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Friday, June 2, 2023

Pandemic to a Porndemic : A repugnant media and its rancours

A systematic disinformation and a hyped campaign has been unleashed by Bharatiya media against the Government of Bharat and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the handling of the Covid emergency situation in Bharat. The international media is not wasting much time. More, the merrier. It has joined the media circus adding pseudosophistication and colour to give the much needed rejuvenation for a wailing Bharatiya media after their most hated adversary was lauded world over for his handling of Covid during its first wave in Bharat and his vaccine diplomacy helping more than 70 nations by exporting the much needed Covid vaccine.

How can a craving media let this go unchallenged? Something had to be done to neutralize this. Luck smiled upon these hyenas with a second wave. Now visualize a bunch of these scavengers leaping and plunging on its prey.

Hard to believe that both the national and international media have no knowledge about the political landscape, the structure of governance and the administrative set up of Bharat. Bharat has a federal structure of governance with powers divided between the center and the state. National security, foreign affairs, currency and banking remains with the center, while law and order, health care, commerce and agriculture is vested with the state.

After the first lock down, the States wanted to handle Covid by themselves, as health is a State subject. The center gave into their demands and a free hand was given to handle Covid emergencies in matters of lock down and law and order. So how logical is it to hold the PM responsible for the shambolic situation they are into now? Media’s political bias is not new. Now all semblance of neutrality is completely lost. They are carrying out their journalistic excesses in the name of freedom of reporting.

The West with best healthcare broke down

Not very long ago the West was in a much worse condition than Bharat. America being the third most populous country in the world is only a quarter of the population of Bharat. With a much advanced health care system every western nation went through a tragedy of proportions not seen in the last 100 years.

America saw an average death of 3100 people as late as January 2021. Six days in the same month the numbers touched 4000. There were days when it tipped to 5000. Italy, France, Germany, UK and many other European countries were battling with Covid of humongous proportions. Hospitals ran out of beds and other supplies. They didn’t want patients to spill over on the streets lying on the beds, so were sent back home to die.

Italy stopped treating patients of all other ailments. Only Covid patients were given priority. Even among them the focus was only on the younger patients as they thought the older people had less chance to survive. The situation worsened with unattended patients adding to the death toll. Mass burials happening across nations with bodies queued up. Reportedly the Governor of New York hid the number of Covid deaths in nursing homes. The exact numbers are still unclear.

New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that an earlier draft submitted had pegged the numbers at 9000+ and alleged that the NY Governor’s top aides altered the state health department report to hide the actual number of Covid deaths in the state’s nursing homes bringing it down to 6000+.

Republicans constantly raised this issue in 2020 but the media did not pick up the story fervently as elections were approaching and Democrats couldn’t afford to squander the opportunity to win which was looking well within their reach. A well calibrated narrative was already underway to blame Trump for the Covid disaster.

Grisly as it may get, dozens of dead bodies were found in un-refrigerated trucks in a decomposed state outside a Brooklyn funeral. Another 50 bodies were found in four different storage trucks and Andrew T Cleckley funeral home was loading trucks with ice to maintain the bodies from decaying. The melting ice and the foul smell emanating from the trucks caught the attention of the people in the neighbourhood who reported it to the officials.

Hospitals, mortuaries, funeral homes, cemeteries all were overflowing and the men working there were exhausted with bodies piling up. The family members of the dead said it took at least two to three weeks to get a body removed and get it buried, whatever be the cause of the death, whether it was Covid related or otherwise.

Since the Governor of NewYork is a Democrat leader the liberals can’t afford to be harsh on him. Western media has been quite mild in rebuking or grilling the governor and the state administration. Had it been a Republican state the story would have been different. Early this year the FBI had started investigating the handling of the alleged data undercount of Covid deaths in NewYork state run care homes and facilities.

The state officials estimated the Covid fatality figures at more than 15,000 residents from state run nursing homes and health care facilities. By then all the heat and dust of the elections had settled. Well played. This is the real face of people who advocate “speak truth to power”.

This is the latest from NYC. The bodies are still waiting for burial. You may check the date.

Now imagine this happening in Bharat. The front pages of the liberal media outlets from New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, TIME, The Guardian, would range from calling Modi a ‘narcissist’, ‘Hindu supremacist’, ‘Hindu majoritarian’, ‘hyper-nationalist’, ‘fascist’. Headlines would scream at Modi – ‘the dictator’, ‘tyrant’, ‘demagogue who failed India’.

