A review of #NLHafta by Swati, Amit & others
NL Dhulai

A review of #NLHafta by Swati, Amit & others

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

By NL Team

Published on :

Not all NL content is created equal. Some of it goes behind a paywall. This is what NL wants non-subscribers to pay for. The full interview with Vivek Agnihotri was initially billed as a product for subscribers only.

In a follow-up email, Abhinandan said he interviewed Agnihotri because, “I believe I should try and talk to people from the other side of the ideological spectrum, especially the ones I disagree with.

Two inferences that may reasonably be drawn: the interview was considered equivalent to other premium NL content and it was a somewhat earnest attempt to engage with ideologically opposing opinions.

Except in Hafta 188, we were advised to not take the interview seriously because it was intended as entertainment. A “circus”, if you will.  

Do us all a favour and call the interview what it was: subscription-bait. Spare us your disingenuous surprise at the interview’s popularity. FFS, you made it go viral. You packaged the interview to provoke extreme reactions but now express disdain for those who lapped it up. Real classy.

And sure, go ahead and criticise the New Yorker’s flip-flopping on Steve Bannon. Par soch lo aap khud kitne paani mein ho.

If you really want to engage with people who you think are unhinged, perhaps you should do so on your own time and dime. If the intent is to orchestrate a bit of theatre to tempt non-subscribers, go ahead. But please quit whining about peoples’ tendency to gravitate towards ridiculousness when you are the source of the said ridiculousness. If you think the discourse is garbage, then please own up to the ways in which you are actively making it worse. This holier-than-Arnab spiel is fooling precisely no one.

Best,
Swati

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Hello Abhinandan/Team,

I have been a subscriber of Newslaundry for the past 1 year and this is my first email. This is about Hafta episode 188 (Sept 7, 2018)

a) Vivek Agnihotri interview: Though, this is not officially a discussion item for this episode it was brought up during the podcast hence my comments. I found the interview very difficult to watch. I am not a fan of Vivek Agnihotri as he seems to have a very naive/linear way of thinking. Having said that, I felt the way you interviewed him was also not correct. Your bias and more importantly him being a “smaller mortal” and your disdain for his views was apparent the way the interview was conducted. It was as if you wanted to make a fool of him and you need not try too hard.

b) This brings me to the next point which was discussed as part of the podcast, Steve Bannon and the New Yorker uninviting him. I agree with your points that the platform owner has the right to decide whom to give the platform to and there is some line one (Lakshman Rekha)needs to draw in terms of whom you want to put on such a platform. I think the team at Hafta categorised Steve Bannon incorrectly, as he was till very recently part of White House so he cannot be said that his views are something on the Lakshman Rekha category. He is akin to India’s Yogi Adityanath and how much ever one may differ from his view you cannot deny a platform to such a person as it does represents a certain point of view. I would request you to listen to Arnab Ray’s Attention Pliss podcast: https://soundcloud.com/talkingstuffnet/app7. Arand Ray goes by the twitter handle @greatbong and he has also appeared as a guest on Hafta. His discussion on US politics was spot on and he discusses Steve Bannon.

Additionally,
c) Hartosh Bal : I like the long form read in Caravan but I find whenever I hear Hartosh Bal speaking, his hatred for Modi comes across too strongly . I reiterate “hate” not disagreement with Modi. Then makes me think the motivation of the pieces on Mr Bal’s magazines.
d) Anand Vardhan: Thank you for bringing out the point of the right to peaceful travel. Sorry, Mr Hartosh could not get what you were saying but you are absolutely right that not every place is a Jantar Mantar and I have as much right to peaceful travel as the right of dissent or freedom of speech.  

Thanks,
Amit

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Hello NL Team,

I’ve been a subscriber for well over two years and I have to say I love what you guys stand for and what you’re doing with the platform. In particular, I love Hafta and I haven’t missed once since I first starting with Episode number 50 or some such.

I’ve been toggling with the idea of writing in for a while now and while I’m certain this will not meet your word limit stipulation (we live in the world of Twitter afterall), I hope your decision to not read out non-subscriber emails increases my chances!

A couple of comments based on Episode 188. I would title my email, “the tale of the two Anands”

First, one of the things that sets you apart as a media organisation is your transparency and openness to feedback. Your reading this email out loud on a podcast (or putting it up on your website) is proof itself of that. However, I find it very strange that email after email asks you about what happened to Anand R and you never choose to respond to that question. If you’re reading out an email with the objective of responding to feedback it’s a bit weird to time after time ignore that question. Of course, you don’t “owe” anyone answers and like you said in the case of Deepanjana’s departure. Every exit need not be explained but it should certainly be acknowledged (and has been, until Anand’s departure). In the case of Anand R, you’ve basically left it to your audience to figure it out for themselves. That’s normal for traditional media houses but very unlike NL.

Second, we often hear people write in saying they value Anand V on the podcast because he brings a diversity of opinion and while I disagree with him 8 times out of 10, I certainly value him being a dissenter. That said, it’s important for the listeners to hear him more often, and on more topics when he is present. By nature, he is not vocal so he’s unlikely to pipe up on every topic but given the balance he brings it’s important he be encouraged to speak more

That’s my rant! Love your work and your spirit. It’s important to pay for news, and not pay peanuts because serious journalism requires money. It doesn’t necessarily invalidate the ad-funded model (which is why I happily pay $15 a month for an NYT subscription) imho but that’s my view.

Rgds,
Arijit Sarkar

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Hello Team Newslaundry,

Hi, this is Arvind Nangalia, a computer engineer from Surat.

This statement has been used twice now in recent Haftas –

“The debate on that issue (example racism) was settled years ago, but recently it was opened up.” Unpleasant arguments shouldn’t be the basis of denying a speaker the right to present his arguments. If you disagree, be brutal in ridiculing/refuting those arguments. Only exception can be if the other person doesn’t believe in the right to speech himself. Be it racism, bigotry, immigration, even slavery etc – if we are on solid ground, why fear refuting/ridiculing ? And conversations are the only way to bridge the divide, right ?

Quite often, the “holier-than-thou” attitude of liberals/left-liberals has the opposite effect on the other side. Treat no issue as settled, be prepared to make arguments. Recommend revisiting the short “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill.

Love the work you are doing and a special thanks for making Media Rumble available as a podcast. Please do that with your interviews (video) is possible.

Regards.

Newslaundry
www.newslaundry.com