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Snide And Prejudiced

The English media scores a self-goal by misquoting Mohan Bhagwat, and displays its biases & refusal to fact-check.

 Bhagwat

The English media went into overdrive yesterday. They’d managed to find another misogynist to quote, and as a cherry on the sexist cake this quote was from Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the RSS, the English media’s favourite bug bear. According to most of the English press, Bhagwat, a chauvinistic prig, had the temerity to make a public speech stating that women are bound to look after their husbands by contract, and if they didn’t fulfil their duties, their husbands could and should leave them. And that a woman’s place is in the kitchen doing household chores. Many news channels ran with the story. And their public school educated reporters and editors tweeted and retweeted gleefuly with gay abandon, exposing the shakha-types.

Only problem, Bhagwat – whose main sin appears to be that he wears khaki bermudas despite the effect the vision might have on unsuspecting viewers – has been misquoted. He was commenting on the Western model of modernity. And in that context, he was articulating his view of their view. Get it? He said in the “modern” interpretation of marriage (not his), women are bound by contract to serve their husbands. He also said that husbands were bound to look after their wives. Much like women are supposed to look after household chores and keep their husbands satisfied, men are expected to provide for their wives and look after them, as per the modern version of the marriage contract. And if either the wife or husband didn’t manage to do so, the dissatisfied party breaks the contract and contracts a second or third, as per the modern version of the marriage contract. Get it?

Mohan Bhagwat’s speech –

But that’s too boring a story to run with. So let’s pillory the bermuda-clad wonder instead and say that “BHAGWAT SAYS WOMEN SHOULD STAY IN THE KITCHEN AND COOK”.  “AND THOSE WHO DON’T COO,K WELL SHOULD BE BEATEN”. Ok no one actually ran with that, but admit it, some of you were itching to. Yes you. You know who you are.

Here are just some of the reports which carried the incorrect quote.

NDTV , IBN , India Today , The Times Of India , Zee News , Indian Express

Only to have to retract the story the very next day. So the morning of January 7, 2013 saw a flurry of tweets from editors and journalists alike eating their words and wiping the egg off their faces. And of course, blaming ANI (which is everyone’s favourite whipping boy [after the RSS] ever since the Theek Hai fiasco) for posting the wrong story. Maybe, just maybe, the various news channels could have cross-checked the video (a mammoth 4-minute clip that too) themselves and then carried the story.

Thanks to the English media’s prejudice against the RSS and the right-wing, the RSS has managed to get a free PR campaign for itself. Suddenly, from being viewed as chauvinistic and misogynistic (not without reason), the RSS and Bhagwat have come across as misunderstood and wronged. Take a bow, o English media. You’ve done it again.

Mohan Bhagwat

Mohan Bhagwat

 

pierre fitter

 

sgarika ghose tweet

 

sagarika ghose

malini parthasarathy tweets

sagarika ghose tweets

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kanchana gupta tweets

kanchan gupta ani

 

 

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  • http://twitter.com/rajeshdipti Rajesh thakkar

    The Media ,specially English channels penchant for whipping the right wing has been long known,no wonder likes of Modi don’t care a two hoot for them,but for the credibility sake,dear english media,your slant is showing,………Beware……..

  • Satyam Sharma

    Repeated incidents of blatant bias, and factually-incorrect, political ideologically-motivated, agenda-driven, shoddy and yellow journalism like this one, are precisely what have caused ordinary folk like myself to develop an almost visceral hatred for the “left-lib Durbar establishment” of politicians, self-declared intellectuals and mainstream media journalists that have held the entire history, politics, economics and society (including the general discourse, the national narrative, etc) of post-independence India in their stranglehold. And when the common folk like us give it back to the establishment minions paying them in their own coin (now that Internet 2.0 and social media gives us the platform to do so), we are chided as being abusive and insolent.

    BTW, look at Sagarika Ghose’s hypocrisy. First, she thoroughly hammers Mohan Bhagwat and RSS for calling marriage a contract (and how he explained the western — it’s “western”, NL, not “modern” — idea of marriage-as-a-contract in the Indian context). But then when it became obvious that Bhagwat was actually *criticizing* such an idea and actually holds an entirely diametrically opposite view, Sagarika again disagrees with Bhagwat.

