Somini Sengupta – NYT reporter and terrorist apologist

The War Against Calling Terrorism By Its Name

Somini Sengupta, a New York Times reporter files a story from Islamabad on how the India-Pakistan peace process is running into rough weather. Her article is an example on how to write an entire article about India-Pakistan peace process without once using the word ‘terrorist’.

Across the border, Indian leaders wonder aloud whether continued guerrilla attacks, which they say are backed by Pakistan, will derail the peace negotiations.

Ah guerrillas. And they are backed by Pakistan only because Indian leaders say so.

In Kashmir, the abiding source of India-Pakistan troubles, violence has been on a steady, savage rise in recent weeks, with Indian troops and suspected militants clashing nearly daily for the last several days.

Now that they are actually clashing with Indian troops, those guerrillas are now merely suspected to be militants.

On July 19, for instance, a family of six was brutally killed by suspected insurgents, and Indian soldiers killed four men whom they identified as members of a Pakistan-based militant group.

And when they brutally kill a family of six, they become suspected insurgents. Besides when Indian soldiers identify members of Pakistan-based group, there is a need to use words that hint some disbelief. But when Indian soldiers admit wrongly killing innocent civilians, there is no need to credit them for admitting as much.

Early Sunday morning, Indian soldiers shot and killed three young Kashmiri men whom they said they had mistaken for guerrillas

Ah, those guerrillas again.

The next day, a car bomb exploded in front of an Indian Army convoy in Srinagar, the capital of the Indian-held part of Kashmir.

Those suspected insurgents are now not even suspected of setting off the car bomb, which seems to have gone off entirely on its own, without killing anyone. Those soldiers that died didn’t exist at all.

Domestic constituencies are vital for the leaders of both countries. For nearly two weeks, the Indian prime minister, for the first time in many months, has been speaking out about the dangers of Pakistan sheltering guerrillas. “If terrorist elements are not under control, that can upset the progress of the peace process,” Mr. Singh said in an interview with The New York Times in New Delhi, “because we are a democracy.”

And they become guerrillas again, even if in the very next sentence, the Indian prime minister describes them as ‘terrorist elements’. And Musharraf does not have a domestic constituency (in every sense of the word).

At this rate, she may even be able to write an article about 9/11 without using the word terrorist anywhere. Perhaps it was those suspected disgruntled flying school students who, according to American leaders, allegedly rammed what looked like an aircraft into some tall buildings.

Tailpiece: Here’s Somini Sengupta’s warning to the United States government

Washington’s widening friendship with India shows the potential to overshadow its longstanding alliance with Pakistan, heightening the mistrust between the two neighbors

23 thoughts on “Somini Sengupta – NYT reporter and terrorist apologist”

  1. Pingback: Work In Progress
  2. Nothing new, is there? Wouldn’t be surprised if Somini Sengupta has some commie background – would absolutely fit the type. And of course, NYT is only too eager to print anything that portrays India in a poor light, with all the accompanying India-Pak-equal suggestions. NYT’s days are numbered anyway – conservative Americans think the publication isn’t even worth wiping their behinds. In any case, these people deserve all the terrorism they get at THEIR doorstep. Let’s not shed a single tear for western people affected by terrorism – nothing personal there.

  3. What else would you expect from a Berkeley bred cocktail waitress?

    SOMINI SENGUPTA was born in born in Calcutta, India. She lived in midwestern Canada for three short years, then was raised mostly in Southern California.

    She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1988 with B.A. in English and Development Studies.

    Somini has worked as a radio producer, cocktail waitress, community organizer for a few years before joining the Metpro minority training program at the Los Angeles Times in the summer of 1992.

  4. No need to get personal about Ms. Sengupta; she’s merely echoing the Times’ editorial line.

    In any case, these people deserve all the terrorism they get at THEIR doorstep. Let’s not shed a single tear for western people affected by terrorism.

    What the hell? Are you for real?

  5. Disturbing the long-standing alliance with Pakistan stands the risk of affecting close ties with a global source of terrorist manpower, ideology and funds. The West has much to be grateful for to Pakistan for having enlivened a rather peaceful and boring existence, by blessing them with a perennial fear of being attacked in the most mundane and innocuous of places.

    What a shame such thoughts come from an “Indian” of sorts.

  6. Its not just this chick, its everyone who is crazy about being ‘extra politically correct’ these days.

    Even the British Establishment talks about ‘bombers’ not terrorists

  7. But how is this different from the rest of the world media when they talk about terrorism in Kashmir? I never saw any news report where the Kashmiri terrorists were actually named as such. The world media always keeps a neutral tone. I don’t think it is just a problem with this one reporter, it’s with all world news media. And I think it is wishful thinking from us Indians to zero in on this one reporter just because she has an Indian background. Why should we expect her to use pro-Indian terminology just because of her Indian background? After all, the NYT is a part of world media.

  8. It’s not quite different from coverage from indian newspapers like hindu. I have seen articles with similar tones or worse from hindu and other news papers. I remember the entire indian media falling head over heals during musharaff’s visit to agra a few years back. Which was the most nauseating thing I have ever seen considering the fact that musharaff is responsible for the mass murder of more than 800 indian soldiers during kargil. Obviously, indian elite and intellectuals don’t give a damn about the soldiers– unarguably the best citizens of the country. How do you expect foreigners to be sympathetic to your interests? As they say, charity begins at home. We should learn something from china here. They always take a tough stand when it comes to their national intererests and expect others to toe their line.

