Killer News!

17 May,2022




By Ranjona Banerji


Ranjona BanerjiThe supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York which killed 10 Black Americans and injured three others is shocking enough, even if America is known for its mass shootings. The shooter, Payton Gendron, is a self-confessed fascist anti-Semite white supremacist. According to reports, he scouted out this predominantly Black neighbourhood and then drove 200 miles to carry out his crime.


Gendron was influenced by the extreme right-wing “Great Replacement Theory” doing the rounds in America that falsely claims that Blacks are trying to replace Whites and that they are not really underprivileged or discriminated against.


One of the main proponents of this evil and pernicious theory is TV anchor Tucker Carlson of Fox News.


And here begin the similarities with the worst of Indian television.


Across the spectrum, we have anchors like Carlson who night after night work to ramp up anti-Muslim, anti-Dalit and anti-Christian sentiment in India. They attack anyone who dares to contest their “theory” that Hindus are in danger. They pander to our basest feelings, to the worst of human ideas and beliefs.


Far from having qualms about the hatred they spread and the inherent dangers therein, they are unashamedly proud of their work. “Anchor Anand” poses with a suitably superior look for his toxic show “the right stand” on CNN News18. (It is another matter that CNN International is constantly scathing about Tucker Carlson and about Fox News. That their Indian partner is a close copy bothers CNN International not.) Rahul Shivshankar of Times Now similarly pushes the false line that Hindus are in danger in India because of Muslims, Dalits and other religious minorities.


All these TV channels are, goes without saying, huge admirers of the BJP and of Narendra Modi.


As the BJP has moved closer to its core upper caste vote-bank over the past seven years, these TV channels have also moved from attacking liberals, writers, artists and academics to civil rights activists to “the elite” to Dalits, Christians, Sikhs and on to their favourite targets, Muslims.


Their ways are many. From open bigotry to childish petulance. They follow the trend of Whatsapp forwards: Nehru never taught us that the Ramayana existed and so on.


Thus, none of these channels will challenge the unmitigated nonsense from the Hindu right-wing that the Taj Mahal was once a Hindu temple. Instead, they will amplify Hindutva beliefs that every mosque and Muslim mausoleum in India was built on a Hindu temple.


America’s lax gun control laws put weapons in the hands of murderers and fanatics. India’s laws may not be the same but as we have seen with mob violence over the past seven years, we do not need a Constitutional right to carry arms in order to murder and attack people on the basis of their religion and caste. Instead, we find that help for hate crimes is available from our police forces.


Cue in the Delhi Police and TV person and channel owner Suresh Chavhanke who said he was ready to kill if need be for a “Hindu rashtra”. But the Delhi Police heard nothing.


Thus, the Indian media is always there, as both instigator and cheerleader.


Many parallels have already been made between this enormous segment of the Indian media and the infamous Radio Rwanda, which encouraged genocide by the Tutus against the Hutsis by spreading lies and hatred in Rwanda in the 1990s.


The Carlson effect of instigation to death is one that we are long familiar with.


There will be a price to pay.


Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She writes on MxMIndia every Tuesday and Friday. Her views here are personal


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