    But the deeper question that needs to be discussed by a media watchdog like NL, of course, is how and why the mainstream media has managed to obfuscate the issues and muddy the waters by completely changing the narrative and the discussion. Why are we not talking about solid, tangible, objective and achievable issues/goals like law and order and governance anymore? How and why did we let the media to debase the entire discussion by (a) spending half their airtime daily on irrelevant non-issues like silly quotes by obscure politicians or religious babas, or (b) baiting-and-switching to a completely different agenda of Indian culture-bashing (even Swami Vivekanand wasn’t spared by The Hindu, linking his posture in a photograph with gender inequality and crimes against women, which, incidentally, as the left-libs want us to believe, occur only in India anyway).

    Coming back on topic, have the English-language news channels devoted as much space on their airwaves, news segments and websites to declare these “unconditional apologies” as their earlier malicious misinformation propaganda of yesterday? All the TV channels and news websites I follow haven’t even owned up to their gaffes with the smallest of apologies, corrective articles, editorials, or even that little half-inch “erratum” column tucked in on the 17th page next to the classifieds.

    Go ahead, now blame the people for being frustrated and angry …

    • Satyam Sharma

      I have to say again, job well done, media … Mohan Bhagwat’s statement was diametrically spun by 180 degrees, a classic case of “arth ka anarth”. An idea of marriage (western one in the modern Indian context) that he said he did NOT agree with, was misrepresented as if it was Bhagwat’s point of view!

      The media has become absolutely desperate and brazen in their blatant bias and misreporting for the past month. (May be they know it’s their only chance; Narendra Modi would most likely finish them off if he ever comes to power, so the strategy is to prevent that and somehow get the Congress re-elected by hook or by crook.) CNN-IBN and NDTV have become the UPA govt’s official mouthpieces for Goebbelsian propaganda and rumour-mongering (remember their role during the Delhi protests?). And now they even seem to have become the Congress party’s “hitmen” of choice to do hitjobs on its rival BJP!

      So studio-manufactured fake news and doctored (maliciously edited) videos are being employed, with the result that one man has lost his reputation, and the opposition has lost lakhs of potential votes of young modern working women…

      • Nitesh

        well said.. there was smthing abt that brodcasted video of bhagwat that seemed strange… media editors shd have noted that he was ridiculing and criticizing the western marriage contract system and not praising it !!

        • Satyam Sharma

          People should henceforth not be fooled into mistakenly condemning someone for media-manufactured “crimes” that they never even committed in reality. Even a small child in India knows today that the entire mainstream media is essentially just a Goebbelsian propaganda mouthpiece-cum-hitman of the Congress party, that uses dirty tricks like blatant lies and falsehoods (apart from the daily distortion and biased coverage) to undertake “hit jobs” on the Congress’ political opponents. (Remember that episode when some random interior-designing photos downloaded from the internet were passed off as rooms of Jagan Reddy’s “mansions” in TOI last year? Not that I’m defending Jagan’s corruption, but please, surely the media can do better than brazenly resorting to utter lies?)

          Moreover, there were some obvious hints that Mohan Bhagwat’s statements must clearly have been misquoted. When I first watched the edited 1-minute video clip of CNN-IBN and NDTV, it was quite clear that they have cut an extract from right in the middle of a sentence! Another hint was that the whole “marriage as a contract” theory is a distinctly Abrahamic-religious idea (Islamic theology unambiguously views marriage as a “contract” between the groom and the bride’s father, and hence the concepts of “mahr”, post-talaq pensions, or other pre- and post-nuptial conditions). On the other hand, Indian philosophies abhor such a “contract-type” definition of marriage; here, marriage is held to be more sacrosanct and probably even sacred. So Bhagwat, being RSS sarsanghchalak, would obviously subscribe to the Hindu/Dharmic view instead of the western/Abrahamic one, and so could only have been *criticizing* the very theory that got maliciously misattributed to himself!

          But it is most disgusting how the Congress-owned mainstream media conspired to execute the political murder of Bhagwat. For people in public life, reputation is vitally important. All 24/7 news channels (as also websites of media houses and newspapers) went hammer and tongs for an entire day not just with the absolute lies and misinformation, but also with venomous comments made by reporters, journalists, editors, and the usual panel discussions, to reinforce the general public’s common prejudices against the supposed regressiveness of the RSS. And all this, on a completely false story! Again, just imagine the crores of potential votes of young modern working women that the BJP has lost, all thanks to blatant falsehoods being propagandized as “news” by our mainstream media.

          Even now, none of the media houses have removed the false stories from their websites. None of the news channels have deleted the false reports or the spliced-and-edited videos from their Youtube accounts. None of the newspapers are publishing apologies or telling the public that their earlier articles on Bhagwat were blatant fabrications.The political murder and character assassination was done by shouting falsehoods from the rooftops in public, but the apologies are whispered in private, with the result that 99% of the people who saw the Bhagwat news story still don’t know that it was entirely false!

