CNN-IBN in row over “fake” Twitter comments

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 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


  1. admins can go to their site dashboard and post these comments in backdate. No big deal. Who is Sardesai trying to fool? Lobbying is not illegal in India. To say lobbying should be legalised is a smokescreen meant to deflect attention. It’s a way of saying nothing illegal has happened in the Radia tapes.

  2. The empire built on hate being supported by deceit cannot sustain.

    Social media will expose these channels.

    Why are we trying to shoot the baker for baking cakes diabetics must not eat to control diabetes.

    Lobbying is not the issue CORRUPTION is. Interference in Cabinet formation is. Misdirected show with preset ideas get defeated very easily.

    1. Apology for a deliberate act is not acceptable.

      This was done with full knowledge.This should be treated as a professional misconduct.

      Lack of professional integrity and ethics.

  3. Meghana

    Good to know that bad old Sardesai is receiving some well-deserved flak …

  4. […] the so-called media bigwigs and the common man in the audience and going to the extent of even faking twitter feeds in support has tipped the […]

  5. No doubt, it is a deliberate act. Even in his first tweet mentioned above, Sardesai says that they were taken from feedback, but attributed to twitter. But the cnn ibn’s so called apology is silent on it.

    It is very clear that they knowingly cimmitted this mistake. It is also clear, from his second tweet (where he says “chill”), that he or his channel doesn’t care about this.

  6. Ramesh V

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

    Crosschecking on CNNIBN site revelead none of it was true, follow twitter comments and other blogs you will understand.

    This is not rumor or antisocial! it is truth and it was aired. Dont be biased in your writing.

  7. Tarlemaga

    Rajdeep is atleast three generations late to fool the younger lots. It goes to prove that he is born during the days of red tape in India and got into the culture of bribe giving plus taking.

    He has foot in the mouth and stick to being honest or hang his boots.

  8. ranganaatha

    Fake tweets aired on TV news show

  9. I had an experience with CNNibn journalist on twitter. You may please read it here –

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