For decades, we’ve thought that newspapers were authoritative purveyors information, written by subject matter experts who were specialists in their own fields. But now, through social media, we’re finally getting to know the people who run newspapers up close — and the results aren’t very flattering.
Suhasini Haidar, who’s the National Editor and Diplomatic Affairs Editor at The Hindu, has said that if India follows PM Modi’s call to honour emergency personnel at 5 pm, it would “hurt and frighten” birds and animals. “All my gratitude to Doctors and emergency health workers in advance… I do hope the clanging doesn’t hurt or frighten the birds and animals that live in our Indian cities, however,” she wrote on Twitter, hinting she wouldn’t join in when the rest of the country honors its medical staff.
The mind boggles to parse such a statement — humans regularly use airplanes, attend music concerts, and fill up entire stadia to cheer on their teams, all activities which would produce a lot more noise than clapping and clanging, but Haidar’s heart has presumably never bled for birds and animals on those occasions. But such is the establishment media’s reflexive urge to oppose anything that PM Modi proposes that they can go to ludicrous lengths to make their case.
The internet, however, wasn’t going to let Haidar off so easy, and she was soon trolled for her tweet. A twitter user said that it was indeed dangerous to clap, because birds might end up between people’s palms and be crushed.
Someone else said that it was indeed wise to be careful while clapping, because the change in pressure might cause hurricanes.
And someone pointed out that it was just clapping, not bomb blasts.
Haider has resolutely kept her tweet still up, where it will presumably stay forever. Which is just as well — each time people pay up Rs. 5 or whatever to buy their copy of the Hindu, they can take a look at it to know more about the intelligence — and ideology — of the people who write it.