NYT faces Indian backlash after calling terrorist bombing ‘explosion’ in tweet
The US paper of record attracted a wave of outrage from India after calling a suicide bomb attack “an explosion,” and misspelling the name of the country’s prime minister.
What could possibly go wrong when you try to explain the intricacies of the political situation in the world’s largest democracy to your American readers? The New York Times managed to find a way to botch the job with one tone-deaf tweet on Monday.
The New York Times believes that ‘terrorist attack’ or ‘suicide bombing’ at Pulwama in Kashmir was merely an ‘explosion’. Was 9/11 just an odd ‘plane crash’? Deleting the tweet won’t help. Have you apologised to Indians from Kashmir to Kanyakumari? @firstname.lastname@example.org/EiAfGq8xWh— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) March 12, 2019
Linking to the analytical article, the tweet read: “After an explosion in Kashmir and weeks of brinkmanship with Pakistan, many Indians are rallying behind Prime Minister Narandra Modi as elections approach.”
Not only did it spell the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrong. The “explosion” in question was the February suicide bombing, which killed 40 Indian security troops in the region of Kashmir, which is contested by India and Pakistan. The description of the attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), naturally landed badly with quite a few Indians.
The use of the term "explosion" as if it was a gas pipe and not a suicide bomber who caused the loss of so many Indian lives shows the contempt @nytimes holds for Indian lives. Shameful.— Advaita Kala / अद्वैता काला (@AdvaitaKala) March 12, 2019
NYT must be running out of experienced journalists and or perhaps the editors are sleeping on their job. It's appalling.https://t.co/Baer2GBNFH— ravi varmman (@ravivarmman) March 12, 2019
Some wondered if it was now OK to call terrorist attacks targeting Americans in a similarly dismissive way.
“An explosion”, I Guess going by NYT’s lexicon the twin towers fell due to a “mishap”. American media outlets have lost the plot when it comes to reporting in the sub continent. https://t.co/Tt3eEZC8Ep— ishaan prakash (@ishaan_ANI) March 11, 2019
When 50 soldiers are killed in Afghanistan, it rightly says ‘large scale attack’.But when 40 soldiers are killed in #Pulwama ,India, it’s just an ‘explosion’.Why @nytimesworld@nytimes ? Why such biasnes? pic.twitter.com/kSXJQkbnCw— Velociraptor 🇮🇳 (@raptorsworld) March 12, 2019
Others implied that the slip-up exposed racism, suggesting that only deaths of white people mattered to Americans in the grand scheme of things.
So the 9-11 terror attacks were just an “explosion?” More racist colonial garbage again from the @nytimes that devalues the lives of non-Western people. Shame on you.— Hindu Americans (@HinduAmericans) March 12, 2019
The wording puzzled even some experienced diplomats, like Pakistan's former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, who asked if the newspaper thought ‘beheading’ and ‘loss of a human head’ were equivalent terms.
The newspaper’s main Twitter account has since deleted the post, replacing it with a new one, in which the bombing is described as a “militant attack.” But @nytimesworld apparently believes that only the misspelled name was worth a correction.
After an explosion in Kashmir and weeks of brinkmanship with Pakistan, many Indians are rallying behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi as elections approach [corrects typo] https://t.co/ZoWN6fUcnt— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) March 12, 2019
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