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Hinduphobic, anti-India, and deceitful: Deconstructing former South Asia correspondent for The New York Times’ speech at the 2024 Camden Conference

As the Modi government is set to return for the third time, there is a palpable sense of anxiety and discontent among not just the Indian left-leaning liberals but the foreign wokes, including the likes of The New York Times' Emily Schmall, evident in her propaganda speech at the 2024 Camden Conference.

It is not a surprise that the New York Times, Washington Post, and other left-leaning woke Western media organisations often send some of their most appalling and atrocious ‘reporters’ to cover South East Asia, particularly India, in their bid to show the country in a bad light and exploit the existing fault-lines, sow discord among other things to help gain leverage over the incumbent government and pursue vested interests.

Emily Schmall, currently with the New York Times in Chicago, was one such individual whose prejudice against the Modi government and her contempt for nationalist media became apparent at the 2024 Camden Conference, where she spoke about her time in India as Delhi-based South Asia correspondent for The New York Times. 

Schmall’s speech at the Conference is a masterclass in how Western journalists allow their prejudices to take hold of their good senses and weave a story, an agenda so far removed from the ground reality and the truth that when their presumptions fall flat, they proceed to blame everyone except their own blinkered outlook.

It is, therefore, important to deconstruct Emily’s speech, which was liberally laced with woke propaganda—something that has now become a hallmark of The New York Times journalists.

Emily opens her speech with a sharp jab at Republic TV, one of India’s most-watched English news channels, drawing a comparison to America’s Fox News and calling it the mouthpiece of the Modi government.

“There are also hundreds of TV news channels, many of them highly influential and highly partisan. Cheap to produce shouting matches dominate like they do here. Republic TV, something akin to India’s Fox News, is unapologetically pro-government and that used to set it apart, no longer,” Schmall contends. 

Selective fact quoting on Republic TV, NDTV, and mass media

Of course, she conveniently ignores mentioning numerous instances when the Republic TV has taken a position contrary to the central government’s stand, most notably in the Sabarimala case, where the Arnab Goswami’s channel came down hard against opponents of permitting entry to women of menstruating age in the sanctum sanctorum of the hallowed temple.

Schmall then moves on to NDTV, hailing it as the ‘last bastion of independent TV news’ that was acquired by energy tycoon Gautam Adani, linking him to PM Modi and insinuating that the acquisition of the news channel may have happened at the directions of the PMO.

Here again, she keeps her in the dark about the proximity that journalists working with the NDTV with the ministers during the UPA-I and UPA-II regimes, so much so that some of them were so thick with the leaders that they were caught on tapes brokering cabinet berths.

“Adani won NDTV in a hostile takeover bid in 2022 and since then, many of the network’s longtime anchors and executives have stepped down. But increasingly, the biggest scoops, the gutsiest investigations, and the best watchdog reporting are appearing not in newspapers or TV, but in the digital pages of scrappy online news startups. Much of this work is supported by grants and reader subscriptions and donations and the journalists doing this work are particularly targeted by the government and its supporters,” she claims.

While she characterises Gautam Adani as a villain who took over NDTV, she consciously skips mentioning the irregularities in the funding of the NDTV and tax evasion charges levelled against it. The journalist with the New York Times, which is also infamous for its biased or one-sided brand of journalism, doesn’t acquaint her listeners with the allegations of tax fraud and money laundering against former NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy and how they were at the helm when Adani took over the company.

It is not difficult to guess the “scrappy online startups” she is referring to are most likely far left-leaning propaganda organisations like ‘The Wire’, which had to suffer the ignominy of pulling down several articles related to ‘Tek Fog’ and ‘Meta Stories’ after they were found to be nothing more than shoddy hitjobs against the central government.

Schmall then resorts to what is catnip for propagandists masquerading as journalists: using half-truths and selective data sets to drive home their point. Next up is the turn of WhatsApp to be maligned and defamed. The New York Times scribe cunningly cites one incident from the anti-Hindu Delhi riots to claim that a Muslim man was brutally lynched by a Hindu crowd. As usual, she doesn’t provide context over how the riots were triggered and the larger conspiracy behind the violence that is unravelling bit by bit in the courts.

