Monday, July 13, 2009

Shame on Mathrubhumi: The Lie on Thomas Isaac

I am truly amazed at a box item report that has appeared in Mathrubhumi today (Saturday, 11th July 2009) on a "secret visit" by T. M. Thomas Isaac to Mumbai (for those who have not read it, please see below). The report says that he was in Mumbai to influence the central committee members from Maharashtra in favour of Pinarayi Vijayan. For those, who still do not believe that news reports are manufactured against CPM leaders, this is a good case study.

The report is nothing but a huge lie. I am sitting amazed at (a) the ability of the reporter to write something that he knows is untrue; (b) the extent of his imagination; and (c) the new lows to which a paper like Mathrubhumi can stoop to tarnish CPM leaders.

Thomas Isaac was in Mumbai not to secretly meet any leader here, but to receive his daughter Sara, who was landing in Mumbai from the US. He reached Mumbai late in the night on Thursday (9th). Mumbai airport officials transported him to the International Terminal, where he received his daughter at about 1 AM on Friday (10th). He moved with his two daughters to the TISS guest house in Chembur where his accomodation was arranged and all of them, tired as they were, slept till late in the morning. He ordered food at his room for lunch. Post-lunch, he was continously working with some of us on a book that he is completing, and which is to be published by Sage Publications this month. He did not even move out of his room till dinner time, when he was joined by four friends of his. Post-dinner, he went to his room and slept. He went to Delhi by an early morning flight today (11th). At no point, did he even come out of his guest house room. The only visitor he had in the day was the Director of TISS, who had dropped in for a courtesy visit.

At about 2 PM, one friend of mine in Mumbai received a phone call from N. Sreejith, the Mathrubhumi staff reporter in Mumbai. He asked if Thomas Isaac is in Mumbai, to which the person, smelling fish, replied "not in my knowledge". The conversation ended. The next thing that we know is this news item!! Here is a father who comes to receive his daughter and lands in a trouble like this.

The persons in Maharashtra referred to in the news item (Ashok Dhawale, Kumar Shiralkar and KL Bajaj) were in a train to New Delhi when Isaac arrived in Mumbai. This reporter does not even have the basic commmon sense to find out if they were in Mumbai or not for the "secret meeting". Ashok Dhawale has already issued a statement in this regard.

The courage that Mathrubhumi had to figure out that he was in Mumbai, try to trace him and, on failure to trace, write a big lie like this is so totally shameful. In any other decent newspaper, this reporter would be expected to be axed the next day. But not in Mathrubhumi, where the story line is given directly from the top. The paper will not even apologise tomorrow, and in any case, the purpose has been served (on the hot dog error, Deshabhimani had so graciously apologised).


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