Media or Rumor Mill

Is it Media or Rumor Mill?

Indians have very little sense of humor but they have strong sense of rumor.-Unknown

Let me correct the above statement “Indian Media has no sense of humor but they have strong sense of rumor.

rumorRecently media started rumors about BJP ministers suggesting Modi as aristocrat and working as tyrant and infighting for #2 position. All the rumors are centered around the theme of PM Narendra Modi acting like the big boss and keeping a hawk eye on his ministers.

At first such stories amused the public with admiration for new Prime Minister’s working style. Modi is known for keeping a watch over his colleagues & subordinates to keep rotten eggs away. But it looks that things went out of hand now because Home Minister Rajnath Singh stepped forward to scotch rumors involving his son Pankaj Singh and offered to quit public life if even the smallest of allegations against him or any of his family members was found to be true. The home minister said he had even brought these “stories” to the notice of the Prime Minister and BJP president Amit Shah, who expressed surprise and agreed that they were “baseless“. Had he said anything new? Every politician claims to relinquish public life if found guilty. However Rajnath Singh always maintained high standard of honesty in the public life. The other quality of this highly respected politician is that he never speaks in wrong language even in most provocative atmosphere. Even his staunch critics and political opponent respect him for these qualities.

The Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday rubbished reports about alleged misconduct of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s son. In a statement, the PMO said that “reports are plain lies, motivated and constitute a malicious attempt at character assassination and tarnishing the image of the government. Those indulging in such rumour-mongering are damaging the interest of the nation. These reports are strongly denied.

Everyone knows that how gossip market was buzzing after Modi government took charge.

First such story was “snooping” in Nitin Gadkari’s house. This gossip took such a dimension that opposition parties made ruling party’s life hell in Raj Sabha & Home Minister had to step in to clarify the matter.

Not only this but many other gossips/rumors are doing round in the media. Many media reports did not named anyone but some media houses failed to maintain journalism dignity & name persons involved in these stories. Few more stories are like this.

1. PM took a Minister took a minister to task that because he took dinner with a very well know businessman.
2. Another Minister was cautioned for his “expensive dress”.
3. The other Minister was issued warning for coming late in the office.
4. A Minister was not allowed to travel a foreign country to his son’s college function.

Our Ex-PM mostly kept mum. Except him, every minister use to speak with media, sometime contradicting each other & sometimes going against well-laid government policies. Ministers never recognized Dr. Manmohan Singh as head of the state but use to follow 10 JP. Contrary to this Modi barred his Ministers & Leaders not to talk with media other than their own expertise. He clearly told them “Not to become spokesperson.” This gag order gave an opportunity to ever hungry media to cook-up their own stories based on hearsay. Stories based upon unconfirmed news from reliable sources took another extreme where only PM is in-charge of everything. Ministers are painted as puppet in PM’s hand. Stories came out telling that PM advised Secretaries to bypass Ministers and contact him directly.

However those, who know Modi very well, tell that Modi is a complete team man. He uses to consult his team in depth. And once the team arrives at a decision, he leaves them to fulfill the details in the decision and plan to complete the project. In fact, a single man can’t do even his house hold work even if he is God himself, then how can we expect Modi to disdain his Ministers.

Like most of the political parties, BJP has its own illness. The name of this illness is “Off record briefing”. Many leaders, some of them are ministers now, have habit of gossiping & plant a “story” among his favorite journalists. BJP always claim that there is nothing like “Off record” in their organization but fact is that many leaders have their own “inner group” of journalists. Common friendly journalists fetch “inside stories” from rival camp to feed ego of the leaders.

Every cabinet has inner struggle of supremacy. Who is #2” always remained hot topic in every cabinet. It was in Nehru cabinet, it was in Indira government, it was in previous government as “Dada verse PC” . This time too #2 position fight is on. Who is #2 out of Trimurti?

Are these stories being planted to demean their opponent or they are just another “Gossip Group” production like office gossips?

From where such stories take birth? Sadly the central hall is epicenter of such political gossip in most of the cases and the main actors are political leaders & my own media brothers who claim to know “inside” stories. Many newspaper/magazines keep such “Gossip Box” which is very popular indeed.

We must not fall for such stories and must not encourage them in social media & among our friends. But the question remains “Is it Media or Rumor Mill?

10 comments

  • Now sir it actually looks like a rumor mill but the question arises why are they cooking stories? I think they need stories to tell the people otherwise their news shops will be closed. It is better for the govt to provide them with authentic news and mr Modi should seriously consider appointing a media person officially to check this gossip mongering.

  • A very good write up.Rumour mongers are trying to capitalise the loose ends.Too much discipline in BJP is giving room for scotching rumours.Modi is never worried about sich miscjieves as he faced persecution at the hans of seculer parties and revoluttionery media for 12 yrs.

  • A govt has to act through its secretaries and thro’ press briefings. Then news becomes authentic. Intrepretations of the news will vary as today the media is in the hands of vested interests. Politicians who want to set high standards, though need worry about rumour mongering. shd face charges if made any and also shd be ready prove them wrong, where necessary and ignore them when it is too motivated. This also helps in colleagues doing their job without disturbance. Rumours are age old and are the grapevines in govt circles. For the public, unless there are clear evidence, merely based on allegations, will have to treat them as malicious propaganda.
    The present predicament of the NDA govt is due their delay in bringing to book Sonia Gandhi and Robert Vadra. It is natural all means will be tried to create problem among party bigwigs, ministers etc., so that they escape the long arm of law.
    V Ramachandran Bangalore 28 08 2014

  • Most of the media persons were holding the additional charge of ‘Power-brokers’ in earlier governments. But now they are deprived of the role, and also lost substantial earnings!! Every media-person knows that ‘Modi Government is moving ahead as a strong team with specific goal’. A few of them found the new role as ‘News Traders’ twisting the facts to their convenience and presenting to viewers, but they failed to know that their TRP is reducing instead of increasing. Some of the media-men in connivance with some political parties find it beneficial to run Rumor Mill. As the debate goes on, the viewers must have noticed that ‘howling’ by the Anchor become louder and louder and the subject of debate comes to a naught!!! This is a temporary phase, and will soon find a correction.

    • Sir it is partially true. The new government needs to appoint a proper spokesperson while whom media may interact & get clarifications about the news i.e. rumors. In absence of proper explanation and mystery surrounded atmosphere rumors & rumor mongers gain upper hand.
      Hence the new government is not out of blame for such reports.

  • Our media is a rotten,under the influence of Group of Power mongers. We have full faith in style of PM Modiji.Spreading baseless rumors against the Govt.of NDA is highly objectionable.

  • We, ordinary citizens, hardly know the actual truth, but the state of the country does imply that our media rot.