Archive for November 30th, 2007

Karl Marx: as a journalist (and blogger)

November 30, 2007

Mark Thoma quotes from this NPR excerpt of a biography of Marx’s Das Kapital:

Marx’s journalism is characterized by a reckless belligerence which explains why he spent most of his adult life in exile and political isolation. His very first article for the Rheinische Zeitung was a lacerating assault on both the intolerance of Prussian absolutism and the feeble-mindedness of its liberal opponents. Not content with making enemies of the government and opposition simultaneously, he turned against his own comrades as well, denouncing the Young Hegelians for ‘rowdiness and blackguardism’. Only two months after Marx’s assumption of editorial responsibility, the provincial governor asked the censorship ministers in Berlin to prosecute him for ‘impudent and disrespectful criticism’.

No less a figure than Tsar Nicholas of Russia also begged the Prussian king to suppress the Rheinische Zeitung, having taken umbrage at an anti-Russian diatribe. The paper was duly closed in March 1843: at the age of twenty-four, Marx was already wielding a pen that could terrify and infuriate the crowned heads of Europe.

Thoma goes on to give a few of links to indicate how effective a blogger he was:

Marx was a pretty effective blogger. Here is a page from an archive of his posts, with more here.

Update: Andrew Leonard has more.

Take a look!

Most amazing thing about America’s press corps

November 30, 2007

Brad DeLong tells you what it is:

Perhaps the most amazing thing about America’s press corps is how easily they are pwn3d: how shoddy their research is, how narrow their knowledge is, how mentally inept they are at what is supposed to be their job: understanding and evaluating sources. It must be a trained incapacity: nobody could be this stupid without long practice.

Take a look!

Partisanship at a venerable institution called The Hindu

November 30, 2007
  1. Instance1: Churmuri wrote about an apology tendered by Ram to an automative company;
  2. Instance 2: A couple of pieces by Ram on Tibet about which Shencottah wrote; and,
  3. Instance 3: An editorial criticising the Gopal Gandhi, Governor of West Bengal about which Rahul wrote; and, Arun Thiruvengadam writes more recently:

    I have long been a faithful reader of the Hindu. Of late, my loyalty has wavered because I believe it no longer has regular columnists who provide interesting and insightful commentary on the important issues of the day. (There are exceptions, as is demonstrated by the fact that contributors to this blog continue to provide links to and discuss some such pieces, but those who remain are far fewer and less regular than in the past). Moreover, most of the Hindu’s op-eds seem to focus more on international affairs (especially domestic politics in the UK), while ignoring commentary on pressing domestic issues within the country. The Hindu’s partisan stance on Nandigram may well turn out to be the last straw for those whose commitment to this venerable institution is already floundering.

It is a pity. And, the recent bit of history I learnt makes me wonder how, if ever, Hindu got its non-partisan credentials in the first place — during the freedom struggle, probably?

Update: At least somebody, at last, has recognised that  even reporting is slipping up when it comes to fairness, balance and accuracy at The Hindu:

According to the Editor-in-Chief, “We have done a perfectly balanced news and pictorial coverage of Nandigram and taken a clear editorial position, avoiding the traps of anti-left campaign journalism that various other newspapers and television channels have got into. I am satisfied that the news coverage has been accurate and balanced. Working out the editorial stand is our journalistic privilege. A serious content analysis of our coverage of Nandigram will vindicate my claim of factual and sober coverage. Of course journalism works with constraints when it comes to access to what happens in embattled or complex circumstances. But you always have a chance to catch up or fill in what happened.

“It is absolutely inaccurate to say we have not sent any reporter to Nandigram. Antara Das’ recent report, for example, speaks for itself.”

* * *

There was balance in the coverage to the extent that protesting voices against what was “happening” in Nandigram got adequate representation. But what was really happening? The reader was left to guess. The Home Secretary said it was a “war zone”; Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya described what had happened in Nandigram as legal and justified and added, “we have paid back in their own coin.” These widely reported (but not in The Hindu) remarks indicated something serious had happened and it needed to be justified. Obviously it was not Maoists and Trinamool alone, who were responsible for the situation and the published reports did not make things clear.

The reporting in The Hindu was selective. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comment on the situation (while on his way to Kuala Lumpur) did not find a place and this had to be inferred from the Chief Minister’s reaction to it. Similarly, the Chief Minister’s “paid back” remark found mention only when there were reactions to it.

The unprecedented public protest in Kolkata was well covered, but one was left wondering what was the “situation” in Nandigram against which the intellectuals and artists were protesting. As a newsman, my first priority would have been spot coverage. That media persons were denied access to the “war zone” was unknown to The Hindu readers. The first Nandigram-datelined report, from Antara Das, appeared much after things had quietened down in the area. Nandigram did not get the detailed analysis that an explosion in tiny faraway Maldives got at the same time.

That is the Reader’s Editor: via Abi.