India’s left-leaning media is now employing Goebbels-like propaganda to denigrate those who it views as political opponents.
Yesterday, several mainstream outlets including Hindustan Times, Moneycontrol and Mint, far-left publications including NDTV and Wire published articles around how former Uttarakhand Chief Minister TS Rawat had said that the coronavirus had a ‘right to live’. These publications carried headlines with variations of this quote, and their articles were widely shared.
But all these outlets had cleverly chosen a part of the ex-CM quote to intentionally mangle what he said. This was most obvious in Moneycontrol’s report, which carried only a part of his interview to a private channel in which he said those words.
“”Seen from a philosophical angle, coronavirus is also a living organism. It has the right to live like the rest of us. But we (humans) think ourselves to be the most intelligent and are out to eliminate it. So it is constantly mutating itself,” Moneycontrol quoted him as saying.
But Moneycontrol hid the most important part at the end of the report. “However, he also said that a man needs to outpace the virus to stay safe,” Moneycontrol said, which meant that the former CM wasn’t saying that people sit back and do nothing while the virus exercises its ‘right to live’.
All these outlets would’ve known full well that most people reading the headline would’ve been left with the impression that TS Rawat was advocating that we shouldn’t fight the virus because it had a right to live, but deliberately hid the rest of his statement to create a sensational headline.
For starters, TS Rawat had prefaced his statement by saying he was talking ‘in a philosophical sense”, a fact that most news outlets neglected to mention in their headlines.
Secondly, what TS Rawat had said is perfectly correct: it’s a matter of dispute if viruses are living or non-living — while they don’t have cells and can’t keep themselves in stable state, but they can replicate and adapt to their environment. “The virus is constantly mutating itself,” TS Rawat had said, showing how it was adapting to the environment. He was also perfectly correct in saying that the virus is becoming stronger — viruses exhibit something called ‘antiviral drug resistance‘, through which they become ‘stronger’ and immune to drugs.
But the media likes to project Hindi-speaking BJP leaders as country bumpkins, so outlets chose to run with the misleading headline in which TS Rawat seemed to be hinting that we shouldn’t fight the virus because it has a right to live. It’s not the first time the media has done this — recently, several outlets had reported that the UP government had ordered oximeters and thermal scanners for cows, but it later turned out that the oximeters and thermal scanners were meant for staff at gaushalas. And with the media now carrying a part of the former Uttarakhand CM’s statement to imply that he didn’t want to fight the virus, it’s apparent that as long as stringent penalties aren’t imposed on media outlets, they’ll continue to spread misinformation to forward their agendas.