Monday, June 2, 2008

Can THE HINDU explain?

At times blogs offer extremely good insights and analysis that even the print and electronic media fail to provide. After coming to Bangalore, my biggest disappointment has been with the newspaper I used to cherish for six years everyday in Chennai! Sadly, I am perplexed at its obstinate bias for all things “left”. Reading some blogs and seeing for myself, I find that I am no longer able to appreciate the daily that once made me proud!

This blog puts it best:

“Today, when the paper lands at my doorstep, I wonder if it is the same publication that professors used to goad us to read for its English; if it is the same publication that parliamentarians used to cut and quote; if it is the same publication that our parents used to say was the last word in correctness and credibility.”

A news paper shapes the views of its readers and moulds them. Hence, it was very difficult to grapple with the realization that struck me here. Yes, I agree when the reader’s editor responded to my mail in which I had said:

“…of late the editorials unabashedly seem to proclaim the daily's leaning towards the left. I have read your response in the column claiming that it is the prerogative of the editor to decide the editorial policy. It is fine with me, but imagine the public who feel let down.”

And the response was:

“…It has definite views on issues and this may be left-leaning depending on the editor. This is what I called editorial prerogative. But it has to be objective in the news columns. “


A few days back TOI columnist, Jug Suraiya in an amazingly candid article ‘Paper tigers, tiger papers’ wrote:

Why does the CPM persist in foiling the Indo-US nuclear deal when everyone, including China -- particularly including China -- knows that the deal would be hugely advantageous for India? Why does it stall all economic reform at the Centre, when in Bengal's Nandigram Big Business is welcomed with a carpet red with the blood of uprooted farmers? No one knows. Except the Hindu.

To paraphrase Housman: The Hindu does more than Karat can/ To explain the ways of Marx to man. And a great job of it it's doing too. Just one small problem. With all its profundity and gravitas, who's going to explain the Hindu to Comrade Karat and Co? Hey Ram”

Can Mr. Ram answer?

If Chennai was struck with only HINDU alongside a rather in-your-face DC, things have changed with the entry of TOI. I wonder if it is one of the reasons for this column. Anyway, Mr. Suraiya is right.

I personally feel that if the paper continues in this manner, it will not be long before TOI becomes market leader in Chennai also. As the reader’s editor himself admitted, people in this age of Web 2.0 have access to multiple sources of information and can’t be taken for a ride!

Also read my other related post

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