27 July, 2021

A Sting Without Venom

'Tehelka's multi-million enterprise has been greeted with circumspection bordering on derision'

A Sting Without Venom
Sting is suddenly a suspect, if not dirty, word. But till even just a few months ago this controversial method of procuring information was celebrated as the harbinger of a bold era, the defining characteristic of "new journalism". After the infamous Delhi schoolteacher episode, which turned out to be concocted, there is palpable discomfort with this genre. Sadly, for Tehelka's multi-million enterprise aimed at exposing Narendra Modi's alleged involvement in the 2002 post-Godhra riots, even their venture has been greeted with circumspection bordering on derision. Congress, the prime beneficiary of sting operations mounted by Tehelka, its offshoots and other copycats, has issued fervent disclaimers about its alleged sponsorship of the operation, privately suggesting this may have been funded by Modi! A failed sting is like a military coup gone awry: it is an orphan.

Why did Tehelka, the original promoter of this dubious genre of journalism, get it so horribly wrong this time? First, the timing of its public release was so...

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