All the lying they have done
Columns, Point of View

All the lying they have done

September 8, 2020

By T.J.S. George

A few days ago, for the first time in my eventful life, I felt jealous of the Americans. I was watching a press conference with President Trump facing his usual crowd of White House correspondents.  One of them, with no dramatics, leaned back on his chair and asked matter-of-factly: “Do you regret all the lying you have done to the American people?”

Just like that.  Direct and to the point. Trump was taken aback by the sheer effrontery of the question. Not believing what he heard, he asked for a repeat and the reporter put it as plain as before: Any regret for all the lying of the past?  Trump was now sure of the question and the sting in it.  He did not try to answer. He moved on to the next question.

Now you see why I felt jealous of America. I can’t imagine anyone asking the Prime Minister of my country whether he regrets “all the lying he has done.” Anyway our Prime Minister never calls a press conference. The farthest he goes is conversation with a hand-picked press person. What was described as a press conference was held in 2019 with him just sitting at a table, leaving it to his faithful Home Minister to field the questions.  As far as Modiji is concerned, his radio monologue Mann Ki Baat is the best press conference.  It is a press conference without the press.

Clearly our Prime Minister knows what is the most effective way to project his persona and thereby strengthen the country. The power of his personality has made India’s Press so patriotic that the Prime Minister can face it with complete confidence.  Even then Modiji is extra cautious and ensures that there is no occasion for anything untoward to happen. After all, it was an Indian-American named Shirish Date, working for Huffington Post, who asked the question that stumped Trump. Which shows that if you have Indian blood in your veins, sudden boldness can suddenly break out. Better not to take chances. No press conference, period.

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Once upon a time things were different. Jawaharlal Nehru was a star at every press conference he held. Often it was a free-for-all, with correspondents not formally accredited, diplomats and even interested locals attending. Nehru would hold them all spellbound. Not behind was A.B. Vajpayee with his easy-going style, his love of humour, his camaraderie. Modi is the first pm to see wisdom in avoiding the press. It shows how India has changed.  Is it a change for the better?  Or is it a change that points to a lack of self-confidence in the top leader?

A couple of times he held what he presented as a press conference.  He would invite a couple of unknown journalists to his chamber and let them ask pre-arranged questions to which he would give pre-arranged answers. Sometimes the journalists would turn out to be so unjournalistic that they would ask questions like how the Prime Minister ate mangoes. Modiji must have finally grasped the ludicrousness of such shows.  He is not hosting any more of them.

We must see this as part of the peculiar kind of democracy that has developed in our country. The organisation called Reporters Without Borders issues every year what it calls World Press Freedom Index.  The 2020 rankings are led by Norway and Finland.  India figures below countries like Thailand, Philippines and Afghanistan at rank 142 with an “abuse score” of 31.35.  That is 142 out of 180 countries. The average Indian, subject to the traditional view that press freedom is basic in the country, may find some recorded facts difficult to believe. Example: 55 Indian Journalists Arrested, Booked, Threatened for Reporting on Covid – 19 (The Wire); Under Modi, India’s Press is Not So Free Anymore (New York Times). Reporters Without Borders puts it bluntly when it says that India’s low ranking is due to the Government “tightening its grip on the media and pressurising it to toe the Hindu nationalist Government’s line.”

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What the reporter asked Trump at his press conference will remain a “quotable quote” wherever Government-Press relations are discussed. It will be a marker in Media history and in the history of Democracy. But it won’t make any difference to the Government-Press relations in India.  For a variety of reasons, the Indian Media today is not what it was, nor what it should be.  That is not good for India or the Media. But that’s how it is in Modiji’s India.

15 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “All the lying they have done”

  1. Srinivasan says:

    It is not Modiji’s India. Modiji is elected representative of India chosen the second time irrespective of minorty group like yours that exists – the Cong chamchas.
    Press during Nehru’s time was different. It was limited in number and there was some decency and honesty present back then. These days it’s all about sensationalism – presstitutes didn’t exist few decades ago. These days there is hardly any journalism that is truly done without taking side of one political party or the other.

