Comment is not free

The evidence is clear: in The New York Times, 85.8 per cent of the articles that dealt with a country other than the U.S. called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture, while only 7.69 per cent did so when the U.S. was responsible. Similarly The Los Angeles Times characterised the practice as torture in 91.3 per cent of its articles when another country was charged with waterboarding, but in only 11.4 per cent of articles when the U.S. was the perpetrator.

From The Hindu’s opinion piece today, reporting on Torture at Times: A Study of Waterboarding in the Media, by students of Harvard University.


Focusing on the collusion between the media and the state, the article concludes with – 

If there is one thing that this accumulating evidence suggests, it is that a rot has afflicted the U.S. print media — the rot of complacency born of an institutional intimacy that is antithetical to the very core principles of a free press. However given how deeply entrenched the media-government relationship is already, this may not be a rot that can be stemmed

As the comments point out, Noam Chomsky has been, for long, drawing attention to this phenomenon through his work.

And on a related note, here’s stuff that doesn’t show the Indian media in too good a light.

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