So what is the point of off-camera confabulations with senior editors and journalists when supposed off-the-record remarks are either splashed in newspapers as lead stories (as happened last time the PM met newspaper editors) or even put up as part of the official transcript on the PMO website itself?
The question must be asked, particularly in light of the Chinese whisper, put out by the Business Standard whose editorial director T.N. Ninan, incidentally, was one of the five editors who met the PM:
“The government has a large department to disseminate information to the media in the Press Information Bureau (PIB). Yet PIB was unable to find anyone to transcribe tapes of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s interview with editors last week. Instead, the transcription was done by Raj Chengappa, editor-in-chief of the Tribune Group of Publications and one of the editors invited for this first of a series of weekly meetings that the prime minister has planned.”
And, of course, this soon followed by a clarification:
With reference to the Chinese Whisper regarding the transcription of prime minister’s remarks to a group of editors last week, it is clarified that the transcription was not done by Raj Chengappa, editor-in-chief of the Tribune Group of Publications.