“भारत के लिए गर्व की बात। अमेरिका ने व्हाइट हाऊस से जारी एल्बम में 50 ईमानदार नेताओं में भारत के एक मात्र नेता डॉ मनमोहन सिंह पहले स्थान पर हैं । शत शत प्रणाम श्री मनमोहन सिंह जी को।” (Translation: A proud moment for India. India’s Manmohan Singh figures in first place in the album of 50 honest leaders, published by White House. Much respect for Shri Manmohan Singh). This message is viral on Facebook among Congress supporters. Another version of the message explains further that Manmohan Singh figures in the first place and Narendra Modi does not even feature in this list of 50 honest leaders. Can it really be true? Would the White House be publishing an album of “honest” leaders around the world? The message seems to be targeted at the most gullible but let us check it out.
Several versions of the message are viral on Facebook and WhatsApp.
The above image has a watermark of ‘viralinindia.net’ and has also been shared by the ViralInIndia.net page on its Facebook page. ViralInIndia.net is run by Abhishek Mishra who describes himself as an RTI activist on his Twitter profile.
The real picture
The story behind the message goes back to December 2016 when US President Barack Obama hosted the 14th and his final formal State Arrival Ceremony and State Dinner. On the occasion, Chief White House photographer shared glimpses from some of the other state dinners hosted by President Obama over the tenure of his presidency.
The photo series began with the photograph of former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur being escorted by the Obamas. This image was significant because it was the first official State Visit hosted by President Obama after assuming office in 2009. There were no pictures of Narendra Modi in this collection of photographs.
The viral message is based on half truth. Yes, a photograph of Manmohan Singh featured prominently in the images shared during a State event by the White House photographer. Yes, Narendra Modi did not feature in the collection of photographs. But the images are not a collection of “honest” world leaders as claimed in the viral message. They were just a selection of behind the scene glimpses of dinners hosted by Obama administration and nothing more than that.
The viral message has uncanny similarities to those fake news posters that are frequently shared by BJP supporters. Similar eye catching color scheme, striking font to present a message that is patently fake. The Congress supporters seem to be in a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em mood”. If this really true, be prepared to be inundated with more fake news in the coming days.
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