Hafta letters: Engaging with hate, sources of news, word limit for letters

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Engaging with hate, sources of news, word limit for letters

A big hello to the good people of Newslaundry.

I recently subscribed to Newslaundry. I am writing this after watching "Dumb Questions Only" by ScoopWhoop. In their recent episode, Abhinandan explained the line "When the consumer pays, the consumer is served" very beautifully by giving an example of how the entire news media industry thrives by creating ad space for advertisers. If you are reading this mail, I insist that you talk about it again.

I would like to hear from the entire team of Hafta on their opinions on the current state of the education system in our country and what really needs to change.

I am looking for some recommendations which will help in understanding the need for education and development of various systems of education.

Last, but not least, Manisha is my favourite.

Regards,

Ipsita Ghanshala

***

Howdy Team NL,

I'm writing from Houston, Texas, a day after RBGs death.

Two amazing things I discovered this year are Newslaundry and the term "temptation bundling".

Temptation bundling is a clever method of using rewards — or the things you enjoy doing, those guilty pleasures which offer instant gratification (NL Hafta) — to invoke the willpower to also get all the things you don't want to do (doing the dishes) out of the way, things that often come with long-term benefits (domestic bliss).

PS: I also cook and clean, so not your typical desi man only doing pandemic-induced chores. I absolutely LOVE all the NL content. While I haven't watched The Media Rumble yet and (therefore don't know the business models/strategies that work) I do — as a stereotypical IT engineer/ Marketing MBA grad (and aspirant to the Philip Kotler award which dear leader won) — think Newsance is the HOOK to draw future subscribers. (I do that with friends who are not big readers and it works!)

Abhinandan is a man after my own heart and I can see myself becoming the "ranty uncle" that he says he is. I suppose I'm halfway there already. Loved all the NL interviews, especially the one with Suraj Yengde.

Manisha, like Modiji, seems to be the most popular on the team, and I, like most followers, am equally enchanted by her screen presence, knowledge and resilience. My sister works with a fact-checking agency and I know what a terrible toll it takes on one’s mental health to consume this level of hate, day in and day out.

Mehraj, Anand and Raman are great as well. Mehraj brings a unique perspective which I suppose most of us in the heartland are not exposed to. Special mention of Meghnad and his show on the Constitution.

Enjoyed Abantika and Revati's insightful thoughts and will most probably go buy Revati's book, like I did after watching Suraj's interview.

There are a lot of topics on which I have views on, and will probably write on, sometime in the future. For now, this is a congratulatory email for being a beacon of light and hope in this all too real Kal Yug. Do let me know if I can help whilst in Houston (huge desi population, predominantly right-wing Hindutva apologists unfortunately).

Regards,

Keith Rebelo

***

Hello Abhinandan,

I appreciate the work the NL team is doing. I've been consuming the free content for quite a while and have now subscribed for an entire year.

I'm currently working in the US for two years. There have been many social challenges; however, I always had a hope that things would be better and the good in people would prevail. But looking back at the past two years especially, I'm turning more pessimistic about this. I do detest the politics that is happening today, but my real concern is the everyday people in our circle, ie neighbours, school friends, colleagues, etc. People get the politicians they chose. Are people under the politicians'/“godi media” influence or was it always underlying hate that is out in the open now? Is this something that is beyond repair?

What are your/the panel's thoughts on this?

Also, since I’ve managed to keep my thoughts under 400 words, I’m going to squeeze in a programme suggestion. How about engaging with everyday people who have not been able to see past the obvious on what the current politics of hate and media is feeding them? Reason with them without name-calling them bhakts, sickular, Congressi, etc etc.

All the best,

Mazhar Khan

***

Dear Abhinandan,

I teach in a college at Delhi University. I had been listening to Chhota Hafta for a year before I subscribed this year. I should have done this earlier but I am happy I am not a muftkhor anymore.

In a recent ScoopWhoop video, Abhinandan was asked which news sources he trusts and reads for his own consumption of news. He said he follows certain journalists whose credibility he trusts. This made me curious to know who they are. I would love it if in the next episode of NL Hafta, the panel does a round of what their own sources of news are, print and otherwise, which journalists, on what themes do they follow.

