Re-tweets (RTs) are not endorsements, this is a frequent tag line that is associated with every popular twitter handle these days. What it generally means is that, ‘A re-tweet from a popular twitter handle, doesn’t really hold the twitter handle from the moral obligation of authenticating the tweet.’
In modern day social media this is considered as an acceptable norm, considering the fact that sometimes, it might actually take a whole day to actually verify the news from its source. But what about the fact that some re-tweets come with an explanation of the source of the report? Or what if the popular twitter handle actually endorses the news with a praise in the re-tweet? Is this also exempt from scrutiny? Unfortunately, the answer is BIG NO !!!
Social Media, in many cases has been the Hero/Savior, in order to authenticate in what is being termed as ‘Hit Job Journalism’. But how does Hit Job Journalism actually work?
It is very simple, assume a scenario where a big tragedy which has occurred in your locality. This city/town or village that you live in, could be from North, South, East, West or Central part of India. How many Media houses actually bother to verify the news or do a fact check before publishing a report based on the authenticity of this news?
The answer is actually very few, one Media House might have actually got the scoop while the remaining just do a Cut, Copy, Re-write & Paste. There could be many reasons for the same, few of the possibilities are given below:-
- Language barrier could be the actual biggest barrier, reports of the news will mostly be available in local languages. Understanding them and converting it to other language would take a good deal of time. Hence the local news is assumed authentic as is and printed without verifying.
- A member from the local Political Party could be involved and he/she would be associated with a popular Local Newspaper, which ironically never publishes news about him/her. This could prevent the truth from coming out.
- The involvement of bureaucracy or internal silencing within the establishment which would be involved in the tragedy, this could have a hand in hiding the news from being exposed.
- But the biggest culprit of them all is called the TRP. Any news item requires TRP to sell and a Hero emerging from a member from the local community could actually boost your Newspaper’s selling point. If the Hero is from a minority community, it might double or probably triple the sales.
To understand this further, let us take the example of the recent Gorakhpur tragedy which claimed the lives of nearly 60 children in one week. Many reports have claimed that the primary reason for this tragedy is the absence of oxygen tanks in Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College. An investigation has been called for by the Yogi Adithyanath Government and the Principal of BRD college, Dr Rajeev Mishra, has been placed on suspension.
In the midst of all these controversies, few Media houses decided to provide the much required local Hero claim to sell their news. Dr Kafeel Khan, the head of the encephalitis ward, was projected as a Hero by several news outlets for saving many children. DNA, News18, NDTV and First Post went ahead to post laurels of his achievements. But what they failed to do here is a simple fact check.
SatyaVijayi was probably the only website which bothered to wait and patiently to do a check before publishing the truth about this person called Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan. For a detailed report, please check the article link given below which has linked Dr Kafeel for allegedly performing several malpractices within the Medical Industry.
While several yesteryear personalities from Main Steam Media have played Devils Advocate and suggested where The Buck Stops with top Political leaders, they seem to have failed to understand the concept of a re-tweet.
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) August 13, 2017
Who is Hero? One who is suspended for the Children’s deaths in Gorakhpur or one who brings oxygen cylinder to save the kids? Who is a Patriot? One who saves children or one who threatens women? Who is a Human Being? One who faces the consequences or one who deactivates his twitter account and website?
Why do you need to praise someone without even trying to ask these questions? Is the recognition from Social Media so important that we keep twisting facts from fiction?
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) August 13, 2017
Probably Barkha is right, almost everyone did praise Dr Kafeel Khan for something for which he doesn’t deserve any credit, but does that justify your stance in endorsing it? We The People, want news which gives the actual truth, not some glamorous endorsement which is followed up by a blatant denial.