Ignorance, Idiots, Indices, And India. Ours. Theirs. Yours, Too, Part 3.

IgnorantIdiotsIndices part2 HEADER

Posted: Apr 5, 2024   7:23:39 PM   | by Pascal-Denis Lussier

BS is BS, No Matter the Language Used to Call it so

Continuing from part 2

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As we continue, let’s first have another look at that Hindutva-and-public-dissemination-related statement from part 1, and also part 2:

Hindutva doesn't allow the public dissemination of anything that portrays India in a bad light; Hindus and Hindi culture must always be celebrated.

The implications of such a point of view are clear, not to mention very visible: India has one of the more biased, hence, least trustworthy news media, period.

This is a subject I’ve now amply touched on, having offered ample complaints, so that I no longer hesitate to make such a claim. In fact, the bias is so skewed and bad, and the framing so one-sided and limited at times, that I’ve a hard time believing that anyone with a reasonable level of media savvy can see the bulk of Indian media as anything other than propaganda. Heck, I’ll even go so far as to qualify the outlet description for a channel like Firstpost’s Vantage as pure BS.

Have any doubts? Well, dispelling those and establishing my claim as fact is mostly what this post focuses on, doing so by looking at a few examples of recent stories that were prominent on Indian news, and the treatment these stories received, betraying a severely warped partiality and an almost criminal-level hypocrisy.

As usual, I focus on one outlet in order to simplify matters—one of the tolerable but still annoyingly-skewed ones—but the story lines and perspectives that are under examination are those that have been widely pushed and adopted across all the main Indian media outlets.Punjab News Express big BSers

And if you question just how shamelessly Indian media is readily willing to lie to smear anyone or any entity as being evil or "anti-India" should New Delhi find itself in a disagreement or conflict with them, then consider the headline in that screengrab, which offers just one of many egregious, libelous, hence, unsubstantiated claims—see: major lie—put out by Indian media, published, despite a complete lack of proof, within the context of the Hardeep Singh Nijjar assassination and the Canada-India Khalistan-related row that had resulted out of the matter, trying to paint Canada as a nefarious entity running an asylum scam in order to do harm to India. Brain damaged much? 

Con Text

Inseparable from this particular discussion is the Indian political context and the staunch pro-Hindu nationalism that the Modi-led BJP is ushering in, having increasingly merged religion with government, now making it impossible to argue against an ethno-religious Hindu state being implemented and enforced, this despite claims to the contrary by the very government clearly instituting this direction.

A few telling acts that have been carried out under PM Mod and the BJP:

  • Renaming of Islamic city names with Hindu ones.
  • Islamic sites have been destroyed; this includes many mosques.
  • History textbooks have been rewritten “to legitimize Hindu national ideology.”
  • Historical remnants and texts that contradict or challenge the Hindutva have been banned or destroyed.
  • Many journalists critical of Modi and the BJP have been jailed.
  • Laws have been introduced or modified, these changes explained as being for the betterment of all, yet, despite being arguably so in some instances, these clearly establish a trend whereby the rights of all but Hindus are being restricted.

Further, along with many important changes, the words “secular” and “socialist” were removed from the preamble in English copies of the constitution given during the opening ceremony of the new parliament; these had been “incorporated into the Constitution through the 42nd Amendment in 1976 during the Emergency imposed by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi … [t]hese terms were introduced to ensure the protection of minority rights and to stop wealthy individuals from controlling the economy.”

Relevant BJP officials claimed that this was an error—the English version contained the text in the original, pre-1976 constitution—but the rightwing BJP had already officially attempted, and failed, to remove both from the constitution on at least three occasions since Modi came into power in 2014. Also, Note that much emphasis is placed on distinguishing the Indian usage of the term “socialist” as being entirely removed from a communistic interpretation of such.

Truly damning, though, is an article titled, “Anti-Modi groups are a cult now. Modern-day ‘Shatranj ke Khiladi’ playing a losers’ game,” put out today by the Indian The Print, which is as biased and propagandistic as an outlet can be, not to mention way more focused on ads than on any semblance of quality content—as garbage as an outlet can possibly be.

As such, anything goes to push their perspective, even the stupidest of arguments imaginable, it seems, such as:

“[W]hen this camp says that there is ‘no level-playing field’ and democracy is in danger, they are not wrong. The use of the enforcement agencies is appallingly dictatorial and sinister. But they seem to be complaining about it from a place of lazy entitlement, as though they are too timid to overcome all these ‘enormous obstacles’. It is as though they expected the Modi regime to act otherwise and provide them a level-playing field! The Opposition is not willing to step up its game.

