(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
It’s an alert to Modi government. It would face more and more hurdles in getting its message across to the citizens on the social media platform of twitter.
Twitter flagged a tweet by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT Cell chief Amit Malviya on Wednesday as “manipulated media”.
Malviya had posted a video which busted the lie of Rahul Gandhi about a policeman swinging his baton at an agitating farmer. Malviya’s video in response clearly showed there was more gap between the policeman and farmer than you have between the wicketkeeper and point fielder in cricket. Look below for yourself: Not even a blind would miss out on Rahul Gandhi’s forgery. An image could be manipulated: Not an unedited video.
But twitter beat even a blind. It came swinging out in response. Not against Rahul Gandhi but against Amit Malviya! It flagged Malviya’s as “manipulated media.”
This morning the Left-Liberal media had its bone between the teeth. Indian Express put it on front page, word-to-word a bigger story than the agitating farmers who have put a siege on the Capital. The newspaper has painted the town red.
Now I would tell you why it’s not just between Malviya and Gandhi or twitter as an arbiter. Why it should concern the Modi government. And why it should concern we the citizens.
Please bear with me a little background.
It’s 1% in control of 99% of humanity
Our world today is split between Left-Liberals and Conservatives. The first one is Joe Biden; the latter Donald Trump. In India’s context, its Congress and BJP. The rise of Conservatives—call them right-wingers if you must—is a phenomenon of the last decade. Citizens have realized that in the name of Liberalism and Globalization, the elite few have sucked the life out of majority of humanity. That 1% of the world has more money, resources and power than the combined rest 99%. That their own land, labour and resources were being usurped by the global elites who held political process, media, academia, movies etc in thrall. Who controlled all the means of information, manipulated it so that it could keep the citizenry in a matrix, uninformed and easily malleable.
But then came Social Media. The elites had thought it was just another means of controlling the narrative. But now the citizens had 140 characters and the button. People began talking. Sharing. Discussing. Lies began to be nailed. Opinions began gathering a mass. The Empire of Lies began crumbling. Citizenry began wresting control of Truth.
They hadn’t thought Brexit was possible. They ordered a referendum, secured in their ivory tower. But the vote went opposite. The media and academia had declared Hillary Clinton a winner even before the 2016 presidential elections in the US were over. Donald Trump it was though who came out beaming. Narendra Modi was called every abuse the mankind had invented. He too came out beaming from ear-to-ear in 2014. The smile became even wider in 2019 polls. People began winning against the Power.
Then 2020 beckoned. Increasingly the signs were that Donald Trump would win again. Now all stops were pulled. Social Media, a front soldier of Left-Liberals, now hit upon an idea. Twitter declared in February that it would have its own fact-finding mechanism to tell the innocent readers who is telling a lie. If being the God of Truth is the name of the Game, and if we are losing this battle of controlling the Truth in our palms, we would create a new arbiter in the game. A new God of Truth, but completely in our control.
So fact-check websites began springing all over the place. They were well-protected by the likes of Twitter. They were the “independent” voices. Nobody knows how these voices passed the credibility test of Twitter and Facebook.
The Double-Standards in Plain View: Samples
Look at Alt News in India. There are specific website and twitter accounts devoted to busting the lies of Alt News. But Alt News always gets a free pass from twitter. Look at Devdutt Pattanaik, the fake mythologist. He uses the vilest of language, words which you won’t use even in the privacy of your toilet. But he too gets a free pass. A Kapil Mishra is hauled over the coals on Delhi riots but a Sonia Gandhi, despite her “aar-paar-ki-ladai” exhortation gets a free pass. As against this is True Indology twitter account. It has suffered more sacks from twitter than India did at the hands of Mahmud of Ghazni.
This brings me to the present. In the run-up to the US presidential elections, Twitter began “censoring” president Donald Trump on his tweets regularly. When Trump warned rioters against looting during BlackLivesMatter days, Twitter called out that he was glorifying violence. The squeeze on Trump was so acute that the president with 80 million followers on twitter, blurted out in anger: “Twitter is targeting the President of the United States, 24/7, while turning their heads to protest organizers who are planning, plotting their next moves daily on this platform.”
