Archive for December 17th, 2010

CNN-IBN in row over “fake” Twitter comments

17 December 2010

Every single media implosion in recent months—be it Barkha Dutt‘s response to criticism of her 26/11 coverage or her response to the Niira Radia tapes, or Rajdeep Sardesai‘s defence of Vir Sanghvi and Dutt as president of the editors’ guild—has only underlined how cut off old media is from the new and how it is still groping around for cover from te latter’s constant 24x7x365x60x60 scrutiny.

Now, Sardesai’s channel, CNN-IBN, has slipped into a row in which it has locked horns with the newest kid on the social media block: Twitter.

Last night, on his award-winning show India@9, Sardesai moderated a show on whether lobbying should be legalised in the wake of the Radia scandal.

So far, so good.

But blogosphere is ablaze with rumours and allegations that CNN-IBN generated fake Twitter counts that it ran at the bottom of the screen while the show was on.

“I was appalled to find that these comments were manipulated, i.e. ghost created and run by IBN’s own team, all those dubious comments seem to reflect the sentiments and to show and thrust the fact that people are for ‘LOBBYING’ and they support  ‘LEGALISING LOBBYING’,” wrote one blogger.

“If they are as perceived to be, this is a clear breach of trust and honesty and a clear evidence of media manipulating and directing Public opinion, which is illegal, dishonest and unethical and could be ascam by itself, this is a dangerous trend clearly a propaganda strategy for deception.”

The blogger also posted the screenshots of five Twitter accounts (@t_mayank, @bhumika_14, @maira_t12, @harish_p and @kala_s) that CNN-IBN ran on the show, to show that the handles were indeed blank.

Sardesai, who is CNN-IBN’s editor-in-chief, responded twice on Twitter since the story gained steam.

In one, he said:

The comments were picked up from ibnlive.com. should have been attributed to the web, not to twitter.”

And in the other, he said:

explanation given, apology given. chill.

But the universe of social media is an incredibly cruel, even anti-social one. And pretty soon, CNN-IBN’s catchline “Whatever it Takes” was soon undergoing an online metamorphosis.

Links courtesy Vishwas Krishna

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