Message from Nigel Covington, Editor in Chief of National Report

nigel2

Nigel Covington, the Editor in Chief of National Report wrote

As Editor in Chief for the National Report I want the person who wrote this to know this is a brilliant piece of satire. I loved reading it, shared it and posted it for our writers to read. Satire in the US is more cut-throat then in other places but that is a cultural thing and there is an effort to create a symbol to post with a story to let the reader know they’re reading satire. I’m still trying to decide how such a symbol would work, it goes against the writer’s job to fool the reader. I understand from reading comments and chatting with a non-American friend that the content of the Assam story unfortunately dominated the message of the charity to help rape victims in India. I will always remember this for future reference and for stories. Whoever wrote this I wish we had writing for us.

Thank you for writing in Nigel. It is an admirable gesture no doubt. You may be right when you say that satire in US is more cut-throat than in a more conservative culture like India. Unarguably, America is a much more liberal country, the Westboro Baptist Church notwithstanding.

While regular readers to your site may have recognized the article as satire, new visitors obviously failed to realize that and it resulted in rather ugly allegations and comments made about India as well as our state, Assam. Rape is a serious problem in India at the moment and the country is at a loss to find a solution to this problem. We are ashamed of the fact that women, who are otherwise worshiped in our culture, have to live in fear.

Rape is a blot to our centuries old culture that celebrates the valor of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi and was also the land of the first female Muslim ruler of South Asia, Razia Sultana, of the Mamluk dynasty. Which is why when a American website like yours, points and laughs at our failings, we find it utterly distasteful. Add to that, the fact that most netizens tend to believe anything they read of social media and you have a whole bunch of people seething in outrage, one way or the other.

We make fun of our country too and we have a very popular satire blog, Faking News. However, no one dares to make fun of things like rape. While I have no right to tell you what to publish, I would request you to refrain from making satire out of such sensitive topics or at least put a disclaimer somewhere. If you really need to publish satire on India, you can always write about the current state of corruption in the country (heck many of our  corrupt ministers and bureaucrats make more money than your fortune 500 CEOs) or the fact that one of the two potential contenders for the role of Prime Minister is a complete loon and talks about escape velocity to illiterate villagers and considers poverty to be a state of mind (the other contender, while a skilled orator, is no saint either). I am sure then we too will laugh with you.

Also thank you for posting my fake news on your site. Here is the link for readers.

Despite my critique of Americans in that post, please understand that I have a deep respect for your culture. And I am sure most Indians would share my feelings. We look up to Americans and share similar values of democracy and freedom and the love of fast food.

To readers: Friends, I welcome your responses to Mr. Nigel Covington. However, lets be civil while we are at it. Also I am looking to post an article or two about Assam and it culture and beauty. If anyone can write something good, I will be happy to publish. Send in your writeups to dubyabush911[at]yahoo[dot]com

About the author:  Hi, I am Sandip Dev, a proud Assamese, and the author of this blog. I live/work in Bangalore but I belong to Guwahati in Assam (and Tezpur as well where I lived for 16 years). I am a alumni of IIM Ahmedabad (MBA) and NIT Surat (B.Tech). I like to eat, read, cook and ride my CBR. I also think that I am sexy and you know it (and it cannot be contested. Nope, nadda).

Here’s my twitter :https://twitter.com/devsandip
And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandip.dev

Advertisements

10 responses to “Message from Nigel Covington, Editor in Chief of National Report”

  1. kasie kinzler says :

    Hello all!

    I’m an American from North Dakota.

    A couple of things I wanted to comment on after following this story.

    1. Most of us Americans, who understand satire, read the original National Report article about Assam and realized that it was fake. Unfortunately, I can’t say everyone understood that it was meant to be humorous. Websites like “The Onion” are globally known as satire, but many smaller companies can confuse a lot of people and maybe there should be some sort of warning on the site that the story is fake.
    I know that after I read the original article, it in no way tarnished my view of India. In fact, I still would very much love to visit someday!

    2. After reading your response, I took no offense and found it really amusing. It’s good to laugh about some of your nation’s problems sometimes.

    3. I was born and raised a farm girl. I go hunting, i’ve taken gun safety courses, and would like to own a gun someday. That being said, I believe we do have a gun issue. It’s sad that at least once a week there has to be something in the news about shootings.. but what should we do about that..
    You can’t take everyone’s guns away. It’s just not going to work. Drugs are illegal too, but people still get their hands on them. But doing nothing won’t help either.
    I believe background checks and mandatory gun safety courses should be done before one can purchase their own gun. This won’t solve everything, but it’s a start.