“Modi’s lack of prediction, arrogance and demagogy are clearly among the causes of a situation that now seems out of control” writes Le Monde, a French newspaper. Was it lack of prediction and arrogance among the leaders when Europe and America was reeling under the 3rd and the 4th wave?

There were alleged reports of disappearances of hundreds of thousands of people in China, their mobile numbers went silent forever. No media raised it or sought clarification on these allegations. The world doesn’t know the exact figures of Covid fatality in China and we have very little chance to know.

When the world was at its highest tipping point with Covid deaths, people across the world questioned China and condemned them for hiding the outbreak of the virus. Millions across the globe were raging with anger with China for hiding the truth about the virus, causing death and destruction, labelled it as ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan virus’.

Back then people were given sermons by the same western media to stop being xenophobic towards China. Today very often we hear the media quoting ‘the UK variant’, ‘Indian variant’, ‘Brazilian variant’, ‘South African variant’. One would wonder why we have hardly ever heard any media quoting ‘the US variant’ or ‘the China virus’. That’s the unspoken truth of the privileged bias of a different order.

China is alleged of extreme human rights violations on its own people like denying religious freedom to Uighur Muslims and unspeakable acts of tortures mounted on them, indulging in harvesting of organs of this ethnic minority, and promoting medical tourism for organ transplantation and their women subjected to ghastly sexual torture.

The western media rarely speaks about any of this. There is deafening silence from the “speak truth to power” gang. No human rights organization calls Xi Jinping a tyrant, a dictator. But Modi is one. We absolutely believe them!

Who is responsible for the Covid mis-management?

Delhi was going through grave times under a raging pandemic facing acute shortage of oxygen cylinders, ventilators and other medical supplies. Sneaking suspicion of hoarding and black marketing of medical supplies has finally come out in the open. The mystery behind the shortage of essential medical supplies is unraveling.

Several arrests have been made, of which some are influential people within the establishment. A restaurateur, with connections in high places was found hoarding more than 500 oxygen concentrators in his restaurants at different places. He was traced and arrested and is currently on bail. More such syndicates are busted and investigations are on.

Many States in Bharat suffer from this curse. Apparently a well planned medical supplies’ shortage hoax was created by the Delhi government.

To put it in the right perspective oxygen cylinders are manufactured by private companies or big corporates. The center can only intervene in matters of logistics and so did the Modi government arrange delivery of oxygen cylinders to all the states through railways running a green corridor.

The Delhi High Court pulled up the Delhi govt on a number of lapses on its part in handling the Covid crisis.

  1. The center had sanctioned funds to the Delhi govt to set up eight oxygen plants in Dec 2020 of which only one had been set up till now.
  2. What happened to the anti-Covid injections provided by the center, as a large number of vials have gone missing?
  3. What arrangements has the Delhi govt made to collect the oxygen cylinders ready for delivery?
  4. Why is hospital infrastructure not developed?

There were no convincing answers coming from the Delhi government. The court severely reprimanded and told them to either work or hand over the government to the center. The Supreme Court too was not forgiving and asked the Delhi government to get serious with its work. Meanwhile the center chose the option of giving up the task to the Supreme Court to form a team for the management of supply of oxygen cylinders.

A well greased media machinery with the Delhi Chief Minister’s ads running in every news channel, gave him and his party spokesmen ample air time to escalate the blame on the center for not providing enough supplies. So did other non-BJP state governments, in order to hide their own incompetence in managing the Covid crisis. Irrespective of whichever party governs the states, the hospital infrastructure, availability of beds, appointment of health care professionals and front line workers are the responsibility of the states in government hospitals.

The buck stops at the Chief Minister’s office. After the center’s decision to do a complete audit of the medical supplies given to Delhi government, the CM took a different stand, saying that Delhi does not face shortages anymore and profusely thanked the PM in all his media appearances for the help rendered. Nothing works like the writ of law or fear of probe.

The scenario is not much different in case of the vaccine roll out. As demanded by the states the center had earlier handed over the vaccination drive to the states. Most of the opposition ruled states failed in the implementation of vaccination to the public. Large number of vaccine vials are reported to have gone waste in several states viz., 37% in Jharkhand, 30% in Chhattisgarh, 15% in TN and 10% in J&K.

Reports coming from Rajasthan say that nearly 12 lakhs of vaccines have been wasted. An investigative report done by a Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar has made some shocking revelations that many vaccine vials were not only found in garbage bins but were also found buried in some hospitals. However the Congress government in Rajasthan has denied these reports and claimed that they were expired vaccines and hence discarded.

