Journalists Outraging Over Rahul Gandhi’s Comment on Smita Prakash Need to Introspect
Self-righteous journos have conflated the BJP-popularised 'presstitute' with the innocuous 'pliable'.
Have trouble sleeping at night? Running out of sheep to count? Tsk. Do not bother visiting a fancy-schmancy sleep clinic near you (unless you have sleep apnea or other dangerous conditions). Avoid sleeping tablets as well — they have harmful side effects in the long run. Just watch ANI’s news editor Smita Prakash interviewing our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prakash had prepared a list of seemingly hard questions which the PM deflected in a tedious, senile-grandfather-yearning-to-talk-about-the-glorious-past manner while throwing in the alleged benefits of hundreds of supposedly wonderful Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Yojnas (Modi’s usual modest chest-thumping exercise, yawn). I had to pinch myself frequently (and rather violently) to stay awake, and now I wonder if I should send the bill for a skin ointment to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Here’s an example of the most unstimulating interview ever:
Prakash: Why do Muslims feel insecure in India?
Modi: They don’t feel insecure. Oh, did you know about the time when blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, and have I told you about the fabulous days when you could buy a bottle of Coca-Cola for just five paise, blah blah blah?
Okay, Modi didn’t talk about Coca-Cola, but he may as well have. He went way off the mark in all his answers, substituting facts with inconsequential gibberish, while Prakash nodded shyly like a star-struck schoolgirl. I don’t wish to be mean to her, but hey, any journalist worth his or her salt would have cross-questioned Modi on the subject and substantiated questions with examples of how the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) harsh actions speak louder than Modi’s gentle lies.
Maybe Prakash was too exhausted after the celebrations of December 31, or perhaps she was far too lazy to call him out? Or perhaps she was, as Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi put it, “pliable”.
The word “pliable” upset many of Prakash’s fellow journalists, so much so that the Twitterati was amazed — as Twitter user @Ali_Husain333 rightly pointed out, “They were less upset to be called presstitutes.” Back to the self-righteousness of journalists, including those we regard as reasonable; they have flooded Twitter with moans and howls of protest. Take The Hindu’s Suhasini Haider for instance: “By using terms like ‘pliable’, ‘presstitute’, ‘paid media’, our political establishment, aided by their troll armies, show their scant respect for the fourth estate. Shameful comment by the Congress President.”
By using terms like “pliable”, “presstitute”,”paid media”,our political establishment, aided by their troll armies, show their scant respect for the fourth estate. Shameful comment by the Congress President. https://t.co/XJ3gGzOAXK
— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) January 3, 2019
What is undoubtedly shameful is how Haider clubbed a nasty, abusive term like “presstitute” (popularised by the BJP in India) with the relatively innocuous “pliable.” I’m astonished that she couldn’t tell the difference. The only journalist who seems to have made sense in this matter was Aditya Menon, who wisely tweeted: “Rahul Gandhi shouldn’t have used the word ‘pliable.’ Pliant is more accurate.”
Anyone who knows anything about Smita Prakash’s family business — the news agency ANI — is privy to how ANI was close to the Congress once upon a time (a long, long time ago) until it switched allegiance to the BJP when Advani rose a Sangh star. One may have different stands on Rahul Gandhi calling Prakash “pliable” and Prakash’s “cheap shot” rejoinder. However, one should be aware of a few facts before they take such a stand — truths about how credible ANI really is, and which side of the political spectrum it currently leans towards.
Finally, a small tip, should one have the courage to watch that interview: keep a large flask of black coffee handy.