Why The New York Times is searching for a biased reporter in India?
The New York Times (NYT) is looking for a biased correspondent in India. Not an unbiased but a biased one. According to media reports, the American daily on July 1, 2021 had posted an entry-level job requirement on their website and on LinkedIn. The publication’s credibility came under fire because of the job description and a debate has erupted over it. The NYT is looking for a South Asia Business Correspondent in New Delhi but has weird prerequisites and conditions for potential candidates.Talking about PM Modi, the NYT’s job posting says, “India’s future now stands at a crossroads. Mr. Modi is advocating a self-sufficient, muscular nationalism, centred on the country's Hindu majority. That vision puts him at odds with the interfaith, multicultural goals of modern India’s founders.”. It also states that “Under Narendra Modi, its charismatic prime minister, India has moved to rival China’s economic and political heft in Asia, a drama playing out along their tense border and within national capitals across the region.”The American newspaper calls the border tension between India and China a “drama”, where thousands of soldiers have been engaged in face-offs and skirmishes since May 2020 on the LAC. The job posting also points out some issues, “The government’s growing efforts to police online speech and media discourse have raised difficult questions about balancing issues of security and privacy with free speech. Technology is both a help and a hindrance.”Let me make this very clear that it is a job description of The New York Times, not an opinion piece, although it seems like one. The NYT wants to hire a business correspondent, not an opinion writer. Reporting and writing a news story requires objectivity, but the NYT is looking for someone who looks everything from a biased perspective.The New York Times has been very critical of the Modi government, especially during the second wave of pandemic in India. A section of people on social media call the newspaper 'biased'. And the description in this job posting does reflects so.There is a lot of debate going on on social media regarding this job posting from the NYT. Arguments are being given in opposition and support of it. Some people are calling this ad ‘anti-government and anti-India’, some also see it as ‘anti-Hindu’ and ‘anti-Modi’. Some media outlets like WION, Republic TV and OpIndia are trying to push the idea of an ‘anti-Hindu agenda’ in the job description.Kanchan Gupta, a senior advisor to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting tweeted, “NYT has dropped all pretences of impartiality with this job ad for a South Asia Correspondent. They are clearly looking to hire an anti-Modi activist who can also stoke anti-Indian sentiments in our neighbourhood. With this, the paper qualifies as a foreign-funded NGO".However, contrary to the proclamations by some Twitter users and media outlets, nowhere does NYT's job description state or implies that its requirement is a candidate with an 'anti-Hindu' stance. But yeah, even if not directly stated, the job description does imply that they need someone who has a clear bias and is anti-government.According to Zee News, the NYT has not put out the same kind of job descriptions everywhere, except in certain countries. The NYT has also posted for hiring Staff Editor in Hong Kong, Senior Staff Editor in South Korea and Southeast Asia Bureau Chief in Thailand. But in none of them the NYT posted job descriptions like the one they did for India. It is not that there are no problems, controversies or protests in these countries, they are very much present there. For example, there are mass protests going on against the monarchy in Thailand, protests against the Chinese Government and their National Security Law in Hong Kong are known to everybody. But in these countries, the NYT did not mention any of those problems in the job description.In November 2020, the NYT had put out a similar job description in Russia like this one in India. In that job description they wanted a correspondent who is overly critical of Putin and had mentioned topics like cyber attacks by Russia on western countries, attack on the Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny, etc. This shows that the NYT, very specifically, targets certain countries.This is not the first time that the NYT’s bias against India has been clearly visible. In March 2019, after the Balakot airstrike The New York Times wrote, “After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its ‘Vintage’ Military”. In 2014, the NYT had mocked India and its Mangalyaan mission.According to Zee News and WION, from 2016-2020 The New York Times had received US $50,000 from China’s state propaganda outlet, The China Daily. And the NYT is not the only one receiving this money, there are others like The Washington Post. Maybe this is the reason why such media outlets are not that critical when it comes to China or the Chinese Communist Party, to be specific.Thus, it is very clear that The New York Times has an agenda and bias. Every publication is entitled to its biases and opinions, but then, one should not claim to be the flag bearer of unbiased journalism.Even if not directly stated, the job description does strongly imply that they need a correspondent in the country that has a clear bias and would be overly critical of the Indian Government and PM Modi. While criticism of the Indian Government is warranted when needed, hiring a correspondent in India that must meet these prerequisites defeats the sole purpose of unbiased reporting.At the time of writing, the job posting is no longer available to view on the NYT's website or LinkedIn. You can read a copy of it hereWhat do you think about such prerequisites for a job and that too for a journalist? Let us know in the comments.