Thursday, October 04, 2007

Casting pearls before swine

One wonders what the Reader's Editor (RE) does. Is he there as Ram's mouth piece?
The way he dismisses criticism against CBCNN is shocking to say the least.

It is a tiny minority of The Hindu’s vast readership that communicates with the
Readers’ Editor. Many of them write in the plural, “we readers .…” But their opinions cannot be assumed to be representative of the silent majority. Many of these respondents have strong biases. We can tell them apart.
So what does he imply?
1.People who criticize are biased. They need not be taken seriously.
2.Those who do not write in to the Reader's editor are happy with CBCNN.They are unbiased.

Has not CBCNN made sweeping generalizations and presented views as if they were a reflection of the majority?What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

I have never written to the Reader's editor.I don't see the point in casting pearls before swine.Many others could have thought so.Why does Narayanan overlook this possibility?

If those who criticize have "strong biases", those who remain silent may also have "strong biases". So when there is a toss between two biased groups, who decides which group is right? Probably a left bias is right.

The RE goes on to add..
In the midst of this mass are the occasional ones that command attention because of the background of the person and the refined, sober way the views are put forth.
So, for you to be heard you must have a "background" certified by CBCNN to be good. Also, the views must be put forth in a "refined, sober " way. Does this rule apply to the likes of Harish Khare, Neena Vyas and Vidhya Subramainan? Or is it reserved only for readers holding views against the paper's style of reporting?

Narayanan gives us a sample of how a complaint against the paper should look. Precious lessons in soft-pedalling .

I am a reader of The Hindu since 1973 and it has shaped my understanding of the world and life itself … I am deeply troubled by the coverage given to left-related issues. Criticism of the left is at best muted if not airbrushed.The massive Kerala CPM factional war is hardly getting any coverage, especially for a southern based newspaper. The latest is the soft-pedalling of the PM’s comments to The Telegraph newspaper regarding left support or a lack of it for the nuclear deal. Most newspapers gave it wide coverage.

Many middle-aged readers feel that the paper has lost its balance … There is a view that the paper is far too ideologically involved with the left parties.

Although the reader in question has decided to put Simi Garewal to shame,he pretty much sums up what this blog has been screaming since its inception.

I mentioned that there is no point in casting pearls swine. Ram's response to the criticism above vindicated my position. The response was an incredible mix of naked lies, hasty denials and shameless claims.

First the naked lies:

There is adequate and balanced coverage of inner-party differences in the CPI(M) in Kerala.On thewhole, the coverage reflects the state of affairs.

One newspaper doesn’t generally reproduce what another publishes.

But this "general" principle can be given a go by when reporting on Dr.Haneef.CBCNN still lists the transcript of Haneef's interview on its home page.

It also reproduced an editorial by The Sydney Morning Herald slamming the Howard govt.

Even a super computer will lose count of the instances when CBCNN quoted from The People's Democracy.

It is not our practice to reproduce “indecent remarks”.. We don’t reproduce all the remarks made by Narendra Modi or Uma Bharati against Muslims orChristians ....It is a policy to keep out highly abusive or wounding remarks. Inflammatory items should not be published by the news media

BLATANT LIE.Who can forget the way CBCNN published(on the net) the full transcript of the "controvertial CD" attributed to the BJP in the run up to the UP elections?

What happened to its reporting of Modi's Gaurav Rath Yatra?

Modi's remarks against Muslims, describing them as people who believed in the philosophy of hum paanch aur hamaare pachhis (we five, ours 25) and his description of the relief camps for the victims of the post-Godhra violence as "child-breeding centres" too have embarrassed BJP leaders.

Whether it is his attacks on the "fair-skinned, Italy ki beti" Sonia Gandhi or the
"Christian Lyngdoh", or his remarks aimed at Muslims, senior BJP leaders are finding it difficult to defend him beyond a point.

