Megaphone for Megalomaniac: How a high-school essay without one original thought made it to every edit page today

The demise of the editorial page as the voice and conscience of a newspaper is much lamented by the thinking class. But we in the journalism business have ourselves to blame for devaluing it by publishing tripe.

On the eve of the unveiling of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel‘s statue, the prime minister’s office sent out a high-school essay written by some faceless bureaucrat in the PMO, but appended with Narendra Modi‘s signature.

India’s allegedly free and fair press is falling over each other in giving it pride of place.

It is on the edit page of The Times of India:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 11.00.42.png

On the edit page of the Hindustan Times:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 11.02.28.png

On the op-ed page of the Indian Express:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 10.59.04.png

On the edit page of the Economic Times:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 10.58.21

On the op-ed page of The Tribune:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 11.05.44.png

On the op-ed page of Praja Vani:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 11.06.45.png

***

Only The Hindu among the major English newspapers does not carry this press release, as is, (it has a news report) but that’s only because India’s most prolific op-ed writer, vice-president M.Venkaiah Naidu is doing the honours.

As he does on the edit page of Eenadu:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 11.11.59.png

On the edit page of Vijaya Karnataka:

Screenshot 2018-10-31 11.10.36.png

It is nobody’s case that Sardar Patel doesn’t deserve play on his birth anniversary. It is certainly nobody’s case that Narendra Modi should not get credit for his statue. But surely the role of newspapers goes beyond acting as a megaphone for megalomania?

 

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