Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV on Monday exploded in excitement claiming that Congress President Rahul Gandhi had admitted his lie in the Supreme Court over his Rafale comments. As it emerged, Goswami’s channel came under considerable condemnation for blatant lying to its viewers over Gandhi’s response.
Nowhere in his response did Gandhi say to the top court that he had lied about his comments on the Rafale deal. He used the word ‘regret’ once, that to in brackets for attributing the Chowkidar Chor Hai slogan to the Supreme Court. This prompted Goswami’s channel to go berserk in claiming that the Congress president had admitted to have lied.
The channel’s anchor was contradicted by her own legal correspondent, Nalini Sharma, on LIVE TV that Gandhi had not even apologised to the Supreme Court, let alone admitting that he lied on the Rafale deal. No sooner did Sharma state this fact, was she was abruptly cut off by the anchor. (You can watch the video after 3 minute 15 seconds if Republic doesn’t decide to remove it).
Arnab Goswami’s channel’s embarrassment wasn’t complete yet. It soon announced that BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi had joined the channel on the phone line. In its desperation, the channel asked Lekhi if she felt that the Supreme Court will issue Gandhi a strict warning or impose a hefty penalty since, according to the Republic TV anchor, the Congress president was a habitual offender. To which, Lekhi said that she was waiting for the court’s decision since the matter was still ‘sub-judice.’
Not satisfied with Lekhi’s sane response, the Republic anchor made one more attempt as she asked, “Is the regret enough? Are you convinced with his reply?”Visibly exasperated, Lekhi replied, “I am not the judge nah. It’s for the judge to judge the case. I am satisfied to the extent that he said he made a false statement.”
Disappointed with Lekhi’s reply, the anchor did not let her complete her sentence and abruptly cut her line.
The Congress too reacted angrily to the twisted media coverage on Gandhi’s response. Its chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala wrote on Twitter, “Fakery has no boundaries. Lies no limitations, Disinformation no confines! BJP’s blasphemous misrepresentation of Rahuljis reply to the SC is itself a criminal contempt of court proceedings. Issue is sub-judice, Stop passing verdict today! We reiterate-एक ही चौकीदार चोर है!”
Fakery has no boundaries.
Lies no limitations,
Disinformation no confines!
BJP’s blasphemous misrepresentation of Rahuljis reply to the SC is itself a criminal contempt of court proceedings.
Issue is sub-judice, Stop passing verdict today!
We reiterate-एक ही चौकीदार चोर है!
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 22, 2019
While Republic went berserk in peddling a lie to mislead its viewers, several other more credible news outlets too appeared to have erred in reporting on this story. For example, NDTV’s headline ‘Rahul Gandhi regrets in court Rafale comments: “Made in heat of campaign” did not clarify that he had merely regretted for attributing one of his comments on Chowkidar Chor Hai to the Supreme Court. He had not expressed his regrets for using the Chowkidar Chor Hai jibe for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If anything, he repeated his attack on Modi for the Rafale deal in his response to the top court.
Times of India too carried the same misleading headline, while Hindustan Times was slightly better with its headline but still lacked clarity. The Indian Express was precise with its headline as it wrote, “Heat of political campaigning: Rahul regrets misquoting SC in Rafale order.”
Even Times Now, another channel known for being pro-government, decided to toe the narrative set by its rival Republic TV as it asked, “Is Rahul ‘regretting’ his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ statement only to get himself out of legal trouble?” The channel owned by Times Group too did not care to explain that Gandhi’s regret was not over calling Modi a thief, but attributing the slogan to the Supreme Court.
Coming up next: What do legal correspondents make of Rahul Gandhi’s response to the Supreme Court?