    4. I’m sorry to all those offended and hope that you don’t hold this act of a few against the whole country. I believe the “National Report” wasn’t acting in malice and didn’t mean to offend. Their intention is to make light of serious issues around the world in order to get us through our days.

    5. I am genuinely interested in how other cultures percieve America so reading your comments was enlightening and I encourage responses to mine. 🙂

    I know I posted this as a response to the “Great American Mass Shooting” article earlier, but the more people it reaches for discussion, the better!

    Phir milenge

    Kasie 🙂

    • dubyabush911 says :

      1. Exactly, this wasnt a very popular site. So people didnt realize it was satire, particularly those who are not Indians

      2. Nice to know you have a sense of humor. However, I had second thoughts about mentioning Sandy Hook, as it was a really sad event.

      3. Yes, I understand that many Americans cherish their guns and not everyone who keeps a gun is a potential mass murderer. As someone who doesnt like guns (and my father, a Customs officer, had surrendered his service revolver on the very first day of work) I find such extensive gun ownership slightly alarming.

      4.You dont have to apologize. It is that particular site we have an issue with, not all Americans

      5. Most of the comments here of people who are angry. They very likely do not have such extreme views about America when they are calm.

      May be we will catch up when I visit your country. Also you are welcome to visit mine. If you visit Assam, I shall be happy to be your tour guide

      • johndpilgrim says :

        Sadly, I cannot be as charitable.. first, those guys are not taking the story off inspite of all the brouhaha. Second, if you go through the comments there, you will see that whilst the majority of people have been bashing India, rarely has a hand been put up by an American to say ‘hey, stop this nonsense!’ Third, the ‘admirable gesture’ by Nigel is unabashedly unapologetic about the article ~ not once does he pause to say the word ‘sorry’. Let’s stop being Indians for a while, Dubya ~ we pussyfoot around issues a bit too much. Nothing stops the Indian Government to send a strong message through diplomatic channels, but being Indians we would prefer rather to skirt around the issue, wouldn’t we??!!

        • dubyabush911 says :

          I dont think the Indian govt needs to get involved. However i do think their moderation was biased to suppressing comments which pointed out that it was fake.

          Yes Nigel never apologizes and frankly i expected that even before i wrote the “mass shooting” post. Considering they run a satire site they obviously dont want to set a precedent by apologizing because this certainly wont be the first time they have offended a section of people.

          But no one here is skirting around the issue. In fact i approached it head on.

      • johndpilgrim says :

        So let’s call a spade a spade or in this case, Americans as Americans. I am usually not into racial profiling but let’s face it, not much respect can be had for the people of a country that is so grossly insensitive and ignorant by choice ~ these are people of a developed country, mind you, people who have everything going for them! Sorry about the generalisation, but these are the facts… incidentally, the rape fest article should have targeted The U S of A first, given that 25% of American women get raped or almost raped by the time they are 14!

        • dubyabush911 says :

          Well dude lets not generalize. I dont think all Americans think bad about us, i have worked and studied with quite a few. I wont even say national report guys are racist, insensitive and opportunistic yes, but may be not racist.

      • kasie kinzler says :

        I’m glad you understand where I am coming from. 🙂

        Sadly, all we, here in the states, hear about India is all of the media coverage on the rape incidents. This is how the media works. You only hear the bad news about otherwise beautiful and kind countries.

        Extensive gun ownership is very alarming. Especially when one is talking about hand guns and high-powered guns. My dad owns around 5 rifles. He is a great guy, a hard-working farmer, and a hunter. If he had to take a background check and safety courses, he would still be able to have these guns.

        It’s disheartening to hear generalizations being made about Americans. I’m sure many uninformed Americans make generalization about other countries and groups of people. In fact, I know they do. Every country, culture, or religion has good people and bad people so I try not to judge a group based on the actions of few.

        America has many changes that need to be made as well. Johndpilgrim was right to point out the fact that we have problems here with rape as well. One out of 6 women in the country report having suffered a complete or attempted rape. We have a long ways to go for gay rights, women’s rights, and figuring out our government and money issues.

        I think your assesment of the issue was correct. Satire sites don’t generally worrying about hurting people. Their regular audience has a thick skin. It’s the people who didn’t realize it was a joke who blew it out of proportion. Then the article made its way to you guys and offended many people. For the original posters to apologize, would change their whole business process. They can’t apologize to everyone they offend. They would never be able to catch their breath.

        Most of us here are not insensitive or ignorant. There are those people here, just like there are those people in India as well.

        Kasie

  2. Harsha says :

    Hey Dubya..I have a Blog on NE India–Visit NE India–http://visitneindia.wordpress.com/ and also written about NE Tourism in my other bog–http://allresourceupdates .wordpress.com
    Have a Look at them.. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: