the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, (FEMA) in its deal with Future Retail Ltd - more

  4. InvITs, REITs may raise Rs 8 lakh crore in 5 years, says Crisil report - more

  5. IRCTC net profit declines 62% to Rs 78 crore in December quarter - more

  6. Airtel adds 4.4 million subscribers in November; Vi loses 2.9 million - more

  7. Swiggy’s FY20 revenue jumps 127% even as losses widen by 65% and expenses nearly double - more

  8. BITS Pilani to invest Rs.1500 crore to open new B-School in Mumbai, with faculty from the top business schools globally, including Wharton, University of Texas Austin, and Singapore Management University - more

  9. Infosys CEO to accelerate hiring from US, Europe - more

  10. Indian e-commerce market will be bigger than modern trade by FY25. The Kirana ecosystem, which has become the catalyst to the rise of e-commerce marketplaces including Amazon, Flipkart, and others, is expected to see 5-6 percent growth during the FY20-25 period - more

nota bene

Ram Setu: Indian scientists are set to undertake an expedition to ascertain details about Ram Setu also known as Adam’s bridge. The mention of Ram Setu between India and Sri Lanka can be traced in Mahabharata but there is little scientific evidence to prove its formation. The scientific expedition is set to be undertaken to date the chain of sediments and corals that form the Ram Setu. The CSIR–National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa has submitted a project proposal to undertake a study of the sediments and ascertain Ram Setu’s origin. The central advisory board on archaeology functions under the Archaeological Survey of India (Source)

Hours after India Today put its Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai off-air for two weeks over spreading fake news during the Tractor Rally riots, he has reportedly quit the channel. According to sources, Rajdeep Sardesai was found guilty of spreading two major fake news in just one week, after which he was suspended for two weeks by the media house. Earlier in the day, media reports suggested that he was taken off-air by India Today and also faced one-month salary cut. Reportedly, India Today has taken the unprecedented step to penalise the senior journalist violated social media policies of the media house several times. (Source)

Divyaang Train Passengers: Indian Railways’ big step for divyaang travelers! From now on, divyaang passengers can navigate Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station with ease. In a bid to ensure accessibility to all, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station has been made more accessible for visually impaired railway passengers. According to the Railway Ministry, the national transporter has installed braille signages at key locations. This feature will help divyaang passengers to find out information and location of various facilities at the railway station.  (Source)

China to Taiwan - “Independence means war!”: China toughened its language towards Taiwan on Thursday, warning after recent stepped-up military activities near the island that “independence means war” and that its armed forces were acting in response to provocation and foreign interference. (Source)

Cigarette Sales pick up: The decades-long decline in U.S. cigarette sales halted last year as people in lockdown lit up more frequently and health concerns around e-cigarettes caused some vapers to switch back to cigarettes. Before the pandemic, U.S. cigarette unit sales had been falling at an accelerating rate, hitting 5.5% in 2019, as smokers quit or switch to alternatives like e-cigarettes. The pandemic put the brakes on that slide. In 2020, the U.S. cigarette industry’s unit sales were flat compared to the previous year, according to data released Thursday by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc (Source)

video corner: Kashmir - the lost essence of India

This is a beautiful travel video of how Kashmir is today. The anchor is Meiyang Chang. We have showcased his travel video before as well. One of the reasons is that he weaves the spiritual content of the area within his travels. He does that here as well. More importantly, he shares things that are off the beaten track. He does the same here.

Today’s ONLINE PAPER: Check out today’s “The Drishtikone Daily” edition. - THE DRISHTIKONE DAILY

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