Monday, 1 December, 2008

Irresponsible journalism

I am angry. I've just spent the last 4 days in front of the TV and reading newspapers. There are many pieces of trash out there, and this is one that managed to rouse my fury quite a bit...

Having discussed the article with a few friends, I find myself as the most tolerant of the lot. The guy is on point when he talks about the shabby response of Indian authorities. I understand the sentiment behind "Indians hope this is their 9/11" - It probably means we are hoping there is action now and no more repeats of such incidents. I understand when he says"This was more personal - it had characters" - you associated the incident with specific images of persons rather than a force called "terrorism" or "Indian Mujahedeen".....and so I can imagine it staying in our memory for longer....
But then, there are some parts that completely stump me! 

Sample this: “They took time to ask your nationality and vocation. Then they spared you, or herded you elsewhere, or shot you in the back of your skull.”
Much of the media started out with such reports. Eyewitness accounts from those initially rescued do suggest that some terrorists asked for British and American passport holders, and it is a fact that a Jewish center was stormed. But shouldn't reporting change, now that we know more?  
The body count of (Indian) Muslims is higher than that of Britons and Americans put together. Survivors have spoken of Holocaust style murder with people lined up against a wall and casually executed, and of men entering restaurants and spraying bullets without uttering a single word.
Whom, then, were these terrorists “sparing” or “herding”? Is there any evidence of any logic displayed by these men?
I do not wish to imply that anyone’s loss was more than the others’. But by attributing a rationale and purpose where there was none, isn’t Mr. reporter severely downplaying the sheer barbarism and lack of humanity displayed by these killers; and worse, effectively serving as a mouthpiece for the perpetrators of these mindless acts of violence?

Further down the article, It was unlike the many strikes of the last many months, bombs left in thronging markets or trains or cars: acts of shrinking cowardice. The new men were not cowards."
What were these men, if not cowards? Courageous heroes? Brave warriors? True, they were prepared to die. But a hero is someone who displays valor IN PURSUIT OF HIS GOAL. What was the goal here, other than cold blooded murder? By this fellow's definition of a non-coward, the student that gunned down 30 odd classmates at Virginia Tech last year before shooting himself was also “brave”.  
Doesn't calling such inhumanity anything other than cowardice serve to glorify it? Especially when followed by “They killed face to face; they wanted to see and speak to their victims; they could taste the violence they made.” It almost seems to savor the insane brutality.

I wonder if I am reacting so much because I am indignant about what happened......but then again, someone who calls such people ANYTHING other than a coward deserves to be slapped! 


kray said...

it's scary how it seems these days anyone could voice their opinion or even worse, their 'analysis' to a significantly large audience through a seemingly authoritative platform, however ill-formed that opinion maybe. and right now, everyone's busy coming up with these analyses.

this one kinda caught my eye:

sandman said...

NY Times ia a very 'liberal' and politically correct newspaper, dare I say to the liking of most urban liberal kinds. I do not blame their reporting - they are playing to their audience, which includes a majority of people like 'us' (not me :)

You might want to follow Fox News, the haunt of those crazy right-wing nutjobs. The coverage there might soothe you a little bit and make you feel like someone understands what the menace really is.

sandman said...

Also, the Jewish and Israeli people were tortured to an extra degree. Also, hostages - sub selected based on certain criteria (which are not being revealed yet), were put through additional and gruesome torture which is too sickening to repeat.

So their acts weren't all that random. All people were equally targeted but some more equally targeted that others (with due apologies to Orwell.)

Prachee said...

Politically correct? By calling a terrorist a "non-coward"?

Is it just me, or does it really make no sense??????

kray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kray said...

@ sandman: honestly, I don't think people here are looking to be 'soothed'. I for one, just want vague conclusions to not be drawn till there's proper evidence and I'd definitely want published articles to watch how they say what they say so as to not make martyrs of murderers!!

sandman said...

When a big part of your readership believes that all acts of terror are the doings of dissatisfied youth and is in denial of the fact that there do exist diabolical and irredeemably sadistic human beings - it has to reflect to some extent in your writing.

NYT leans heavily in favor of the 'underdog', thus consistently demonstrating a weaker spot for terrorists than it has for lets say the US Army. How is this out of place then?

Also, newspapers like NYT have long given up on objective reporting and it is difficult to discern between their editorials and reports. Their readership (urban liberals) likes it as long as the slant is in the direction of their beliefs.

This is no different. Indians in America (who strongly tilt in the same direction as NYT as far as matters 'American' arise) are all of a sudden finding fault with NYT reporting. The delicious irony of this is that NYT is doing nothing different wrt repoting terrorism in India than what it does while reporting terrorism/crime etc in the US. Sections of the readership hold divergent views on the same issue depending on which country is affected. That is hardly their fault!

That is not targeted at the blog mistress who is far removed from American politics. Just a comment in general.

sandman said...

This is what objective reporting looks like.

I am amazed, they got a concise story with all the important details before any media house in India!

Apurva said...

i've always learnt the meaning or reporting as "bring it as it is" & not "bring it as they like it!"
and that's probably the differnce between responsible and irresponsible journalism!! dats what is being talked about!
leaning towards the underdog hardly seems to be an ethic (let alone a satisfactory justification)in journalism.... in any nation!!
and am really sorry for NYT readers if they read this kind of stuff day in and day out!
while "blog mistress seems far removed from american politics" (hardly a concern in this case).... NYT readers seem to be kind of far removed from reality!!!

Akash said...

You will be shocked if you read this:

sandman said...

Another left-liberal publication - the BBC - refuses to call these men 'terrorists.'

I mean you almost feel bad for the terrorists for how their professional ego is being hurt. They try so hard to spread carnage and terrorize people and yet, nothing. What does a terrorist have to do to be called one by the left-liberal side of the aisle?