New Delhi: The New York Times allows a blogger intemperate use of language to describe India’s Prime Minister. Titled “The Incendiary Appeal of Demagoguery in Our Time”, the article appears a left-wing reaction of a disturbed columnist. Visibly as disturbed, the editors of the media house see a pattern in the elections of “Brexit, Erdogan, Putin and now Trump”, which is how it introduces the article to its readers. The article was published on 13 November.
Perhaps unable to take it anymore, writer Pankaj Mishra has vented his pent-up anger on India’s Prime Minister after Americans elected Donald Trump as their President thus:
The stink first became unmistakable in India in May 2014, when Narendra Modi, a member of an alt-right Hindu organization inspired by fascists and Nazis, was elected prime minister. Like Donald Trump, Mr. Modi rose to power demonizing ethnic-religious minorities, immigrants and the establishment media, and boasting about the size of a body part.
This is not the first time an American mainstream media house has done it. An issue of the Time magazine had described the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with an article “Asleep at the wheel” following his knee operation. It was the magazine’s cover story.
Then, a senior journalist, who is now the chief editor of a leading newspaper, took recourse to gibberish to describe the country in the same magazine. In an article, he filled a big paragraph with special characters on the keyboard like #, &, %, $, ^, *, ~, etc. The first sentence of the next paragraph said this was what India essentially was, elaborating further that this country made no sense. He subsequently became the world editor of the magazine. Was he rewarded for his repugnant views about his own country?
Interestingly, The New York Times agrees, in a widely circulated blog, this propaganda is a rather concerted phenomenon in the United States, where it describes how Modi was denied a visa to that country between 2005 and 2014.
Meanwhile, after the shock results of US Presidential election were out with Donald Trump winning the necessary electoral college votes, The New York Times faced sharp criticism of editorial bias towards one candidate in the election coverage with complete disregard for conventional journalistic objectivity. More ominously it faced cancelled subscriptions from its readers, forcing its publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr, and executive editor, Dean Baquet, to issue an apology letter saying they would rededicate themselves to reporting “America and the world honestly, without fear or favor.”
The New York Times and Time magazine are not the only two. The Washington Post believes Modi’s thrust on foreign policy is driven by his personal fetish for literally touching people! A news analysis in the paper described the Indian Prime Minister as “tactile“, quoting a tweet that contained a photograph of Modi with French President François Hollande comparing it with the famous scene from the film Titanic featuring Lionardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet. CNN, The Huffington Post, The International Business Times, Business Insider… — all had a good laugh. However, the video of the sequence exposed their desperation.
Some of these news outlets posted the revelation, too, without any apology, of course. One is curious to know how much of shaming would make this section of the media realise what they practise is not journalism.