    How many times did Mounamohan Singh do press conference to take questions on series of scams that were taking place to fund Ma Beta and family? But well Mr George conveniently won’t ask that. It’s so called columnists like you who unfortunately are surviving today is precisely why leaders won’t waste their time in giving press conference.

    You can continue writing garbage and get it printed in struggling local newspapers. Take your hatred for Mr Modi to your grave. Country wouldn’t care less.

  2. On the path of Dharma (righteousness) says:

    This is total garbage artice. A completely one-sided view of things. After reading lots of articles by the writer, it feels like he has a view that even thought Modi is elected through the same democracy that he is a part of, he doesn’t believe in the mandate. This means that according to the writer, freedom means that everyone should subscribe to his views. This writer is a perfect example of a pseudo-liberal, pseudo-intellectual.

  3. Howdy Modi! says:

    Trump is a quintessential American politician who have split personality. Those who studied and lived in America would understand that Americans p use superlatives, friendlier etc.. but are businessmen in their hears. That was what Trump did, and Modi never grasped this. Modi loves large gatherings and photo opportnities. Trump knows this.. Howdy Modi and Namasate Trump were stuff and nonsense, and Trump exploited it. This time, Biden will play this game. No American politician is a real friend of India, as India is not their ally like the Western NATO countries.
    George has articulated the above very well.
    To understand George who is a cerebral author, one needs more than adequate brain cells count. He is an internationally acclaimed author who is referenced many times in India and abroad. You are no body.
    I know, you will post a nasty reply to me with an abuse. That is the standard of you Indians today.

  4. Known for prejudicial stance towards BJP under Prime Minister Modi, Mr.George has conveniently overlooked his favourite media savvy Nehru’s incalculable harm to our national psyche and it’s vital interests through many a blunder throughout his long rule. A revisit on Nehru’s early years, his rise in Congress echelon, manipulation at the time of independence to PM’s seat, his shaping of Hindu Civil Code etc are now being fiercely ripped out in open. We are still finding it difficult to heal festering wounds due to many of his actions which have put India’s eastern and western borders in permanent strife.

  5. K.Sridhar says:

    Terrorists are against Modi
    Opposition parties against Modi
    News media big and small against Modi
    All looters/losers who lost money in Demonetization have ganged up against Modi
    Pakistan against Modi
    China against Modi
    Separatists against Modi
    Group of Muslims who support Owaisis against Modi
    Psedo secularists and opportunistic writers against Modi
    George is one of the “Cerebral” writers who did not feel anything wrong about Emergency! All these Congress stooges got their undeserving awards and importance under Congress! so, He wants Rahul to be the PM, who cares about the nation anyway?
    He had all appreciation for China and Congress! Just an example, Congress had a Dont ask Dont tell policy regarding Foreign relations> George was all appreciative about both.
    Congress governments never asked China what are they doing in our border and Congress never told the people of India how much land they lost to china! Now BJP is resisting the encroachment, George is very unhappy because both his masters are not winning! His selective conscience is only reserved for accusing Modi on fake news and manufactured narratives!
    It is funny that they will abuse you and call you an abuser!

  6. Raj says:

    @Howdy Modi!
    you mentioned
    “To understand George who is a cerebral author, one needs more than adequate brain cells count. He is an internationally acclaimed author who is referenced many times in India and abroad. You are no body.I know, you will post a nasty reply to me with an abuse. That is the standard of you Indians today.”
    So, you think you have more than enough Brain cells compared to others to appreciate George!
    Is not this – you abusing others? How arrogant a person can be?
    If you think you are not, then, you are both mentally retarded and arrogant and need Psychiatric help!!
    Our sympathies are with you for your mental health! You are free to keep your Love for George or Communism or China/Pak or Hatred against Hindus/Bhakths/Modi , that is your choice! But just remember, you are only able to abuse others only because Indians are tolerant!
    You have the right to be an idiot but you are abusing that too!
    Also which Planet or Nation did you land on this planet? Referring to us as “You Indian?
    Seriously, when exactly that UFO landed and dumped the stupid people like you on this planet, but I am sure they are not coming back to pick you up!

