Saturday, December 09, 2017

Rakhigarhi DNA commentary

It is true that the Government of India can keep a scientific finding from being published.  But keep the finding secret?   The more upsetting it is to the ruling party, the less likely it is to be kept secret. It is difficult to keep secrets in India.  The only possible way is if a very tiny number of people knew about it in the first place - in which case it can't be a Government of India policy, it is someone acting entirely on their own.

As to the alleged fear of nasty Hindu nationalists - there is a constant low level background of nasty crimes going on in India, as with any other nation.  Marxists, Maoists,  Hindu extremists, Muslim extremists, Christian extremists, cow smugglers, self-proclaimed cow protectors, gangs of criminals commit heinous crimes, often with impunity.  So there is a problem that people do not fear the law enough; the law and order apparatus is ineffective.  A huge number of police posts are unfilled, and even with them filled, India would be one of the least policed nations on earth.  Likewise, the judiciary was always very slow, and it has not expanded to keep up with the population, nor fixed its procedures to give timely justice.   This clearly needs an urgent national effort to fix.

But if the media just picks one set of these crimes and publicizes just them, then a very mistaken impression is created.  It can't happen, you say?  Just think of Hillary Clinton's emails, and the finding that
In just six days, The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election.
 and (emphasis added)
Even more striking, the various Clinton-related email scandals—her use of a private email server while secretary of state, as well as the DNC and John Podesta hacks—accounted for more sentences than all of Trump’s scandals combined (65,000 vs. 40,000) and more than twice as many as were devoted to all of her policy positions.

To reiterate, these 65,000 sentences were written not by Russian hackers, but overwhelmingly by professional journalists employed at mainstream news organizations, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. To the extent that voters mistrusted Hillary Clinton, or considered her conduct as secretary of state to have been negligent or even potentially criminal, or were generally unaware of what her policies contained or how they may have differed from Donald Trump’s, these numbers suggest their views were influenced more by mainstream news sources than by fake news.
This distortion is by the mainstream media, including the "newspaper of record" in its own country, where it is the most accountable to the extent that the public can hold the media accountable, about a pivotal election on which so much of its country's future depends - judiciary, trade deals, climate, immigration, racism, safety net, wall between church and state, etc. etc. 

You think these media organizations get foreign countries correct?  You think the media in India is somehow better than the media in the USA?

So what commentators on India are doing who rely on **just** the NY Times or the Times of India or so on, are doing, are perpetuating the same kind of information bias.  The problem is that to know something is hard.  In my opinion, if it matters enough to you to stand by your opinion,  then do the research, get the full context and complete information.  If it doesn't matter that much, then recognize what you have is only a personal opinion and don't fool yourself that it is true or objective; it is just as likely to be as stinky as that other thing everyone has, like opinions.