Last week, in a report about fake news in India, the BBC named tfipost.com as one of the sources which was “known to have published fake news”. As the editor of tfipost.com, I’m not sure if it was extremely irresponsible on my part or whether it is something I should be proud of, but I came to know that we had made it to this list quite a few days after it was published. Why proud, you ask? Because neither I nor anyone in my team reads or follows or cares for what the BBC publishes, and that right there was the silver lining in our delayed realization. We were blissfully ignorant until our friends at OpIndia started demolishing the bile that was published by what many believe to be among the most prestigious media outlets in the world.
Most prestigious my foot! Through a series of articles, Nupur and her team at OpIndia completely exposed this supposedly prestigious media outlet. Right from their methodology, to how they had passed of real news as fake news in their assessment, to how their data set was doctored considering who the BBC’s sources were, to the inherent biases in the report, to some of the obvious misses, that report was, figuratively, chewed and spat out. Trust me, the schadenfreude when one of your fraudulent detractors is whipped left and right (figuratively again), is unparalleled.
For god’s sake, you had a sample size of 40 people, and your sources included AltNews and FactChecker (an arm of IndiaSpend)! You left NDTV and The Wire out of the list! What on earth were you thinking? What on earth were you trying to do? I don’t know if I should laugh at you or pity you. If you wanted to come after us, if you wanted to malign us, the least you could have done was to be slightly more intelligent about it. It is one thing for everyone who followed this controversy to have thought of you as charlatans, but now, they have serious doubts about your intellect as well. If I were you, that would have hurt much more. And the best defense the left-liberal ecosystem could come up with was something in these lines: “OpIndia is teaching journalism to the BBC. It happens only in today’s India.” How laughable. And how very pathetic. I mean, that’s all you had? This round, dear left-liberal ecosystem, was so one-sided that it almost took the fun out of things.
Imagine being a “reputed” international media outlet, attempting to expose certain local alternative media outlets which have neither the reach nor the resources you possess, and getting so badly exposed that you’re forced to do something about it. The BBC expected the unperfumed classes of the media to take it lying down, just like the British had expected India’s unperfumed classes to take several things lying down. They didn’t expect the resistance. They were forced to apologize to Better India for putting their name on the list. They also took their report down, put it back up, and took it down again. They are rattled. They are confused. They don’t know what to do. A suitable expression in Hindi would be “Phat gayi hai”.
We at tfipost.com have a dare for the BBC. If after publishing this report, pulling it down, publishing it again, pulling it down again, if you intend to publish it once again, we dare you not to remove our name. This is not because we intend to take legal action against the BBC like many of our readers and well-wishers suggested. We neither have the time nor the resources for that. This is because from the time we came to know that we had made it to the list, we have worn it like a badge of honour. We do not, under any circumstance, want the BBC to take that away from us.
Why do we wear it as a badge of honour, you ask? For lack of a better analogy, imagine Dawood Ibrahim accusing you of being a drug peddler, or Lalu Prasad Yadav accusing you of corruption. You get the idea. This a media outlet which referred to the 26/11 terrorists as “gunmen” and not terrorists, which described terrorist Burhan Wani as a man who “represented the spirit and political aspirations of a new Kashmiri generation”, which referred to Holi as a “filthy festival”, which likened the mindset of Nirbhaya’s rapists to the mentality of Indian men. That’s how anti-India this media outlet is. They have proven to be anti-India, anti-logic and anti-truth, basically anti everything tfipost.com stands for.
To sum it up, if you think the methodology you used was acceptable, if you think Alt News is a credible source about fake news, if you think media outlets like The Wire can be left out of a list of fake news spreaders, if you think so highly of India’s enemies and so lowly of Indian people and Indian culture, we are happy to be “fake news” in your book. We, at rightlog, wear it as a badge of honour.
Prime Minister Modi once told the Congress Party in parliament: “Meri rajnaitik sujhubjh kehti hai ki MNREGA kabhi band mat karo. Mein aisi galti nahin kar sakta hun. Kyonki MNREGA aapki viphaltaaon ka jeeta-jagta smaarak hai… mein baaje baaje ke saath iss smaarak ka dhol peethta rahunga. (My political acumen tells me never to shut down MNREGA. I can never make that mistake. Because MNREGA is a living example of your failures. I will vociferously continue to highlight it.)” This seemed like the apt moment to reminisce that speech. So keep us on that list, dear BBC. Never take us off it. Let it be a living example of your failures that we can continue to highlight for eternity.