  9. Nitin:

    A very deft highlighting of Ms. Sengupta’s (none-too-elegant) dancing around the word terrorist. It’s amusing that even those suspected of killing civilians are ‘insurgents’.

    This is a classic case of an editorial masquerading as reportage. Ms. Sengupta uses the oldest technique–she simply uses those sources whose quotes she can fashion into an argument for her point of view.

    To give Ms. Sengupta some credit I should note that she quotes some (anonymous) diplomats on the busy jihad factories of Pakistan. However, she goes on to suggest that the General might not approve of what his errant subordinates are upto. In classic CYA fashion, she merely notes in passing that Pakistan’s critics tend to be skeptical of its bona-fides.

    After all, Great Leader can never be wrong;if only his evil advisers would listen to him ! Of course, if the General can’t or won’t rein in the jihadi terrorists, I doubt that American action or inaction will do anything to increase India’s trust of the General and his minions.

    I wouldn’t put it down to Ms. Sengupta’s lark as a cocktail waitress, however. These hardworking folks tend to be quite sensible, compared to many of those in the reportorial classes, anyway.

    But lemmme see: Calcutta-born. Berkeley education. English and Development Studies Major….’nuff said. I’d guess the source is a terminal political-correctness (shared by her bosses and much of the elite media in the West).


  10. If this is an instance of political correctness, it doesn’t apply to everybody equally. NY Times and Washington Post always refer to BJP as the ‘Hindu nationalist’ or ‘Hindu revivalist’ party and typically add some references to Ayodhya and Gujarat. Even newspapers like Hindu use strong words against the right wing. And one wonders why similar standards aren’t applied to the other kind of bigotry.

  11. sv: “It’s not quite different from coverage from indian newspapers like hindu. I have seen articles with similar tones or worse from hindu and other news papers.”

    I totally agree. Shouldn’t “The Hindu” be really called “The Anti-Hindu”?

    Nitin, as some others have pointed out, Somini Sengupta may not have two neurons to spare, but there is the editorial policy of NYT to consider. It is “terrorism” only if the target is US; otherwise it could be “militants,” “insurgents,” “malcontents,” or even “freedom fighters.”

    Some years ago I was disgusted enough to write a letter to NPR (National Public Radio) asking them why they use this policy.

    BTW, there is no need to insult Berkeley waitresses merely because a cretin was once a waitress in Berkeley.

  12. Zia, yes, I’m VERY real.

    Even now, there is a refusal in the Western world to recognise that what is happening in Kashmir is the same thing that happened on 9/11. The only difference was in scale. If you don’t agree, I present Exhibit A – the difference in coverage attached to the London and Sharm-Al-Sheikh bombings. When ‘third world’ people die, it hardly registers a blimp.

    I guess I was somewhat out of line with the way I expressed this, and I certainly do not intend anyone any harm. But think about the fact that terrorists in Kashmir are killing innocent people with arms provided by Pakistan, a lot of which were acquired from the US, which knew fully well the kind of use they would be put to. A lot of the ongoing jihad started in Afghanistan, where the CIA fought alongside the ‘Mujahideen’ and Pakistani radicals. Of course, America had no idea who they were dealing with!

    When it comes to terrorism in India, all we get is sermons and words like ‘militancy’, ‘insurgency’, ‘rebels’ etc. Western double standards are not restricted to terrorism, though, witness the CNOOC-Unocal fiasco. These same people preach free trade to us? And want us to open up our retail, oil etc. sectors?

  13. The Hindu (and its more virulent sister publication, Frontline), are run by card carrying communist N Ram. What do you expect? Btw, let’s not blame Calcutta for the communist ‘spirit’ – after all, CPM hardly wins any elections there, except when it’s up against loonies like Mamata Banerjee.

  14. Expecting objectivity from Sengupta is perhaps asking for too much. While she may well have to toe the NYT editorial line on using the T word, she lacks a basic understanding of her country of birth. In one of her early reports she referred to Manmohan Singh as India’s head of state. She merely carries on a hoary tradition begun by Barbara Crossette.

  15. Atanu: Hindu is the most anti-hindu newspaper. Sometime back muslims murdered hindus in marad in kerala and when the then chief minister anthony took strong action against the criminals, the hindu criticized the actions of the chief minister. Recently, hindu criticized manmohan singh for saying (the obvious) that nukes in the hands of pakistan poses security risk. It’s a pathetic anti-indian newspaper.

    N.Ram is a known communist/chinese sympathezier. On a visit to tibet, he paid glorious tribute to the chinese actions in Tibet — no word on the many atrocities committed by chinese in tibet.
    Today, there is a news item in indian express on 5 hindu sheperds killed by having their throats slit by terrorists. The express called these terrorists ‘militants’ although it’s a clear act of terrorism.

  16. NYT is still jst a newspaper, watch BBC or CNN which actually reaches a lot more people, they mostly use the term ‘gunmen’. This is pretty common in every foreign media outlet, i don’t think they are racist, but it seems like there is a built in racist bias, where anythin outside US or Europe can ever be deemed a terrorist attack outright unless it happens in Iraq against the americans or like the one in Bali which killed a lot many Australians.

  17. Forget the BBCs and CNNs. What about Commie owned NDTV which gets invitation to Dawood’s daughter’s wedding and aired “exclusive” snaps of the occassion.

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