Liberal media and the journalism of convenience

It is the job of the media to present each and every aspect to a story in the best possible manner, and not take sides. But many outlets the world over, and the clientele that they cater to, do not understand the concept of grey

For them everything is painted in broad strokes, and in two colors — black or white. So objectivity is conveniently brushed under the carpet

The banner asks the question loud and clear [Image used for representational purpose only]

This is the best of times for liberals. This is the best of times to look at one side of the story, and completely neglect the other. This is the best of times to be prejudiced, to speak as per convenience. This is the best of times to criticize countries and their government, and not bother about criticisms per se. It is the best of times to cry foul if others don’t toe the line or challenge this prejudice. This is the best of times for convenience, rather the most convenient of times.

This is the time of liberal media.

Let’s take the most recent issue as an example. Even as the United States (US) completed a total withdrawal from the territory of Afghanistan, the narrative was palpably anti-West, nay anti-American.

Long before the August 31 deadline approached the only topic that was discussed among the liberals, and consequently in the liberal media, is how America suffered many reverses in Afghanistan following its decision to withdraw troops. The discussions came to a conclusion that the 20-year American presence on Afghan soil was of little consequence. It declared that American has strengthened the Taliban further, and that the world’s most powerful nation had suffered a heavy defeat in Afghanistan, like it did in Vietnam five decades ago. Let’s face it, the world loves to see America suffer a reverse, rather a deemed reverse.

Then there are is a section of the liberal media that is busy showing Taliban in a positive vein. They are busy sugarcoating the Taliban, humanizing them and legitimizing their claims. It is being said and written that this Taliban leadership wants to look as inclusive as possible, and that this regime is different from the earlier version. Taliban 2.0 anyone?

Then there are those who are supposedly concerned about the human aspect. This section is the most active of all, and it is not confined to accusing just one country. Make no mistake the US continues to lead as far as criticism is concerned, with multiple reports suggesting it has failed the Afghans, especially those who worked with the American embassy in some capacity — translators, contractors, drivers etc. However, this section of the liberal media deserves a pat for being more diverse, and not only focusing on the American failures alone.

Germany, for instance, is being repeatedly criticized for its deemed failure in Afghanistan. Fact is, even as the election approaches the country was more than willing to welcome Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. In fact, two-thirds of the 4000-odd evacuated in recent weeks are Afghan nationals, a few who after landing at the Frankfurt airport were quick to admit that they were looking to go back and fetch their families the moment the opportunity arises.

Despite these stories abound as to how Germany has failed in Afghanistan. The fact that outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel makes statements like “We feel obliged to local staff” and “Between 10–40,000 Afghans have a right to be evacuated to Germany if they feel they are endangered” further bolster these criticisms. No points for guessing it doesn’t take much effort for the liberal media organizations to take such statements out of context.

However, in this case the criticism is way off the track considering Germany’s recent impressive record as regards assisting in resettlement during a humanitarian crisis. During the 2015 refugee crisis the country famously took more than a million refugees and asylum seekers from failed states like Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and others. Few applauded then. Even fewer spoke when the country suffered from the behavior of these refugees. On New Year’s Eve 2015 more than 1,200 German women were mobbed and sexually assaulted in Cologne and other cities. Only two were reportedly convicted and the matter was conveniently brushed under the table. Early this August, Armin Laschet — who Merkel hopes will replace her as Chancellor, said Afghans convicted of crimes must leave Germany. However, the narrative is so pro-Afghan that the other aspects have again been conveniently ignored.

Then there’s the case of India — the world’s favorite dumping ground. When the Parsees (Persian Zoroastrians) were forced to leave Iran they found a new home in India. When the Tibetans had to flee their country they found refuge in India. Not to forget the Indian government is spending a good amount on the Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar even as rich Islamic nations accept none.

Going further back, in 1947 the country was divided on religious lines and Muslims were given their own separate country (Pakistan). Yet it is India that houses more Muslims than that new entity. In fact, Pakistan was further divided into another country Bangladesh (Bengali-speaking Muslims) in 1971 and at present there are millions of Bangladeshis living illegally in India. Moreover, despite being such a huge number they claim and are given minority status, and enjoy the related advantages. Imagine being 200 million plus and seeking minority benefits.

These aspects are conveniently forgotten when things like the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), National Register for Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) is discussed. While the CAA provides a pathway to Indian citizenship for persecuted minorities (Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs etc) from neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the NRC is intended to identify illegal immigrants. Overlooking all the details the liberal media is content to toe the line that the Muslims will “face religious persecution” and rendered stateless. How 200 million plus have been living in India for 75 years without any major issues, how will they suffer or which countries will be willing to resettle such a huge number if they feel threatened is something that is never discussed, simply because it is a non-issue and impractical to the core.