          After listening to the audio of Bhagwat’s 36-minute speech above, I find a lot of his arguments (especially the non-religious philosophical content) to be reasonably sound and valid. If anything, I am quite pleasantly surprised at his intelligence and knowledge of diverse topics. (Several politicians may have “heard” of the Higgs boson, for example, but how many of them would know that it is the Higgs boson that is responsible for the conferment of the physical property of mass on fundamental particles or matter, or how such research on high energy particle physics is undertaken, etc?)

          But lakhs of people on Twitter, Facebook and other internet forums (blogs, comments on websites, etc) continue to be under the false impression that Bhagwat made those alleged comments, and meanwhile Congress lackeys continue to abuse and condemn Bhagwat based on the false reporting. But surely Bhagwat cannot be happy just with these meaningless whispered apologies from editors, especially when they are continuing to propagandize lies against him. “Defame and slander in public, apologize and retract in private” is NOT acceptable. Why isn’t Bhagwat (or even RSS as an organization) bringing in a MASSIVE defamation lawsuit and just bankrupting these media pimps?

    • Bala

      Exactly, this is what drives with centrist views ,like me, to the right; just of sheer disgust. Btw, why has Modi not been involved so far in the Delhi case, is something I don’t understand. Well, I guess the day is not far, I guess.

      I am sure the Delhi – 6 raped due to 2002 riots. I am waiting to see this in The Hindu. (disclosure – I am a lifelong addict to the The Hindu)…

      • Mamata

        Apologies for such a late response to your comment. Just wanted to mention you have echoed the reason why many centrist voters shifted right. The hyper-advertising by the Left has become counter-productive.

  • sachin tripathi

    Who is this smita prakash??

  • http://twitter.com/coat32 अभिषेक

    Satyam Sharma has put the thoughts beautifully. But,expectations from Newslaundry will soon dimnish as it also survives & encourages such mainstream media faces on it’s channel.What happened to the “Investigate Journalism” fundamentals.There is so much data available on social media against corrupt meida guys,but still u have convinently put kiddy stuff for discussion.Anyway,your compulsions & compromises are well understood in this competitive world.But,congratulations for atleast opening up your mouth.

    • Satyam Sharma

      If NL is indeed an independent media watchdog interested in investigative journalism, then let it take up the following two “stories” frequently discussed in social media nowadays:

      1. How did Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose (CNN-IBN) manage to get an unsecured loan of Rs. 5 crores from the govt-owned PSU Syndicate Bank? The 2G SC judgement clearly mentions that, with sufficient supporting evidence of wrongdoing, an unsecured loan is essentially a quid pro quo bribe.

      2. How did Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy (NDTV) manage to subvert foreign exchange and foreign investment norms, as also undertake in “loan chicanery” (the exact term used by M. J. Akbar in The Sunday Guardian) with ICICI Bank, to indulge in a corporate fraud of the very kind that they accused Nitin Gadkari’s Purti Group of?

      But will the media ever turn against one of its own? It’s a convenient incestuous gravy train that everybody’s riding out there in Delhi, remember?

    • Satyam Sharma

      Well, considering we don’t have any media watchdog in this country at all, at least the amount of commentary on media (both journalism standards as well as exposure of blatant acts of bias / misreporting / false reporting / distortion) that Newslaundry does is indeed commendable. However, most of the staff at NL again belong to the same left-lib tribe and are colleagues or friends (some are even current journalists in mainstream media houses) with the media men they are supposed to be critiquing, so the criticism and exposure is predictably muted.

  • sachin Bajpai

    To make an “error” is ok.But the most interesting bit would be and which is important for all especially for “newslaundry” to look, how many made an “unconditional apology” in the same capacity and enthusiasm the “incorrect story” was run.Will look out for the space

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  • http://twitter.com/KrishnHelpIndia Shekhar

    Bhagwatji’s character has been assassinated. Infamy is greater than death for a respected person as Krishna says in Mahabharat. Same happened for Gadkari, BRD, many Hindu saints including Shankaracharya. Will this all go without payback?

    • Santajee

      You said it Shekhar. If u follow this issue on twitter and else where you will find many many many persons ridiculing, joking abt. Mohan Bhagwatji. Media had already done the character assassination and am sure after knowing the facts no one will regret or apologize.

      This has happened so many times and I wonder the capacity of Hindus and RSS BJP to ignore all this and not to punish these culprits. When these agents from media will be paid for their dues?