No mention of Nupur Sharma episode while Schmall invokes a stray incident from 2020 Delhi riots

It is worth noting that Emily does not talk about the death threats received by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for simply defending the honour of her God during a Times Now debate, an incomplete video of which was spread online to gin up anger and resentment among the Muslim masses. Thousands took to the streets raising ‘Sar Tan Se Juda’ slogans against Sharma for what they perceived as blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad. The effigies of Sharma were hung, burnt, and beaten with slippers by furious mobs who bayed for her blood across the length and breadth of the country. 

At least 6 Hindus lost their lives for extending their solidarity with Nupur Sharma, most notably a Hindu tailor from Udaipur, Kanhaiya Lal, who was hacked to death by two Islamists in broad daylight for his support to the former BJP leader. The incident had sparked outrage across the country, yet Emily remains mum about it in her speech. 

She claims that WhatsApp has been weaponised by the Modi government to disseminate misinformation and whip up “nationalistic fervour” among the masses. Yet again, she offers no evidence to substantiate her claims and ignores the fact that WhatsApp is a freely available social media service, just like X and Facebook, and can be put to use by all political parties for mobilising its resources and broadcasting its communication to their members. 

Over the years, Modi has positioned himself as a leader who not only makes promises but also fulfils them. This has resulted in building trust among the masses towards PM Modi, reflected in the opinion polls that overwhelmingly tip in the Prime Minister’s favour, making him one of the most popular and approved PMs in the country’s history.

Emily laments that the BJP is using all its might to cash in on this ever-rising image of PM Modi, the connection he has with an average Indian and the inimitable oratory skills that leave listeners spellbound to establish the dominance of the political party and leverage it for electoral and political gains.

‘Ram Mandir was built on the rubble of 450-year-old Babri mosque’: Emily Schmall

Ram Mandir, according to Emily, was a result of an act of terrorism by Hindu karsevaks in 1992. She says that Ram Mandir was built on the rubble of a 450-year mosque torn down by the Hindu nationalists in December 1992 but does not care to detail the testimonies from eminent historians such as KK Mohammed and Meenakshi Jain, besides archaeological evidence, that hinted at the presence of a pre-existing temple underneath the Babri structure. 

During the demolition of the Babri structure, a Vishnu Hari inscription was found from the debris which records the construction of the temple at the site—a clinching evidence to puncture claims made by Islamists that there was no Hindu structure underneath the Babri complex. Predictably, Emily glosses over these details and moves on to the next item on her propaganda list. 

Schmall highlights the bloody clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley and mentions the casualties suffered by the Indian side. She doesn’t bother informing her listeners how the Indian troops gave a bloody nose to their Chinese counterparts and the number of casualties reported on the Chinese side. She also tried to lay the border conflict between the two nations entirely at the feet of the Modi government, even when it was established that the Chinese were the aggressors and have been so for years, as reported by the Indian Army sources along the border. 

At one instance in her speech, Schmall alludes to the information minister, presumably Anurag Thakur, having called her for tea and reading out The New York Times headlines in a sarcastic tone. Well, no one can fault the minister, given that The New York Times has a chequered history of publishing anti-India and Hinduphobic news articles. An article from 2021 that reaffirms NYT’s anti-India and Hinduphobic bias can be read here.

Emily Schmall among those who got Vivek Agnihotri’s press conference on ‘The Kashmir Files’ cancelled

While she continued to drone on other issues, too, like the use of UAPA against those accused of serious crimes, a fairly conversant listener would gauge by now that her utterances are nothing but words of a chagrined journalist who failed at accomplishing her ‘assignment’. It is notable to mention that while Schmall pontificates on the need for space for dissent, her name came up in May 2022 for cancelling Vivek Agnihotri’s press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club in New Delhi. ‘The Kashmir Files’ director was scheduled to hold a press conference to discuss the truth about the Kashmiri Hindu Genocide and his film ‘The Kashmir Files’. 

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia’s former member Journalist Pankaj Yadav had revealed that President Munish Gupta cancelled Vivek Agnihotri’s May 5 Press conference at the Club after office bearers Emily Schmall, Sebastian Farcis, Tawqeer Hussian and Kumkum Chadha threatened to resign from Governing Committee if it was allowed.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Jinit Jain
Jinit Jain
Writer. Learner. Cricket Enthusiast.

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