“The message they send is that they are not ready to battle it out and are just looking for an easy way back to power.”

That kind of comment and attack, that's when you know you're dealing with a totally brainless cult member, actually.

Saroj Giri, the author of that article, forgets to include herself and many of her journalist/reporting peers as being a clear part of all that has helped to establish that “no level-playing field” whilst also playing a key role in putting democracy in danger.

A proper understanding of the last, regarding “democracy”, takes us back to that statement mentioned at the top and in parts 1 and 2.

Mind you, in that article, along with that totally idiotic argument, Giri also states that blaming the mainstream, or Godi media, for any unfair playing field is absolutely foolish, given that mainstream media existed before the BJP came into power. How stupid can a journalist be, you ask? I give you Saroj Giri and The Print.

Taking into account what the mainstream news focuses on, anyone with a brain readily sees just how full of crap someone like Giri is, eager to put the stupidest of spins on anything in order to spew pro-BJP BS.

Although there’s plenty of examples to choose from, the recent “Katchatheevu Island Row” demonstrates the mean-spirited and dishonest games willfully played by the BJP government and the support from the godi media that such behaviour manages to garner.

Frankly, the details regarding ownership of the island and what was said fifty years ago are irrelevant to my point, but here's a brief overview:  

The Katchatheevu Island is an uninhabited small island that belongs to Sri Lanka, but ownership of the island was once contested, with India laying a claim to it, though doing so primarily for the fishing rights. The Congress Party, wanting to make a show of goodwill to Sri Lanka in 1974, is said to have “ceded” any claims to the territory. Since then, thousands of Indian fishermen have been arrested for illegally fishing in what’s now clearly Sri Lankan waters, leading to hundreds of boats having been seized by Sri Lanka.

Now, all of a sudden, PM Modi and members of his government have attacked the current Congress Party, blaming it for having gladly handed-over Indian land to Sri Lanka, and digging up old statements and presenting them as proof that Congress cares nothing about Indian sovereignty and about cherishing and protecting all territory belonging to India (Congress’ recently released Manifesto establishes quite the contrary).

Only one goal can explicate the BJP’s conduct on the matter: stir up anger within a portion of Indians ahead of voting; that's it. 

However, the Shiv Sena-UBT leader, Priyanka Chaturvedi, reminded all of a 2015 RTI (Right to Information) reply in the matter by today’s Minister of External Affairs (MEA) S. Jaishankar, asking him to “address the discrepancy”, for here’s a statement made by the then Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar in 2015:

"The 1974 agreement or the 1976 agreement did not involve either acquitting or ceding of territory belonging to India since the area in question had never been demarcated. Under the Agreement the island of Katchatheevu lies on the Sri Lankan side of the India Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line."

Perhaps mentioned by more, but that very telling and important flip flop in position from the very person vocally attacking Congress—no doubt on behalf of Modi—was addressed by only one outlet: The Tribune.

Now, anyone familiar with current political events in India is aware that many ministers have been arrested, fined, suspended, and/or publicly reprimanded for having said anything that PM Modi or the BJP have taken to be an insult.

Yet, has anyone ever heard a speech from Modi that wasn’t filled with endless insults hurled at any opposition member or party? Good luck finding just one. EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, is someone else’s fault, even new problems coming to light today are the Congress Party’s fault despite Modi being in power since 2014. I’ve never seen anything quite like it; even Trump proves to be more mature and reasonable than PM Modi on that front.

Modi lies, says many Indians

BS More Stunning than the Growth?

BS stuns more than growth

Here's another great example of shameless spin, this story featuring the Indian mainstream tendency to distort reality while suggesting that anyone—often the West—but India is at fault.

In this case, the Vantage host told viewers that, essentially, the economic growth experienced by India is so stunning, that jealous, controlling non-Indian nations have quickly reacted by "moving the goal posts". Per the segment's description: 

“India's economy beat expectations to post a GDP growth of 8.4%. Critics, including Bloomberg, attributed the rapid growth to 'data distortion'. Why is India's growth rate being questioned?”