The Delhi CM in his usual style, came up with yet another sob story of shortage of vaccines. People in Delhi have been turned away from vaccine centers and many centers have been shut down. With states showing such ineptitude in carrying out the vaccine drive the center had taken back the procurement of  25% vaccination that was earlier with the state governments.

The PM in his speech on 7th June announced to take control of 75% of vaccination and make it free for the public and 25% of the procurement of vaccination shall be left to the private hospitals which will be charged by them.

Modi’s Election rallies and Kumbh blamed for the Covid spread

Manipulation of the human mind is a powerful art and can be easily done when they are in a miserable state. After the furore raised by the media on the election rallies being conducted amidst soaring Covid cases, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah called off physical rallies and started addressing virtual rallies after the 5th phase of elections in West Bengal. The idea of virtual rallies was supported by BJP in an all party meeting to avoid crowded physical rallies way back in July 2020 before Bihar elections in October-November 2020.

Opposition parties opposed the move and went to the Election Commission and wanted physical rallies as they felt that they do not have the resources to conduct digital rallies. They wanted a level playing field hence demanded physical rallies be allowed. The EC gave its approval. The same was followed in the recent five state elections. All was well for the media till the polling finished in four states viz., TN, Pondicherry, Kerala and Assam.

Every stakeholder campaigned, did rallies and road shows, be it Modi, Shah, Rahul Gandhi, Stalin, Pinarayi Vijayan or Mamata. There was no outrage from the media then. When they sensed that in West Bengal the ground was shifting towards BJP, the cabal cited the spread of Covid and wanted Modi and Shah to stop rallies, all in an attempt to break the momentum and save Mamata.

The campaign to stop election rallies was well orchestrated which did bring results and kept Modi and Shah away. Whereas Mamata continued with her physical rallies till the last (8th) phase of elections. No one questioned her or urged her to stop doing rallies.

While the entire media’s focus and criticism was over Kumbh Mela, they conveniently ignored calling out other religious gatherings. It was mandatory for people attending Kumbh to produce Covid negative reports to enter Haridwar. The administration too had testing facilities. Though care and preventive steps were taken and the number of attendees were restricted, the Kumbh organizers decided to call off the Mela after Modi’s intervention before the end date to prevent the risk of Covid spread.

Media’s criticism of one religious gathering and turning a blind eye to others’ is a communal bias of the highest order. Throughout the month, Ramzan gatherings were held across Bharat. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, several thousands participated in the funeral procession of a Qazi flouting all Covid protocols.

In another incident a three day retreat of the South Kerala Diocese of Churches of South India was conducted where about 400 pastors participated and at least 100 got infected with Covid and nine succumbed to it. All happening around the same time of Kumbh. Religious congregations of every denomination need to be called off if the idea was to curb the rising Covid case. But the entire focus was only on Kumbh and blamed it for the spread. There lies a difference between reason and motive. There was a clear bias by the pseudo-liberal policing brigade.

The Election Commission’s ban on victory celebrations of the recently concluded five state elections was a welcome move. Hope the same vigilance was extended by the government authorities onto the fake farmer protest sitting at the Delhi border. Tens of thousands of these demonstrators are staging a protest on National highways at the Delhi border obstructing free movement of vehicles. The transport of life saving medical supplies including oxygen cylinders to Delhi hospitals was severely affected when people were gasping for breath.

The Delhi government was aiding these protestors with free WiFi at the protest site fuelling their arrogance. But the media and social media influencers in their wisdom thought Covid spreads only in Narendra Modi, Amit Shah’s rallies and not in Mamata’s. It spreads in Kumbh not in other religious gatherings, spreads in victory rallies not in farmer’s protest sites. Do you see the brazen bias now?

Farmer’s protest has been the super spreader of Covid, the effect of which is seen both in Delhi and Punjab with a high number of Covid cases. Hope the courts take cognizance of it and ask the protestors to vacate the place or give direction to the Modi government to deploy central forces and evict them. They have caused enough damage to the economy and also have contributed enormously to the tragedy of Delhi and Punjab in spreading Covid.

Crematoriums – The media’s free outdoor studio

Financial Times – Associate Editor, Edward Luce, sitting in the comforts of his office in New York writes “Read this remarkable Arundhati Roy essay and rage and weep for an India that is Governed by a neo-fascist, narcissist who ignored every scientific warning he was given. Indians deserve neither Modi nor the pandemic. They urgently need the world’s help.”

