In the run up to these Uttar Pradesh elections, the Economic Times came to acquire a measure of notoriety, at least on social media, for its cheerleading of the Samajwadi & Congress alliance. This was mostly due to the troika from ET politics consisting of Aman Sharma, Rohini Singh and Vasudha Venugopal. Here is a typical fan post from one of them, showing the level of their fanatic adulation.
Even in the final days of polling, when Samajwadi & Congress shoulders were clearly drooping, the troika went their merry way on Twitter, as if reality wasn’t happening at all.
The lead member of this pack appears to have been Rohini Singh, who became, in the sunset days of the UP election, some kind of a “Baghdad Bob/Comical Ali” for the Grand Alliance. Remember “Baghdad Bob / Comical Ali“, nickname of Saddam’s charismatic information minister who would appear boldly on Iraqi state TV every night and declare with a straight face how they were winning the war, even as American forces were destroying the last vestiges of Iraqi defenses?
Here is Rohini on March 8, even after the end of the 7th phase, mocking the BJP strategy.
Incidentally, Baghdad Bob later told the Americans that all the “information” he used to dispense during the war came from “authentic sources- many authentic sources”.
The fall of Rohini Singh, in particular, is really a shame. Because Rohini is known to be a very “bright” journalist. She was the best performer at CNBC and then brought in personally by M K Venu to join ET as an asset. Here is part of a transcript, where Venu requests Nira Radia to help out this bright reporter on the “policy side”, since Rohini was getting ready to report on the finance ministry and some other key policies.
She was supposed to be tutored by the best of the best, the people who handle TATAs and other folks whose activities have “policy implications”, you know.
It is sad that such a bright young mind, the best performer at CNBC and tutored by the best on the “policy side”, was reduced to a target of ridicule on Twitter. Social media can be a dark, unfriendly place. She appears to have taken a much deserved vacation from social media since March 11, during which I am sure she will reflect on her downfall and bounce back with renewed vigor.
Most newspapers would be embarrassed to have “reputation” that the Economic Times has acquired. You would think that ET would prefer to lie low after the results of March 11.
But, the Economic Times showed that we have moved into a “post-shame” era when it managed to uncover a grand success for Rahul Gandhi in the results from Uttar Pradesh.
Apparently, the Congress has seen a 51% increase in votes in constituencies where candidates were picked from Rahul’s “Dalit leadership mission” and this is supposed to count as a “success”. Somehow, ET forgot to account for the fact that the Congress contested alone in 2012 and in alliance in 2017. As a result, the Congress should see an increase in votes in almost every seat it contested in 2017.
This is common sense.
It appears that Ms. Nidhi Sharma of “ET Bureau” might need a little bit of help on the “arithmetic side” of things, considering that she is reporting on this stuff now.
But the Economic Times did not stop there. There was more to come from the revered “ET Bureau”.
This time it’s one T K Arun explaining how Rahul is the golden boy who is the unsung hero of our times, always failing to take credit for the all the good things he did for all of us.
The Rahul of Economic Times is something of an unlucky superman. He delivered on economic growth, he learned from all his electoral mistakes, he was the one who “really” defeated Mayawati in 2012, he scripted the victory in Punjab, everything. The only superpower he lacks is taking credit for his achievements. Which is why ‘India’s social media love to ridicule him’.
That might well be true. But I have a feeling that if ET continues down this path, they will soon be the most trolled newspaper in India. Jokes will circulate on every Whatsapp group about ET’s imbecilic antics and credentials. And it won’t be an accident.