So, Sagarika put out her latest blog on ToI, this time trying to prove that the Indian media is not anti-Hindu. Earlier, New York’s most famous secular crusader has also written in the DailyO trying to defend the media. Folks, the most important thing to realize is that the very fact that they are desperately defending themselves means that the accusation is sticking. In fact, the accusation has stuck. Increasingly, the citizens of Lutyens Delhi find themselves being questioned by the wider public. Remember when we began, they used to mock us. Now they know that their reputations are in real danger:
So, let us being with Sagarika’s article here:
“Is the Indian media biased against the majority community? Do Hindu grievances find little space in the media? Is a Left-liberal obsession with minority rights leading to a neglect of vital debates on the uniform civil code or the grim realities of Islamist terrorism?”
Yes and Yes.
“Charges that the media is “anti-Hindu” is only a means to browbeat and intimidate journalists and further shrink the space for raising questions...”
The irony could not be more delicious. By raising questions on the motivations of journalists, the wider public is actually intimidating and browbeating them and somehow shrinking the space for raising questions 🙂 This kind of view can only come from someone who believes that the space for raising questions belongs exclusively to journalists. I ask you Sagarika, how does your so called degree in the so called academic field called “journalism” give you ownership rights to the space for raising questions? How does me and other ordinary people like me asking you questions shrink the space for asking questions?
“Recently, the horrifying killing of a dentist in Vikaspuri led to a social media campaign that mainstream media was failing to cover the incident with the same energy as the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri …..there is no evidence to show that the Vikaspuri murder was motivated by religion… given the area’s demographic profile of upper class enclaves cheek by jowl with slums, it seems to have been the result of terrifying street criminality.”
First of all, since when did the media start caring about evidence? Where did this evidence based approach go when the media covered “church attacks”? As for trying to blame the Vikaspuri muder on class differences, let me remind you of the chilling history of the Indian media on this issue: here is Burqa Dutt blaming the Kashmiri Pandit exodus on class differences.
Yeah…no religious angle there, just class differences and some road rage, right?
Why not focus on the slums in Vikaspuri being full of Bangladeshi illegals from a secular religion, the poor dentist in question celebrating India’s win over Bangladesh and reports of Holi colors being accidentally thrown on someone.
“By contrast in Dadri, there may have been some reports that the killing was motivated by a property dispute, yet there is ample evidence of rumours being circulated about Akhlaq’s family storing beef and of a public announcement being made on beef eating by Akhlaq.”
So you admit that there were reports that the killing could be motivated by a property dispute in Dadri. But instead the media chose to focus on the beef angle on the basis of “evidence of rumors being circulated”. However, in Vikaspuri, the media chose to focus on the class difference and road rage angle instead of the Holi colors and India vs Bangladesh angle. So the media gets to pick and choose which angle needs to be played up and which one needs to be played down…and then if we question these choices, we are shrinking the space for questions! Nice!
“ It’s important here to define what we mean by the media. This newspaper covered the Vikaspuri murder as a front page headline. Local newspapers covered the Kerala killings in detail, as did Bengali channels on Malda. If media is defined exclusively as English language TV then we are inaccurately judging what a major chunk of audiences consume and cries of media neglect are unfounded.”
He he…so Sagarika is finally entering confession territory here. Okay, so you admit that English language TV is biased, but you say its okay overall as others in the media may not be. First of all, I am glad that Sagarika has so much respect for her colleagues in the vernacular media. This is indeed touching, coming from the same Sagarika who has shown such extreme contempt in the past for anyone with a less than perfect command of the English language:
We’ll come to the vernacular media separately, but for the moment if Sagarika is openly confessing that the whole media isn’t anti-Hindu, but only the fraction of the media to which she herself belongs, I will take that gladly 🙂
Now Sagarika echoes Rajdeep :
“Utterly condemnable as it was, the Moodbidri killing occurred in the context of spiralling political violence and was not a single attack on an apolitical citizen as in Dadri.”
Ha! As I have pointed out in a previous post, saying that murders can be forgotten because they have “context” is a very dangerous and shockingly insensitive argument. There are at least 25 million BJP workers in this country…are these “political citizens” without the right to live? Are you saying that slaughter of these 25 million people, equivalent to 4 holocausts would not be enough to sway the so called liberal conscience of the Indian media because the dead were be “political citizens”.
On a deeper level you can see that the real problem lies with the fact that Sagarika thinks that various categories of citizens have various kinds of rights. If you are so called “political citizen”, you have a lesser right to live. If you are a so called “journalist”, then you have the exclusive right to raise questions. A non-journalist daring to raise questions is a form of intimidation! You don’t get it Sagarika, we are ALL equal citizens, we all have EQUAL right not to be murdered and we all enjoy an EQUAL right to ask questions.
