NDTV is on a mission to legitimise Congress’s Rs-100-crore social media operation, something popularly known as ‘TwitterNREGA’ and ‘e-NREGA’ in social media circles.
All this started after the hashtag #PappuCII trended on Twitter when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed a CII conclave on April 8, 2013. The Congress’s ‘TwitterNREGA’ group tried to trend a rival trend a couple of days later on April 10, 2013 when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was interacting with women entrepreneurs at a FICCI conclave, but much to their dismay, it was trendjacked (that’s Twitter speak for taking someone else’s hashtag and using it for a different purpose altogether).
Within a couple of days, two other English channels — Headlines Today and CNN-IBN — had conducted shows on this Twitter war. One more channel, Times Now, was coming up with a new weekend show on similar lines where this writer was a participant. NDTV therefore, desperately wanted to do a show on this Twitter war.
So NDTV started inviting people from both sides for their two shows, ‘Truth vs Hype’ (conducted by Sreenivasan Jain) and ‘Big Fight’ (conducted by Vikram Chandra). But much to the dismay of NDTV, tweeple from the online Right were denying their requests to appear on their shows, citing the credibility deficit of NDTV. The whole story is documented here. CREDIBILITY! Does it matter? Yes it does Mr @vikramchandra cc @ndtv.
The modus operandi employed by NDTV is quite interesting. The people invited from Congress’s social media team included the serial abuser Amaresh Misra. His exploits have been well documented. Here is a post by Sunanda Vashisht — When it comes to online abuse, some victims don’t matter to BBC! and a story by myself #AbusiveCongress tweets with contents (the whole encyclopedia of abuses by Misra) Abusive Tweet Encyclopedia by Amaresh Misra — Volumes I & Vol II)
As feared, Sreenivasan Jain provided a platform to serial abusers on his show and it was telecast on April 13 and April 14, 2013. The video was uploaded on NDTV’s website. After a hue and cry over the justification of abusive Congress members by NDTV on its platform, Sreenivasan Jain played his usual card and deleted the part which featured Misra. Fortunately, this had already been downloaded and was hence uploaded to the web by Suresh N.
Amaresh Misra part that NDTV chopped on Truth vs Hype
On July 5, 2013, NDTV telecast Followers: mass produced, not mass? to legitimise another serial abuser from the Congress ranks, Suryanarayan Ganesh — @gsurya on Twitter — who is infamous for his abusive language.
Here is a screenshot of one of his the most recent abusive tweets.
The twin objective of this Mission Legitimacy by NDTV is…
» To provide legitimacy to Congress’s social media effort, run mostly on paid basis as per a recent article.
And If that doesn’t succeed;
» By encouraging and providing a platform to serial abusers, to vilify social media itself (Twitter and Facebook) so that they lose credibility in the eyes of TV-watchers.
What does this say about NDTV?