So the agenda is in the open. They want Modi out. Nobody deserves this pandemic. Neither Bharat nor America or any other nation. Edward should know that enough data backed scientific warnings were sent out by the center to the states and the Chief Ministers were alerted months ago to take preemptive measures to curb a possible surge. These are documented, hence no one can escape from accountability.

Edward Luce and his friends should also know that Arundhati Roy, whom the west dearly clings to, is like a collector’s item which has lost its synthetic sheen. The sleeping giant has woken up. They may parade Ms. Roy proudly as she speaks their language, echoing their opinions. If her fans in the west are so enamoured with her sophistry, they are welcome to take her with them and keep her in their art gallery. No one will miss her in Bharat.

Bharat became a nation state only in 1947 but we are a civilizational family who have walked over this planet for more than a decamillenium. So please spare yourself from being presumptuous that we Bharatiyas need to be taught what is right and wrong, how to think and act, what choices to make and whom to follow. We don’t live by the standards fixed by the west. We don’t follow your hegemonic rules. We live by our ethos. Bharatiyas who live in the hinterlands are plain hearted, simple and grounded people. They don’t appreciate such pretentious attitudes.

Instead of giving Bharatiyas grand moral lessons on which leader we deserve, both the Bharatiya and international media should have practiced what they preach. In which other country has the media ever walked into a crematorium or a funeral home? It happens only in Bharat. There were Bharatiya journalists reporting from crematoriums.

Every single day the media cries wolf that their freedom of expression is severely curbed in Bharat and journalists are threatened and jailed for reporting. If that claim was true most of the journalists must be behind bars in Bharat for spreading fake news.

The government has shown enormous patience with the media and repeatedly advised them not to misreport or mislead the nation on every occasion – be it when CAA or farm bills were passed. No journalist has been jailed for reporting the facts. Few journalists have been booked for spreading fake news or causing panic by writing misleading posts which can cause immense trauma to patients suffering from Covid.

Virologists and mental Health doctors have advised the media to report responsibly and be sensitive not to cause more panic and fear among those who are already down with Covid. All these patients need is a positive atmosphere and pep talks to get them back on their feet. Instead the media showing visuals of cremations and burials can weigh heavily in their minds.

Picking up from the Bharatiya journalists reporting from crematoriums, New York Times published the images of burning pyres on their front page. The Washington Post bureau chief tweeted on an aerial view shot of a crematorium with funeral pyres burning as “Stunning”. Really? Someone’s funeral pyre is a stunning view for this journalist as if it were some star gazing.

BBC reported that the dead were cremated in car parks in Delhi. A proper fact-check revealed that cremations happened within the cremation ground and a portion of it was used for parking the cars. The space is now being used for cremations as more bodies turn up each day. It is just that the BBC used its journalistic liberty to twist the story and create some eye-popping tales.

Other western and Islamic media too joined this tragedy bandwagon. To name a few – BBC.com, Independent.co.uk, trtworld.com, TIME, LA TIMES.com, reuters.com, yahoo.uk.news, Aljazeera and the list goes on. These are agents of misery and some in Bharat’s digital news media gave cover fire to these international publications,  before there was a backlash from common people on social media after seeing their insensitive reporting.

One needs to ask, if the media really has given itself into predator instincts? Crematoriums are pensive and sacred places for the last journey of the dead. They did not spare even this opportunity to chase their lust for a gross display of yellow journalism. They snatched away that personal dignity of the departed soul sans all sensitivity. The national and the international media turned it into a global spectacle splashing it all across editorials.

It did not stop there. Images of funeral pyres were uploaded on Getty images. The major contributors were leading media houses both national and international. Any media group big or small, could buy these images which were of three different sizes from the stockpile, with the largest size being sold at as high as Rs. 23,000 for their editorial sections. Would you call this journalism? They were doing business over the dead.

This is not even rubbing salt over the wounds. This is ripping apart our wounds to test our levels of tolerance and fortitude. These so-called “stunning images” which are being sold for money are not postcard images of exotic locations. They are selling the pain and tears of the families who lost their loved ones. They were making money out of human tragedy. Bharatiyas have now named these ugly exploits of the media as “tragedy porn” and rightly so. Anyone defending these agents of misery porn are as much a disgrace to human society.

Bharat will never forgive this!

-by Shanta

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