New Delhi: First, they got exposed. Then they hit back in droves — like a deftly conducted political symphony —shamelessly twisting facts.

In the biggest fake news campaign of the year so far, trolls have been attacking Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for more than 24 hours now. His comments on air, which clearly praise the flood-torn people of Kerala for their resilience, have been ignored. But Arnab's scathing remarks on the Congress and anti-Narendra Modi ecosystem trying to politically hijack a tragedy are being peddled as an attack on Malayalis.

Even a cursory look at the video from the show tells you Arnab is attacking Kerala's enemies, not its people.

What really happened?

The well-known journalist and anchor hosted a debate with a hashtag #FoodAidLie on 24th August on his popular program 'The Debate', which he holds every weeknight 9-11pm. He was questioning the narrative that was set by vested interests that the Indian government refused supposed foreign donation from the UAE government to the tune of Rs 700 crore towards the Kerala flood relief work. 

But a section of his debate, in which he talked about this fake narrative-setting forces as "the most shameless bunch of people" exploiting Keralites in their time of grief, has been taken out of context and sold as if the comments were about the people of Kerala.

Now, here's what Arnab said in his TV debate, in verbatim: "When the people of Kerala have been so physically vulnerable, because Ranjeev, the people of Kerala have been so psychologically resilient, you know...and I come from Assam which has been a flood-ravaged state, and I can therefore empathise. The people of Kerala, psychologically resilient, they have shown how great they are as people, how strong they are, and I am only saying, at this point of time, that somebody is using fake news to manipulate them. Manipulating people at the time of tragedy is cheap. I have proven it that this was happening and the Congress hand is all over it. In fact, I will tell you one thing, I find less of a Left hand in this but I see a very strong Congress hand if you analyse the number of tweets here. Gunja, do you manipulate people? Do you play on their sentiments? Will the people of Kerala forgive this?"

He, in fact, said he sees a Congress hand in spreading this fake narrative on flood aid more than of the Left  which is ruling Kerala, a state devastated by massive floods, killing hundreds and rendering thousands homeless. He in fact called the Keralites "psychologically resilient" and "great people".

But after being exposed, the fake news factory customised and dished out lies with a vengeance.

How did they fake it?

Simple. They took out a portion where Arnab is blasting at the fake news factory and dished out as his comments for people of Kerala through some friendly twitter handle, alleging he is Anti Kerala.

Some went to the extent of using the most obnoxious and dirty words to target Arnab. 

After the initial blitzkrieg, some ordinary Keralites too were taken in by the lies. They questioned Arnab, but minus the vile of the fake newswallahs.

Truth always prevails

But many could see through it and called them out. Author Rahul Eshwar was one of them. Someone who is from Kerala, defended Arnab on twitter.

Ranjeet Keshav is a political analyst. He too could see through the sinister game being played.

Jan Ki Baat founder Pradip Bhandari was also reasonable enough to separate the fact from fiction.

So why was it done in the first place? Answer is simple, to make a demon of Arnab, who relentlessly exposes the anti-India forces, dynastic stooges and the entrenched Lutyens elite. He has doggedly exposed the PFI conversion racket, took a stand on indifference in dealing with Islamic hardliners, gone after VVIP racism, broken scams, exposed bigots of all parties and in this instance, hit out at Congress for allegedly spreading a lie on aid for Kerala. It's a textbook example of manufacturing fake news at the cost of national integrity, at the most tragic hour. It is the years biggest fake news tamasha, which interestingly, the so-called fake news busters have shied from exposing.