At Becharaji village in Mehsana district on September 9, Modi not only ridiculed a section of people (again citing hum paanch, hamaare pachhis) but remarked that
those who believed in multiplying their population in that fashion needed to be taught a lesson

He targeted the Congress(I) also for what he termed its pro-Muslim approach; he commented that if that party had its way, it would have brought Narmada waters to the Sabarmati river not in the month of Shravan, as he had done, but in the month of Ramzan

Not a single opportunity is missed to highlight the vituperative remarks attributed to Modi. Why can't CBCNN do the same in its backyard when the foul-mouthed Karunanidhi makes equally disgusting remarks against a religion?Modi's remarks are about the minorities and Karunanidhi targets the majority. Is this the reason for CBCNN's selective condemnation?
Are only comments against minorities "newsworthy"?Despite all this , does Ram claim to be balanced?

Now, the hasty denials.
There is no preferential treatment given to the DMK other than what is inevitable when a party is in government.

So, did the AIADMK get such a coverage when it was in power?Do the BJP governments get such coverage?He may even go on to say that the CPI(M) does not get preferential treatment. (Note that he has carefully side-stepped the issue of left bias.)

And the most laughable of the lot- Shameless claim:

We have balanced and fair coverage. Above all, it is factual, nothing embroidered or propagandist. Nothing to be defensive about. We don’t do campaignjournalism. We have an estimated four million readers who continue to support The Hindu, largely for its reliability and balance.
I did not have to search a lot to pull out the evidences cited above. Those were some of the many I could think of. Does not all these fly in the face of Ram's claims?

The RE I guess is suffering from MPD(Multiple Personality Disorder).Towards the end , he writes:

The policy of not publishing abusive or wounding comments is laudable. But it needs to be followed uniformly, whether it is a Chief Minister or an unknown BJP ex-MP (whose remarks were published with the Hindi words and English translation).
If you are rubbing your eyes in disbelief, hold on, he is not done yet. ..

On the other hand, the editorial said the remarks were “wildly misrepresented.” Mr.Karunanidhi had not said so but had made further comments... The Hindu’s strong points, listed by the Editor-in-Chief, are unquestioned and it is generally balanced.The long-term strengths of this newspaper have been independence,seriousness, newsiness, credibility, fairness, balance and critical spirit.

I have nothing to add.The title pretty much sums up my mood.


Anonymous said...

Excellent is not a word to describe.Hats off man.
I would request you to read today's Indian Express editorial on M.Karunanidhi's denial of Bandh.See the contrast of IE edit and Commie Ram's biased edit.
I feel IE and DC is making inroads in Chindus bastion oflate.
have you noticed today's hindu wherin it has come with a thick front sheet (cosmetic changeover!)

Anonymous said...

This fellow should change his title from Readers' Editor to Editor's Writer. He himself admits that it is a tiny minority of The Hindu’s vast readership that communicates with him. Then, why all the fuss to waste a column space every fortnight?

Besides politics, the family connections of Chindu's chief may be preventing him to write even a mild rebuke of Karunanidhi, the pesudo-rationalist.

Anonymous said...

Good work by this blog. I used to read Hindu daily for a long time (15 years or so). Now I completely stopped reading because it lost its objectivity. I am also encouraging my friends and family not to read this biased newspaper. Times of India and Indian Express are more balanced. The Hindu is actually extremely anti-Hindu. They use legacy name as a cover and create all crap.

Again, appreciate very good work by this blog!

Anonymous said...

Here is a taste of sensitive, serious, progressive, left wing, intellectual, socially concerned jouranlism - if you ever wanted proof.

Diana was on pill

(colour photograph of "Princess" Diana)

"Princess Diana was taking a contraceptive pill during the period before her death, though it is unlikely ever to be conclusively proved whether she was pregnant or not,...."

Anonymous said...

please spread the word around about naxal ram and his unabashedly communist rag.

Viji said...

good job boss..Im more regular to this blog than to the china post's site. The Hindu naxal bias is something which is well known to all readers now.Naxal Ram will preside over the demise his 'national' newspaper and it will soon be relegated to being the mouth piece of the CPM.. Only reason I read the hindu is becuae of its excellent coverage of the classical music scene and sports (esp Nirmal Shekhar).