Gold Standard of Fake News: Why I Don’t Read Newspaper Much…

I don’t read daily newspaper with the same enthusiasm or purpose any more. I do read it for trivial news updates, but not for being informed about world events or for forming views/opinions.

Firstly, daily newspaper had become way more outdated for that, particularly in the age of Social Media where news is fed and consumed 24×7.

Secondly, the quality of journalism in all fields has gone terribly bad. Sensationalism, propaganda and plain fake news have taken over genuine high-quality journalism.

The latest example is the much-hyped news which went viral a couple of days back.

The news was about GSI (Geological Survey of India) finding “3500 tonnes of gold” in Uttar Pradesh!

Immediately the news was picked by the party in power, BJP and their online trolls – and WhatsApp University was overflown with “visionary leadership of PM Modi” and “great achievement by CM Yogi” etc.

Nobody bothered to pause a bit, understand the news and then share.

Look at below tweet from IYI (Intellectual Yet Idiot – NN Taleb’s phrase) S Gurumurthy. This joker is a Chartered Accountant, Director of RBI and a key man in implementing the monumental blunder of Demonetisation.

Then there was over zealous Anand Mahindra, head of Mahindra group, who received Padma award this year and maybe as a burden of that gift from Govt he is morally obligated to utter such nonsense.

That’s not all. There is a good startup called Finshots which usually posts short, informative tweets about Financial concepts, updates and educates financially illiterate people. Very noble and much needed cause!

They too posted below graphic on the gold finding and its relative importance.

However, nobody bothered to verify the news or understand the real news.

I am always skeptical of any achievement claimed by BJP Govt, especially that overrated dictator called Modi and his chamcha Yogi. So I tried to understand the real news. I found that they had discovered 3500 tonnes of ore, and not actual gold.

The next question is, how much of gold it can produce? Well, I dis basic search about the Gold mines and found that 1 tonne ore usually produces 1 gm to 30 gms of gold. In most cases it would be below 10 gms.

So 3500 tonnes of ore would actually produce very little gold, that too of we are lucky!

I tried explaining this to my Modi Bhakt friends and other random troll army members, but in vain.

Fortunately, in less than 24 hours the GSI themselves issued below clarification and said that the actual gold would be just about 160 Kgs (i.e. worth INR 68 Cr or $10 million). Just $10 million, and not $150 billion. That’s wrong by a factor of 1/15000!!!

Anyways, finally better sense prevailed and GSI put an end to the euphoria. Even Finshots acknowledged and deleted their earlier graphic and posted this message:

However, this incident is not unique. It just shows the gold standard of fake news that is so pervasive in India.

Remember this great “achievement” announced by PM Modi few years ago?

Go check what happened to that news and also Google “GSPC Scam”.

Hint: You wouldn’t find much mention of “GAPC Scam” because we live in “MODIfied India”

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