New Delhi, May 23: A senior New York Times journalist on Wednesday said he had to face anger and hatred and was called “Hinduphobic” and “racist” after he did a story on how closure of slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh may have been the reason for dogs attacks humans in the state.
At a panel discussion on “Journalistic Challenges in Modern Era”, Jeffrey Gettleman, South Asia Bureau Chief for The New York Times, said he was trolled by the readers despite the fact that he had carefully balanced the story by including the other side of it in the write up published on Tuesday.
“I was operating in a straitjacket and I was ready to get beating. I was not receiving a cool criticism. It is real angry and hatred, saying I am Hinduphobic, racist and The New York times again started attacking the BJP.”
He said the news story “Killer dogs take 14 lives. Did closing slaughterhouses play a role?” tried to explain the reason for the attacks by canines in Uttar Pradesh.
Jeffrey said that dogs were initially eating the scraps of meat around these slaughter houses and their closure by “the Hindu rights groups was one of the unintended consequence of the creation of aggressive dogs”.
“That was not me saying, people living around the area said,” he remarked.
The panel also included senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai who said newsrooms had undergone “McDonaldization”.
“Like a fast burger. One gets it, eats it and forgets.”
Cautioning against the danger of the polarization, Sardesai lamented that those who question were being branded as “presstitutes”.
“Some younger Indians are cheering this off. This makes the future journalists difficult to find the middle path,” he said.
Echoing Gettleman, Sardesai said not all stories contain the other side. However, when he did that “I was accused of being monkey balancer or sold out”. He said journalists in India were in either way in a difficult position. “If I criticize you I am sold out, even if I don’t, I am sold out.”
Looking at the American scribe, he said: “You have one Trump! We have dozens of putative Trumps in this country, each of whom wants to teach the media a lesson.”