In such a scenario western liberal media outlets criticizing the Indian government over Afghanistan or questioning Indian democracy in general is not exactly surprising. Till date there’s discussion about the plight of Kashmiris and the future of Kashmir, but absolutely no discussion on the plight of the Kashmiri pundits who were forced to flee their homeland three decades back and are yet to return. Neither is the killing of non-Muslims by terrorists in Kashmir given importance.

Even less surprising is the obvious bias of the so-called liberal media in India. Unfortunately for India, and like it is in the US, the liberals and deemed liberals have mustered up good number of adherents in recent years, and it is convenient for the liberal media to appease this section.

So the liberal media in India will report about a young woman Afghan MP who was supposedly treated like a criminal and deported at New Delhi airport, but few will not report about what Indians face in Afghanistan, or for that matter the fact that there are more Afghan Hindus in Germany than there are in their native country. The manner in which minorities like Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are ostracized and forced to convert in Islamic countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and others is seldom reported. When temples and puja pandals in Bangladesh are vandalized by the mob, and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses are destroyed the liberals choose to keep mum.

Likewise, the liberal media will report on Indian Muslims protesting against France — and President Emmanuel Macron’s effort to defend freedom of expression, that is deemed anti-Islam, and opposing Israeli strikes on Gaza, but there won’t be a single instance of Indian Muslims protesting against Taliban, or for that matter a Hamas attack on Israel.

However, it will be busy sugarcoating former ISIS teenage bride Shamima Begum and her emotional story. That she left Britain to join ISIS is conveniently forgotten. The story in the liberal media is her apology and desperate attempts to get back British citizenship. That she is admitting “making a mistake” from some detention camp in Syria, and her new look, is being showcased all over. Does she merit all the attention?

Is it not the job of the media to present both sides of the story, and not take sides, you may think.

Think again!

What needs to be understood here is the fact that liberal media is nothing but journalism of convenience, rather journalism as per convenience. Liberal media outlets, and the clientele they cater to, does not understand the concept of grey. For them everything is painted in broad strokes, and in two colors — black and white. So if they decide all the major democracies in the world are incompetent, it essentially means these governments are doing a bad job overall. There’s nothing good about them. They are supposed to be criticized regularly, and need to be changed.

The same rule applies to everything the liberal media prefers, rather is inclined to promote. In this case everything is sans blemish…flawless so to speak. The emphasis is on ensuring convenience. The status of minorities in Muslim dominated nations can be conveniently ignored but there has to be continuous reports that Muslims everywhere are suffering, be it Afghanistan, Gaza or India.

Countries like the US, Germany and India can be accused of failing Afghanistan but the Afghan leaders, and its people, won’t be accused of failing their own country. Why not accept it is the Afghans that failed Afghanistan? It’s been the case for over five decades. Why not accept the fact that the whole of Afghanistan cannot be evacuated and resettled? Why are the Afghans leaving their country in times of crisis? For how long will they keep fleeing? Country should come first, not individual lives. Right? Wrong!

To blame someone else, another country and its government, is the most convenient means of shirking responsibility, and the liberal media has mastered this art over the years. It is Afghanistan now. Same was the case with Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other such countries not long back. It is the people of these countries and the governments that should have been held responsible and asked to find solutions. However, these perennially on the run people were never held guilty of being irresponsible, of being submissive to dictatorial regimes and of overemphasizing on something as trivial as religion. Were Afghanistan or Syria hugely developed countries before these events unfolded? Is migration from these failed states a recent trend? The answer to these questions is a resounding NO.

There are millions of registered refugees worldwide, and no one knows how many undocumented refugees live far away from their homelands, in America and Europe — and derive benefits from money paid by the taxpayers in those countries. In recent years refugees and asylum seekers have developed a habit of seeking refuge/asylum in their country of choice. The concept of integration remains confined to textbooks. In the long run these people will live the way they are used to. Oppose it, and they know they have to play the victim card and the liberal media will take it up from there.

A typically negative aspect of liberalism is an inherent inferiority complex camouflaged in a massive superiority complex. Therefore, instead of indulging in self-introspection liberals are more than happy to discuss deemed flaws of others. They want change to change the world, but aren’t interested in changing themselves. They can point out to the problems and make the necessary noise, but don’t exactly offer a convincing solution. They can say you are wrong, but don’t dare to hit back at them. Bluntly put, the liberals are a clueless lot, not aware of what they are doing and unwilling to listen. But the liberal media knows exactly what it is doing, and is actually doing a good job.

Unfortunately, like the liberals in general, the liberal media perhaps does not know the implications of what they are doing. On second thoughts probably they aren’t bothered about the consequences. They are only into sensing and seizing opportunities, and making a lot of noise thereafter.

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Vickey Maverick

‘Ditch the Niche.’ This is a humble effort at providing short insights as also detailed narratives on an array of topics to those readers who like some variety