  7. Harsha says:

    @Raj _ Fantastic reply!!!

  8. Howdy Modi! says:

    @Raj you are a regular cyber abuser. You prove that you have very few brain cells. So is this abuser called @Harsha who is in your league of low brain cell count.
    George is an internally acclaimed Journalist, and you 2 are nobody.
    Kudos to SOM’s Vikram and Mr Ganapathy to continue with George. They know where excellence lies.
    You are fit to be in that third world country,given your brain cell count!

  9. Hello, hello! says:

    We like to read George’s articles, which are thought-provoking and analytical.
    Please make sure that the posters like@Raj and @Harsha do keep within the cyber good etiquette . SOM is read by Mysoreans around the world, and hence the above posters should be ashamed of themselves. They have never learned, hence banning their posts is appropriate.

  10. Srinivasan says:

    Yes Vikram and please continue to publish one sided views of this George in your substandard newspaper. This is the only newspaper where useless writers can find space and in turn it helps you to fill up your newspaper.

    India has chosen it’s leader. As a slap to many, second time the same leader. For all those who are finding it hard to understand, mostly for their religious affiliation are finding these ways. It’s ok. India has tolerated many like this for centuries. One more like George makes no difference. “Internationally acclaimed writer”?? Seriously?? Where else does he writes? New York times or The Guardian? Or Times may be? His nonsense space fillers are only for SOM and fit to be here.

  11. Howdy Modi! says:

    @Srinvasan You are no body. Yes, George is a syndicated columnist. You do not read NY times of Guardian, btw Guardian is not an really international paper, A leftist trash. Living in Mysouru, you have no concept of International dimension. George’s book on VKK Menon is referenced by almost all student papers, in US and UK universities.
    You are just a Modi’s apologist, a chela of him. Like him , you are really shallow, and should be ashamed not to know how analysis can work.
    Vikram and Ganapathy, more intelligent and smarter than you, continue to publish George’s column. Thanks SOM.

  12. Hello, hello! says:

    Hello Srinivasan. You again, the disciple of Modi. If you do not like George, do not read SOM, that simple.
    You should be really ashamed. n SOM is better than you. As a poster said, one needs sufficient brain cell count to understand George’s analysis. I like George, so are Vikram and Ganapathy. Mach on, stop arguing nonsense.

  13. Raj says:

    @Hello, hello! and Howdy Modi!
    I hope you are both one and the same due to the similarity of symptoms !
    By reading your posts in so many columns in the the SOM here is my observation. I hope I am wrong, but getting yourself examined may be better for you in the long run!

    People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, which is characterized by extreme arrogance and self-absorption, may have structural abnormalities in a region of the brain that has been linked to empathy, a new study finds.
    Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority, while also projecting displays of arrogance and vanity, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
    Please don’t misunderstand me! I am sympathetic towards mental patients!
    All your symptoms are very clearly indicative of a serious mental disorder !
    One of you said that you are not in India! That is a progress, you are already a step ahead ! Western countries more acceptable in treatment of mental disorders! Also they are more respectful about privacy!
    I am sorry for my previous post as I thought I was dealing with normal person! My apologies for trying to respond as a logical person and in thus process may have offended you!
    Good Luck with your health!!

  14. Utham Purushthman says:

    George is just doing his duties towards the CROSS community. For him Nehru was a star so is that Pappu and his Italian Mother Antonio. Doesn’t it say it all, which side is feeding this puppy George. Yes as someone mentioned, George has no clue about MMSing, not surprised at all, after all a kitchen boy of Antonio in the name of PM of India.

  15. Boregowda says:

    George and his cronies should be banished to China


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