A ‘lie’ is spread when someone knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. ‘Slander’ is an idea of making a false statement appear true. It is synonymous with gossip. If you slander someone you are trying to ruin their reputation. It makes others think badly of that person. Slander is always bad, both for the slanderer and the one being slandered. In today’s world, it is easy to use the social media to pass on rumors and allegations using blogs, tweet, Facebook and several mail systems.
As the enlightened members of civil society we have certain responsibilities also. We are demeaning our role if we’re willing to believe what is being said without questioning who’s saying it, why it is being said and what is the evidence. Furthermore, if you don’t challenge the rumor when you know the truth then your silence becomes a transgression of the laws of honesty. It is a social, moral and religious crime no matter which school of thought you follow, even before it turns into a legal crime. We add insult to injury if we pass it on adding some of our unbaked thoughts tinged with ignorance, prejudice and jealousy.
We don’t realize that damage happens quicker and affects not just one individual but the whole society or nation. Prominent the personality which is being target, greater is the vulnerability. There is no denying that a leader shouldn’t escape the accountability of their words and deeds. However, there is no justification in the distortion of truth and that also at a very critical moment of national politics.
The ‘Huffington Post’ Rumor
That is exactly what happened when ‘The Huffington Post’ spread the rumor about Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s 12 th position up Wealth Ladder of the world richest politicians and rulers. Every time I opened ‘Twitter’ yesterday, I got the shocks of moral depravity. The foul language and the venom was flooding not only against Sonia Gandhi or Nehru Family but also against Congress and upon the morality of the nation.“Looteri Bahu’ was the name of the game on TWITTER. As an old reader of ‘The Huffington Post’ and well informed about the history of its founder Arianna Huffington I was wondering how to react. I have always held Mrs. Gandhi in highest esteem. However, I vividly recollected the article written by Sunil Sharan that was published in September in the same blog. It was a shrewd derogation of Mrs. Gandhi in subtle disguise. That the blog would go to that depth of misinformation just two days before the Delhi poll would put a question mark about the intention of writer as well as the blog. The subject in its naked simplicity was intended to malign Mrs. Gandhi and done on purpose.
It was too late for correction and I don’t know what steps Mrs. Sonia Gandhi should take or would take to punish the blog for its slander. However, the game is up as the site has accepted its mistake and declared that the data was taken from another website and was unsubstantiated. Editor’s Note: “Sonia Gandhi and the former Emir of Qatar Hamid bin Khalifa al Thani have been removed from the list. Gandhi was originally included on a listing on a third party site which was subsequently called in question. Our editors have been unable to verify the amount, removed the link and regret any confusion.” The website disclaimer said that though all information presented was gathered from sources which were thought to be reliable, the viewer should not assume that such information is up to date or completely accurate and final.
‘The Huffington Post’ claims itself an on line news AGGREGATOR and BLOG. The word ‘Aggregator’ is the moral escape route to include the false propaganda. For the benefit of the readers I would give some glimpses of the life and achievements of Arianna Huffington, the founder, president and editor-in-chief of “The Huffington Post Media Group”. She is a Greek American author, 13 books till date to her credit and a well known syndicated columnist. In the year 2005 she started a news blog and soon it became popular. It was linked to frequently cited brands on the internet. The site won the Pulitzer Prize for excellence in national reporting in 2012. In 2006 and 2011 Arianna was named as one of the most powerful in ‘Time 100.’ In 2013, she found a place in the list of Forbes Magazine’s Most Influential Women. She was Arianna Stasinopoulo before she married former Republican Congressman Michael Huffington in 1985 and separated in 1997. In the earlier part of her career she was a Liberal-Democrat and later became a popular Conservative commentator. One of her famous quotes go like, “When your house is burning down, you don’t worry about the remodeling.”
She had been a strong opponent of Women’s Liberal Movement and author of the famous book ‘The Female Women.’She had vehemently opposed the NATO intervention against Serbia during the Yugoslav War. All the main political and army leaders of Serbia had been later declared as War Criminals by world court of justice. In 1981 the famous writer Gerald Fitzgerald accused her of plagiarism of copying material for her book ‘Maria Callas. The dispute was settled out of court and Arianna had to pay a hefty amount. The same charge was leveled in 1988 against her by Lydia Gasman, an art history professor at University of Virginia for her book ‘Picasso; Creator and Destroyer.’ Lydia claimed that the book included the themes similar to those in her Ph. D thesis. According to Lydia – “What she did was steal twenty years of my work.” She didn’t file the suit.She had played herself in shows like ‘Help Me Help You’, ‘Roseanne’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and acted in the film EdTV.
She is smart and smooth operator but also known for her pride and prejudices.