The New York Times’ Attempts to Tar Hindus, Bring Down an Indian Government

Ramesh Rao
8 min readMar 22, 2020

The New York Times (NYT) has carried on a sustained campaign about what they have termed as “interference in the American elections” — identifying Russia and Putin as the ones who meddled in the 2016 elections and brought us Donald Trump. They have implied that Putin and his government wished to bring us to heel for what America did overtly and covertly to dismantle the Soviet Union and cut Russia down to size in the past. Thus, we have been witness to events over the past three years, culminating in the motion in the House of Representatives to impeach the president, and the rejection of the same in the Senate. On the way, we have had Robert Mueller’s report, and an unremitting day-in-and-day-out coverage of these matters on the front pages of the newspaper. Thus, it came as no surprise, last month, when the Trump campaign sued the newspaper, and one of its own former editors has slammed the paper’s coverage of Trumpian matters.

There is more to The New York Times’ efforts at shaping the world than what we ordinarily know or surmise. As Gregory Shaya noted in an essay in 2012, “The power of the press is also the power to misinform,” and that “…the press is never simply a force for cohesion… (as) (I)t can just as easily serve the ends of division, giving voice to conflicts of all shape”. The editors of the newspaper sure are concerned about state actors interfering in others’ affairs, but ironically they don’t consider their own work — in terms of slanted reporting, partisan opinion peddling, and outright calls for bringing down foreign governments — which they deem are good medicine for the citizens of those countries but not as interference in others’ internal affairs. Their justification for such interference is that they are merely reporting what is happening in those countries, and that they are merely expressing opinions about the nature of the governments that they deem unfit for the people in those countries who chose the government in the first place!

On the surface, the claim that the fourth estate acts as a check on unbridled government authority, as a watchdog, and as an institution that has the wellbeing of the people in mind seems to make sense and the fourth estate a necessity. This description and justification are offered by journalism instructors to their wards in American classrooms all the time. But as Walter Lippman observed in 1920 about The New York Times’ reporting on the Bolshevik Revolution, “In the large, the…