PS: The quality of Newslaundry subscriber emails are so good that I've wondered if they are, in fact, written by subscribers. This email (other than being genuinely curious about the question) is also a way for me to check if subscriber emails are actually read and responded to. :-)

You all are doing a fantastic job. Keep going. I look forward to NL content and have now seen older episodes of NL Interviews and Newsance. I really enjoy them. I have also asked my students to listen to them and see if they or their parents can subscribe.

Warmly

Ankita Pandey

Assistant professor, University of Delhi

***

I was going to write 400 words on Anand Uncle's take on debauchery and his false equivalence of legal action on Rhea and Kangana. However, thanks to two succinctly put letters on this topic on Hafta 294, I can write about other things. And I praise you for your instant rebuttal on 293.

Notwithstanding the fact that various countries have started legalising, the simple fact that in one case, the state is meddling in someone's personal affairs and in the other, the defendant encroached on public property, shouldn't have been lost on someone with such encyclopaedic knowledge. Anand sir ko koi maal marwao yaar aaplog.

On Sudarshan TV, Kapil Mishra, hate speech:

I think these preemptive stays and media attention only enable them to glorify their victimhood. Rather any intelligent administrator/court would knowingly allow him to commit these infractions and swiftly make an example out of him post facto, so that both evidence and exemplary punishment are out there for everyone to see. However, in the face of a religiously motivated government, I don't see any quick solution to the problem of majoritarian hate speech. My only hope is that high courts will do what they can.

It's like instead of taking down Confederate statues, people/local authorities should put up a new plaque saying what a terrible person this guy was and which government put the statue up to appease whom.

Hafta letter word limits

Given the fact that you have such erudite and eloquent subscribers who write such wonderful and nuanced letters to you, it is unfortunate that you've prescribed a word limit. No one is stopping you from paraphrasing as long as you get the crux of the letter. Maybe you could explore a different show altogether with the Hafta panel just to discuss subscriber letters.

That brings me to the fact that the subscriber-based model invariably attracts intellectual/economic privileged or a politically motivated subscriber base. Word limits might discourage people from writing in altogether and that, I feel, would be a huge loss to the open discourse for Newslaundry. Maybe you could only name and thank the people sending letters of encouragement.

Supplementing your revenues from small advertisements individually, financially capped to the amount an individual subscriber pays, might be an idea you could juggle to prevent left of centre people like me setting the agenda.

Itna kanjoosi karke letter likhna bahut mushkil hai.

Articles_omited_some_places_Am_sure_youll_get_many_innovative_solutions_as_this_from_your_readers_to_meet_your_word_limit_fatwa_which_might_make_them_unreadable.

***

Hi Newslaundry team,

If including my letter in any Hafta, please keep me anonymous.

A new subscriber here, though I have been following your work for more than 1-2 years but as a muftkhor.

Heard the last Hafta (294). Enjoyed it. But one point.

I think the analysis you people did with Revati Laul on how the upper class (the educated class) can have this much hatred was partial. The hatred the upper class has for the lower class and lower castes has been there for decades (or centuries). And it continues till date.

In many houses, we still have separate utensils for people who come to take garbage from our houses or we have heard the argument against the lower class and caste (SC/ST) that they have criminal elements. Look at the killing of inter-caste couples (called as honour killings) or the killing of Dalits for entering temples.

Just that now, the religion part has been added into it and also that this has become very open now. The hatred is openly supported by the people in power, so it is being openly displayed also.

Isn't this hatred an extension of how the hatred at the level of caste was and still is openly displayed in many places? I remember in one conversation on lynching, my friend said that at the level of caste, the lynchings happened earlier also, then why there is so much hulla over religion-based lynchings now? To which I kept saying it is good that this much hulla is happening...now is the time to take action against all kinds of lynchings.

But this point of my friend made it clear to me that the hatred at the level of caste has been there for a long time. So, to me, the hatred becomes much more of a structural phenomena which have existed in Indian society for long. Just that now it has been given a direction (a dangerous one) in a very organised manner (by both people in power and media).

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