As an aside: Personally, that a country should experience the “fastest economic growth” now, being one of the 'original and true, 'oldest civilizations’, and the country with the most people, seems to me like “late start” and “catching up” are what such a title truly signifies. "Fastest growing" repeated ad nauseum by Indian media as if something to marvel, just isn't that, in my opinion, and that of many economists, too. Investors looking for a quick buck are just about the only ones who are really impressed by such a qualifier. Seems that a 26-March Bloomberg piece agrees with me.

Don't believe own hype

Here's the problem: As far as I can tell, that article first appeared in Bloomberg India before appearing in its American counterpart; the Indian version is owned by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Group, which also owns Firstpost. That said, and sign that the host and her writers were well aware of the distortion they themselves were pushing: no one was really targeted which is unusual for Indian media; the whole segment was mostly one big whining session to promote India's growth while playing the victim, the last being typical behaviour from their media. 

Oh, by the way, the main author, Ruchi Bhatia, is Indian, the second, Dan Strumpf, is not, but he does specialize in South Asian politics, having written quite a bit on India for Bloomberg, usually with an Indian author as the primary one. India bigger BSer than Bloomberg

And here's the truly unprofessional bit: The host doesn't necessarily refute this "distortion", but simply explains it this way:

“Two reasons,” says the host, “either India’s tax collection has increased a lot, or the subsidy payments have fallen. Now, we don’t know which one is true, but forget the technicalities for now; focus on how important these numbers are.”

OK. Now it’s crystal clear; she’s not only a propagandist, she’s keenly aware of it. She deliberately chose to lie, her previous statement, her pace accelerating on the “subsidy” phrase within the first sentence as she speeds towards a ‘brush off’, wedging in an excuse that asks viewers to disregard any “why” to such a “blowout” result, all that matters is the blowout…

However, the article clearly spells out the issue, which is equally clearly documented: the government withdrew its subsidies, forcing a spend that boosted the GDP. Accordingly, all indicates that this "data distortion masks [a] slowdown."

So, really, what do the Vantage host and other godi media outlets have to gain through such manipulations, never mind the cheap and, obviously, fake indignation expressed?

Only one reason can explain this: they're misrepresenting reality in order to help PM Modi in the upcoming elections.

This goes beyond merely not presenting India in a bad light, and it touches on, quite heavily, that aspect of "democracy", doing harm to it in a manner that makes one question the veracity of said democracy in India, as many are rightfully doing. Calling it "the world's biggest democracy" alone doesn't make it so.   

Stunning Puerility

And here's even more 'stunning' hypocrisy from the Indian propagandists; the headline: "After bitter words, Muizzu seeks help from India".Playing the bully after being called a bully

Firstly, I've yet come across any proof of anything that would qualify as "bitter words" said against India by Maldives' newly-elected President, Mohamed Muizzu, the real bitterness expressed, and with the usual puerility seen in such matters, came from India. 

Muizzu had made it clear that, if elected, he wanted Indian soldiers present in the Maldives to be removed, a demand that offended the Indians to no end, at which point Indian media senselessly tried to bully Muizzu and the Maldives, even attaching all sorts of qualifiers to Muizzu, "pro-China" being the one favoured and widely adopted.

And, referring to the headline in that thumbnail, it's kind of funny that MEA Jaishankar would opt for more puerile bullying once claims of India being a bully were voiced by the Maldives.

With that, should anyone have expected anything other than more juvenile games and spins after Muizzu "asked India for help"?

But what help did the Maldives ask for? Muizzu is seeking debt relief.

Muizzu states: "The conditions we have inherited are such that there are very large loans taken from India,"

This is also kind of funny seeing all the lies spread by India regarding China's Belt and Road being nothing more than a debt trap. The Indians accused China non-stop for the dire economic situation that Sri Lanka had faced when, in truth, Western loans, especially through the IMF, were the real culprit, shadowing the debt that the island nation owed to China. Even the loans made to Sri Lanka by India, which followed a western structure, did more harm to Sri Lanka than China's.

And now that the Maldives are being crushed by a debt related to loans from India, the godi media spins this as Muizzu crawling back to its "closest ally" after having been "abandoned by China".

Truly laughable... but far more pathetic.

Perhaps Indian news outlets missed the following headline, by Bloomberg: "China Gives Maldives Defense Help as Indian Troops Leave", along with the sub: "Maldives signs agreement with China on military assistance".

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I'll stop here, and aim to wrap things up in a fourth part. However, for such to materialize, please read the following and please consider helping out: Update on the Street

Few may be able to understand just how deeply appreciated and welcomed this would be. Thanks.

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