Alt News calls out Shiv Aroor, Chitra Tripathi, Sudhir Chaudhary, Rajat Sharma’s misinfo on Indian Navy ensign

They falsely said Manmohan Singh’s government had reintroduced a colonial ensign for India’s navy banished under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
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India Today anchor Shiv Aroor did a show the other day outraging that Manmohan Singh’s government had the Indian Navy bring back a colonial ensign after it was banished during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s rule.

The occasion was the navy introducing a new ensign, apparently inspired by 17th century Maratha ruler Shivaji’s royal seal, in place of St George’s Cross. The ensign was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said that the new flag represented an India shedding its colonial past.

Aroor’s point of outrage, implied if not explicit, was that while the BJP, from Vajpayee to Modi, cared for India’s nationalist ethos, the Congress was far removed from it.

Indeed, fellow anchors such as Sudhir Chaudhary, new face at Aaj Tak, Chitra Tripathi, old face at Aaj Tak, and Rajat Sharma of India TV, and sundry BJP talking heads made Shiv Aroor’s point more unvarnishedly: reintroducing the old ensign in 2004 showed the Congress party’s “slavish and colonial mindset”.

There was just one kink in the narrative, as an Alt News factcheck would reveal: the ensign was not reintroduced under Manmohan Singh but Vajpayee.

What’s more, the colonial ensign wasn’t brought back for any sentimental reason but a mundane practical reason. The flag – surprise! – needed to be visible in the open sea.

Aroor, in case you couldn’t tell from his show, is a “defence expert”, having founded a “defence and aerospace news site” called Livefist.

After the Alt News factcheck, Aroor offered a non-apology apology. It remains to be seen if he issues a clarification on air where the misinformation was spread.

This is not the first time legacy media anchors have been caught propagating misinformation and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Postscript: Ever wonder how such “honest mistake, no malafide” falsehoods tend to go only one way? To the advantage of the BJP and at the expense of the opposition.

Update: On his evening show on Friday, Aroor said he made an error in a piece of background information and wrongly attributed the change in the Indian navy ensign to the Manmohan Singh government. Aroor said it was brought to his attention through a detailed fact-check and declared that those who projected his "honest error" as BJP propaganda were entitled to their snark, venom and abuse. "I will not brazen this off like so many in the media and politics. The error was unintended," he said.

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