In India, you can identify so called pseudo-intellectuals on MSM with some characteristics which were greatly on display on the day of Pathankot attack.
1. They are Modi haters:
They will find reasons to blame Modi for everything. If Modi talks to Pakistan, their argument would be not to engage. If he doesn’t talk to Pakistan, there argument would be that Modi is not thinking out of the box. They are still not able to accept democratically elected PM of India as their PM. They would have preferred someone from Lutyen’s Delhi that’s why they would often say “their PM”, “BJP’s PM” etc.
2. Their agenda is above national interest:
On days of terror attacks if they can link it to failures of Modi, they get a new weapon. When there are terror attacks in the west like Paris, people get united and journalists don’t get into starting the blame game on the day of terror. They just report facts and let experts talk on such sensitive matters. Paris attacks triggered twitter trends like #JeSuisCharlie adopted worldwide and people were expressing their solidarity. In India, even terror attacks are used by mainstream media to further deepen the divide.
3. They are self proclaimed experts of foreign policy and national security:
Only in India will you find so many journalists that are foreign policy experts. Immediately after terror attacks, they exclaim- see I told you so. India shouldn’t have engaged with Pak. Modi shouldn’t have gone for tea with Sharif etc. Almost all leading English TV journalists in India are so called experts of national security too. They won’t hesitate to even place their advice on how counter terror ops need to be performed to one of the best NSAs India has had – Ajit Doval.
4. They can not handle criticism on social media:
When such leftist seculars are challenged by critics who one could best denigrate as smart trolls, they feel threatened. Many of these so called liberals in their 40s and 50s haven’t understood the power of social media. In the prime of their youth, they became opinion makers on Indian TV. They are very used to one way building of narrative. We tell you our opinion and you follow is what they think is their birthright. There was no question asked, no criticism before social media. So India’s leading MSM TV intellectuals are not used to being questioned about their opinions and narrative. Hence they feel threatened.
5. They will call you bhakts when they don’t have answers:
And when they feel threatened, they will call you names- sanghi trolls, morons, bhakts and so on. Indeed, there are abusive internet trolls everywhere. This is the nature of Internet and action must be taken against those. However these intellectuals take advantage of this fact and generalize all of their critics into “trolls” or “bhakts”. What they don’t understand is, that if Modi was voted in by 31% (vote share), and given that BJP vote share is more urban than rural, you are bound to have about 50-60% opinions favoring Modi on social media or questioning them against their hate. Can you afford to ignore opinions of this large majority on social media? At your own peril if you do!
Here is what Vir Sanghvi calls some twitter followers :”Moron Bhakts”, “Sanghi trolls”, “ignorant morons”, “chaddiwallahs”. This writer was recently blocked by…… well you guessed it right!
6. When there is nothing else there is “intolerance” weapon:
So when they can’t handle your criticism, they will finally come back to the false narrative they have built : “intolerance is rising”. Its not intolerance that is rising, its their inability to handle criticism that is rising and that has exposed these pseudo-intellectuals.
7. They will rejoice even on day of terror if they can attack critics:
Sagarika Ghose on day of terror attack takes it out on bhakts (note “their very own govt“)
So how do we summarize this? I couldn’t come up with anything better than Sadanand Dhume, a WSJ columnist on this whole inability of these pseudo-intellectuals to deal with democratization of discourse; in my favourite tweet of 2015 !