  • Ravi Chopra

    Ha. Very well-written. An excellent article after a long time. Kudos.

  • Akshay

    That quote would have been utterly irrelevant, if hadn’t been misquoted. Now that it has – we are stuck with the fact the mouth-piece of an organization which has some very communal views is brought to relevance.

  • nmkn

    Justice Katju, would you like to take a note of it? Shouldn’t Sagarika Ghose and others be taken to task? Misinterpreting is one thing and this report is not even a distortion, its a false report.

  • nmkn

    and then they say there exist a radical online group called “internet hindus”

  • Pavithran

    Important to distinguish hate for Right wing elements in liberal media (a quick look at NL interview of Deepa mehta will tell you why the right wing is hated) and media corruption. This incident was an example of media corruption. Smita prakash and ANI are known for their pro-congress tilt. She is known to junket around the world on tax payer money. This clip was willfully allowed to pass through as a way to make up for Theek hai fiasco. She claims stringer has been fired but has not released his name and I would be certain he would be back on ANI payroll after a while.

    The following doesnt prove the above but is provided as a small demonstration of how media in india is strongly entrenched in congress/babalog culture.
    Smita Prakash’s father as per her own words:

    “He later returned to India [ Images ] and retired as principal information officer to the Government of India after having served under four prime ministers as a spokesman of the country. His room in south block in the prime minister’s secretariat was next to the financial advisor’s room, Dr Manmohan Singh.”

    http://news.rediff.com/special/2009/jul/22/retracing-my-fathers-footsteps-in-sharm-el-sheikh.htm

    There are hardly any outsiders in the business which can be seen as a reason why the corruption easily thrives in it. News is bent with just a few phone calls among participants in decades-long relationships.

    Its also worth mentioning that Times now and Headlines Today are the only existing fair and independent english channels primarily due to the integrity of their editors. Both are known, as openly declared by their editors (Arnab, Rahul), to receive slugs from the I&B ministry whenever they cover anti-govt news.

    We are living in disturbing times where free and fair media are too few and far apart. It is important to look for news with both substance and integrity in these times when pro-congress media create controversies and obfuscate issues at ease.

  • Kishan Sharma

    NDTV has not and will not apologize, they are more shameless than others. TOI carries today i.e. 8th Jan ‘foot in the mouth’ quotes and again wrongly quoted Bhagwatji’s speech. Some are die-hard haters of RSS. I think they have a hidden fear in their minds that forces them to desperately search for equivalent of extremism in other religions that is a fact about which they cannot do anything; so minimize the blow by this strategy. All of them need some serious counselling.

  • Ashok Chowgule

    The various apologies that are offered to Mohanji Bhagwat are actually an apology for an apology. They are insincere in nature, and the wording is such that they can be only called Mohammed Ghori apologies. As some will know Mohammed Ghori asked forgiveness of Prithviraj Chavan, when the latter defeated him in battle. In true Hindu tradition, Prithviraj allowed Ghori to go back. But Ghori’s apology was only to live another day. And when he defeated Prithviraj, the fact that the latter had allowed him to live did not even make him consider to reciprocate. After all, the apology was an insincere one, and a way to try and wiggle out of a situation.

    Ashok Chowgule
    Working President (External)
    Vishwa Hindu Parishad,
    Delhi, India.

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  • Ameya Phadke

    First listen to what he has said. Bhagwatji has not told that the womens should stay behind walls and men would earn.He talked this with reference to the social phenomenons.A news trend has been established to just misquote someone purposefully.

  • Parimala

    What is even more disgusting is the fact that even a day after Sagarika Ghose ( Associate Editor of CNN-IBN) tweeted her apology, that she had misunderstood Mohan Bhagwat’s comments, her TV channel ran the same propaganda. Rajdeep Sardesai (her husband and Chief Editor of CNN-IBN) ran a show with an interview with Abu Azmi’s son,Farhan Azmi on Jan 8th where the scroll still showed the RSS chief as having made the same comments. Refer http://ibnlive.in.com/shows/India+At+9/314626.html ( time 56 mins onwards )

    Therefore it seems that while they apologize on twitter probably to save their face on the internet, they run the TV program “India @ 9 ” and carry on the same lies. Why do they stoop so low ?

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  • Anand Mehta

    kudos to NL for exposing our very many daft journalists from the English media.. public school educated journalists and editors – priceless!

  • dev

    and that’s why i started supporting modi because media praises rahul who is d**b and anybody literate can tell that and at the same time over demonises modi .i can tell that in 2020 election modi will come to absolute power as then majority of voters will be internet using youth.