Now keep this at the back of your mind as we come to Malviya episode. The same playbook has been applied by twitter in India as it has been doing for last few months in the US. There is an “independent” voice they rely on which decides on “manipulated media”. They have taken on Malviya because he is the bluntest of all voices in the BJP. He is the David who is slaying the Goliath of Left-Liberal lies. He takes them head-on as those who watch his encounters with Rajdeep Sardesai would vouch for. So, take him down first. Draw his teeth out. Do it to all who counter the Left-Liberals narrative strongly. If this method reaches to Narendra Modi himself, so be it. After all, twitter did take on Trump ruthlessly.
So Amit Malviya is only the start. This is going to snowball in coming weeks and months. Modi government could do what Trump had proposed just before the US elections: Since Twitter is acting like an editor on its platform, on what should go and what shouldn’t, it should be brought under the laws of the land. That twitter is thus a media platform subject to regulations, checks and balances, like every other media outlet is.
Again, I predict Amit Malviya would be a norm for other conservative voices on the platform. Unless the government tells them who is the boss here.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
It’s as good a moment to laugh at or mourn for the Americans and verify this utterance four years down the line in 2024.
For men like me, it’s a moment of chuckle since the US media is having an orgasm on Good Old Joe and his team even though Georgia, Wisconscin, Arizona and Nevada and 79 critical electoral votes are being challenged.
But then the US media, in the presidential campaign, never raised the little matter of “war and peace” while pitching for Joe Biden and now wouldn’t like the Americans to peek at the dossier of his inbound nieces and nephews.
So, we have Tony Blinken as Secretary of the State who was disappointed that the United States didn’t apply enough force in Syria and advocated that Saudi Arabia be sided with in their bombings in Yemen. He had chortled along with Biden for military action in Libya. Those polite call him Biden’s “alter ego.” Those blunt prefer the phrase of “war-mongering psycho.”
Somehow, this essential on the man misses the US media completely as they harp on his experience, having been a deputy both in the offices of the National Security Advisor (2013-2015) and Secretary of State (2015-2017).
This once aspiring film producer couldn’t have found a better script than his own journey: Jewish parents, father who dominated the world of venture capital, mother a patron of arts, a stepfather who survived the holocaust and became one of the most influential lawyer on the global stage.
Blinken’s access in the ante-chambers of White House was visible as back as on May 1, 2011, peering behind Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton while the Operation Abbottabad against Osama bin Laden was on ( Blinken in red circle in image below).
Then you have Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor, who once wrote to her boss Hillary Clinton that “Al Qaeda is on our side” in Syria. He also was a key player in hyping up the fake allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. He too is all for “American exceptionalism” which is America-in-the-palm-of-military-industrial-complex-again in the post-Trump world.
Then there are nieces. Michele Flournoy who is most likely to be the Secretary of Defense. Janet Yellen, treasury secretary, who is an inflation hawk, unlikely to support large spending on social welfare, and generally means that the rigged US financial system, a private monetary system, is ruling the roost again.
If still unconvinced, they say, follow the money and truth would reveal itself to you.
The two most-common link between most of these nephews and nieces is CNAS (Centre for New American Security) and CSIS (Centre for Strategic and International Studies)—the 2nd and 6th highest recipient of US government and defense-contractor funding.
Who are the top donors to CNAS? Northrop, Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and the Department of Defense. Now Michele Flournoy is co-founder of CNAS. One of her well-documented sleight of hand was in getting the UAE to pay CNAS $250,000 to draft just a report that it must buy American drones. These pilotless birds, US-made, have never stopped ending up in Gulf theocracies, never mind their human rights record or brutal bombings in neighbourhood such as Yemen.
Tony Blinken has been with CSIS, Jake Sullivan with Macro Advisory Partners, run by British spy chiefs, not to say with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, funded by 10 military agencies and defence contractors. Watch out for the names of Avril Haines (top contender for CIA director) and Kathleen Hicks (CSIS) in case their names pop up in your New York Times of Washington Post tomorrow morning.
There is this moral from Aesop’s fable: “A man is known by the company he keeps.” To me, it means the return of GIs boots in the far-flung corners of the world. The US media would never mention that this set cost the United States humiliating defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as in Vietnam. Some three million service members spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan for no gain in the last 19 years. Some $6 trillion dollars of the taxpayers have gone down the drain. Some 515,000 people have been killed, including 260,000 civilians.
So the sacred cow of foreign policy and the golden calves of defence establishment would again be venerated. Those who found Donald Trump an evil incarnate in the last four years, a Hitler reborn, would sing peace hymns in the background to genocides. Meanwhile, you could carry on with your clowns in NYT and Washington Post.