Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was invited to speak at India Today conclave. During his interaction with journalist and host, Rahul Kanwal, on the question of politicization of Pulwama attack, Goyal responded to Kanwal’s confrontational and accusatory tones, in a firm but appropriate way. Pulwama is an emotive issue for the whole nation and for the Union Minister too, so the reaction was coming from the point of view of deep anguish and concern that every Indian felt after the Pulwama attacks.
However, India Today group decided to defame the minister for this ‘slight’ against one of its ‘star journalists’.
Soon, it came out with an article titled “Twitter slams Piyush Goyal”.
During the speech, Rahul Kanwal asked Goyal that if there was pressure on India to convince the international media, the Opposition and public that its mission was successful. On which, in a sane and generous way, Minister asked, “Are you convinced first? Are you a part of this narrative that is trying to belittle our armed forces?”
First of all, Goyal’s response was very much keeping in tone with Rahul Kanwal’s question and there was nothing wrong in his demeanor or stance especially considering he was speaking on an issue of emotive value. Secondly, while India Today claims ‘Twitterati slammed Goyal’ implying that the minister was criticized by one and all, however, India Today added tweets of known BJP-baiters and even Congress Social Media head Divya Spandana.
The other twitter users that India Today quoted as ‘slamming Piyush Goyal’ included Rupa Subramanya, Akash Banerjee, and Tony Joseph, all of whom have a well-established anti-BJP stance.
The most heartening moment in this video where @PiyushGoyal attempts to browbeat @rahulkanwal is when Rahul said "neither I nor anyone in this audience needs a lesson from you or anyone else on patriotism". Got the maximum applause, more than any of the hectoring by Goyal. https://t.co/FV8RuHcwAh
— Rupa Subramanya (@rupasubramanya) March 4, 2019
However, this kind of potshot at Modi Government is not new for the Media Group. In the interview, Piyush Goyal narrated an earlier incident where the government has to change the wording of one of the beneficiary scheme related to electrification because of India Today’s selective journalism. Union Minister trolled Rajdeep Sardesai that too without taking his name, stating that government has to add ‘100% electrification of all willing consumers’ which was earlier mentioned as ‘100% electrification’ due to biased reporting by India Today.
It is highly questionable practice by the media portal to deliberately portray a speaker in a bad light. It was they who had invited the Union Minister in the first place and when he refused to yield to Kanwal’s accusatory tone, India Today resorted to defaming him on flimsy grounds This is journalism at its worst.