And finally, I have to ask this question. Utterly condemnable as it was, weren’t cases like Best Bakery and Gulberg Society occurring in the context of spiralling communal violence following the Godhra train burning? Oh god…please no Sagarika no…please do not try to pick and choose and classify which of the deaths in 2002 happened to “political citizens” and which ones happened to “apolitical citizens”. Were the VHP workers in the train compartment “political citizens” or not? Was Congress’ ex-MP Ehsaan Jaffri a “political citizen” or not? Please…I beg you Sagarika…let us not get into these horrifying arguments…
More confessions are now in order:
“Perhaps the media was guilty of jumping the gun on church attacks some of which were found, upon investigation to be the work of mischief makers…”
Again, thanks! Now please tell me what the media has done to apologize for jumping the gun. And what has it done to correct the perception created by the lying and farcical reporting on the so called “church attacks”? For instance, earlier in your article, you say that:
“When politicians like Sakshi Maharaj say, “if somebody kills our mother, we won’t remain silent”, or Sangh leaders like Sadhvi Prachi assert, “those who consume beef deserve such actions”, then the media is surely duty bound to report the murder as a shocking assault on minority rights.”
So, you can use random statements from random right wing leaders as evidence to connect any murder to assault on minority rights. Okay, so when journalists falsely connect random thefts in churches to assault on “minority rights”, why can’t we use that as evidence that the media is anti-Hindu. Again, the answer must be that asking questions is your personal privilege, not mine, right?
But now Sagarika starts spitting the real venom:
“These shrill anti-media campaigns led to attacks on women journalists in a court room at Delhi’s Patiala House.”
This is how the mainstream media elite try actually to intimidate and shut down voices in the social media. By claiming that online anger against a biased media is directly connected to actual violence by hooligans on the ground. What is the evidence, Sagarika, where is the evidence? This is how they seek to tar the social media, paint it as a sinister monster and shut down the ordinary people giving them competition. If assaults on journalists are connected to social media anger, surely mainstream media jumping the gun on the nun rape case in Bengal, painting it as a communal issue, is fuelling Muslim sense of victimhood? So, should I now say that the mainstream media is to blame for the Muslim youths from Mumbai who went to join ISIS? When media falsely says that 72 year old Christian nuns are raped by Hindu fundamentalists, doesn’t it make minorities feel that they will never get justice in India? What about the woman Misbah Qadri who lied about being denied an apartment in Mumbai for being a Muslim and got top billing in the media? Is the media responsible for youths joining ISIS? You tell me…
“If the UCC – which deserves to be debated – is sought to be enacted only as a stick to beat minorities, the media needs to ventilate such misgivings….”
When the media decides to ventilate “misgivings” about how equality under the law for all Indian citizens irrespective of religion can be a “stick to beat minorities”, aren’t you pushing the minorities into the arms of ISIS? Tell me Sagarika, if social media anger causes journos to be beaten up in Delhi’s Patiala House court, aren’t mainstream media lies causing people to join ISIS?
“The media today is a chaotic, multifarious and diverse platform, where an Owaisi and a Sakshi Maharaj are heard equally. This plurality of almost 400 channels, where beef eating brahmins coexist with prime time patriots, militates against any one ideology being consistently pushed…”
This argument is almost obscene in its stupidity. To suggest that it is impossible for any one ideology to be “consistently pushed” because media today is a chaotic, multifarious and diverse platform with “almost 400 channels” and then to turn around in the same article and then say that social media with its 40 million voices (at least) is consistently pushing one single ideology… Ha!
“In the past liberals may have been reluctant to claim their Hindu identity leading the fringe to monopolise Hinduism. The press, dominated at one time by the Left-leaning, may have failed to report on the grievances of Hindu upper castes…”
Another satisfying confession, yet with a venomous sting in the tail, trying to break Hindus into upper caste and lower caste.
“Today, the pendulum has swung almost to the opposite side with Dalit and marginalised viewpoints falling off the media map and the Hindu zeitgeist aggressively taking centre stage…”
The caste poison continues. Sagarika, as an upper caste Hindu heterosexual Zionist male, let me make this declaration: if the mainstream media decided to give airtime only to atrocities committed by seculars on Dalits and decided to ignore all atrocities by seculars on “upper castes”, I will happily take that. Because more often than not, it is the poor “lower caste” Hindus who are always the first to be sacrificed at the altar of secularism. For example, the government pays for St. Stephens College, for Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia Islamia, but seculars will not allow Dalits to get reservation there. When India’s secular forces call for reservation to be given to Muslims, doesn’t it come at the cost of biting off the quota of “lower castes”? So, Sagarika do me a favor and from now on promise to cover ONLY the plight of “lower” caste Hindus being tortured under the boot of Indian secularism. So, when Dalit Class X girl Tuktuki Mondal is kidnapped and gangraped by seculars in Bengal, give it some coverage. When 800 Valmikis have to convert to Islam in Uttar Pradesh to save their houses from demolition:
do me a favor and give it more coverage than that Misbah Qadri and her lies about not getting a house in Mumbai. Thanks…