You must have heard about yellow journalism, wrong reporting and lack of fact-checking in the field of media, but hardly any of this is expected from an honourable publication such as New York Times.
But they proved us horribly wrong with their reporting of Tanmay Bhat’s Sachin-Lata video row.
Recently, in a double bylined story by two Indian researchers, the publication described Lata Mangeshkar – India’s legendary singer and a Bharat Ratna awardee – as ‘a so-called playback singer for Bollywood films whose career dates to the 1940s‘.
The report was about the controversy and how political parties and police got involved in a case of Snapchat video.
But whether it was arrogance or stupidity or lack of research on the part of the US publication is a tough judgement to make sitting miles away from their newsroom.
No wonder Twitter was outraged:
The bad thing about being busy in work is that you miss out on world-class comedy like @nytimes calling Lata Mangeshkar “so called singer” !— Akhilesh Mishra (@amishra77) May 31, 2016
How u can call an Asian Legendary singer Lata Ji a ‘so called singer’ is disgusting!PS:Hire journalists with class! https://t.co/T4J6iruEAO— Y⭕️ Se سلطان (@SalluLicious) June 1, 2016
A so called newspaper calls Lata Mangeshkar a ‘so called singer’ and reveals its ignorance.. Seriously ignorant— Sunanda Vashisht (@sunandavashisht) May 31, 2016
Journalists at New York Times offered an explanation
Ellen Barry, whose Twitter profile says he is South Asia bureau chief for The New York Times, said the term was used for non-Indians
A note on “so-called”: Used here for non-Indian readers unfamiliar w term “playback singer.” In no way a commentary. https://t.co/hEYttcd3za— Ellen Barry (@EllenBarryNYT) May 31, 2016
The co-author of the story in question, Suhasini Raj, also tried to justify…
‘So called’ to mean ‘what is known as’ https://t.co/wCV7YZTqAX— suhasini raj (@suhasiniraj) May 31, 2016
…But Indians are clearly not buying it
.@EllenBarryNYT if u article on Prince in Indian papers, should v mention “so called pop singer” as many not familiar with term here?— sheetal (@sheetal_here) May 31, 2016