A Hindu American professor, Prof. Geeta, shares her distressing experience with the Los Angeles Times when she flagged the biased anti-Hindu coverage of the recent rebuilding and consecration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, India.

A prestigious and popular paper, the “Los Angeles Times” denies the space for views from minority Hindu Americans. The misinformation, bias, and half-truths published by the Times on important historical topics such as the rebuilding and consecration of the Shri Ram Mandir, in Ayodhya, India might help the agendas of some vested groups.  Not allocating a voice for Op-Eds and rebuttals to balance all perspectives, its false anti-Hindu narratives continue to go unchallenged. We have been trying repeatedly to have our Hindu voices heard over the past several years.  Who are we? We are the American Hindus!  Our voices have been silenced by the Times. The Times has thrown our most urgent issues under the bus! Make no mistake!

To underscore, the Times is having a collateral impact on the safety of our minority Hindu American community. It has placed Hindu American lives in harm’s way by normalizing anti-Hindu hate through its Hinduphobia articles. Six Hindu places of worship (Mandirs) have been vandalized over the past six weeks in California. 

The Los Angeles Times owner Mr. Patrick Soon-Shiong recently shared his newspaper’s mission as “a thriving pillar of democracy.”  This reader’s experience unfortunately is contrary to the mission of the Times as shared by Mr. Soon-shiong. We Hindus ask Mr. Soon-Shiong……“Why is a legitimate space for the concerns of Hindu minority voices not been allocated by the Times?”  

Therefore, I am going public with my conversations with the Times to demonstrate how biased this media outlet has been. And why is the LA Times refusing to listen to the voice of Hindus?  With its refusal to give an opportunity to the Hindus to respond to unfair charges, the Times has not only denied Hindus the right to present their views but also damaged the democratic fabric of the United States by making the ‘free press’ into a mockery. It is hurting the reputation of the LA Times and also causing its vulnerable minorities to lose faith in the “press.”

Importantly, Hindus are being gaslighted because of the media’s overt and covert misrepresentation of Hindu history, beliefs, and identity. India is singled out for abuse and mockery while undemocratic and autocratic countries are praised to the Heavens. This Hindu-bashing has been ongoing despite the well-respected new Pew Research Center report “Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation” which found all minorities in India feel safe, are free to practice their religion, and have been having cordial relations with the Hindus. No mainstream media has cited this study since it was published in 2021. The media choosing not to cite this study is Hinduphobia, it must be condemned — and condemned unequivocally and without context.

Exhibits 1-12, show my correspondence with the LA Times during my multiple attempts to stop its perpetuation of Hinduphobia.  

Background: On January 22nd, 2024, Hindu communities around the world rejoiced at the rebuilding and consecration of the Shri Ram Mandir (Hindu temple) in Ayodhya, India. Amidst these celebrations, the LA Times along with several media outlets published misleading and factually incorrect reports about the restoration of the Ram Mandir. They neglected to tell the truth that the Mosque was built by Islamic invaders at the location of a large Ram Mandir, after demolishing it, five hundred years ago. Its consecration was a restoration of historical justice to Hindus, ordained by the Supreme Court of India in 2019, in a unanimous verdict. https://www.hinduamerican.org/issues/ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-faq

Below I have shared my email communications with the LA Times. 

Exhibits 1-12……

Exhibit 1

———- Forwarded message ———
To: letters@latimes.com <letters@latimes.com>

From: Geeta
Date: Sat, Jan 20, 2024 at 9:22 AM
Subject: Re Response to LA Times “Grand temple promised by Modi to open before election” Page A2 by Sheikh Saliq and Biswajeet Banerjee January 19th 2024

Dear Editor

Regarding the LA Times article “Grand temple promised by Modi to open before election” Page A2 by Sheikh Saliq and Biswajeet Banerjee January 19th 2024.

This article illustrates the failure of the media, by allowing the intellectual poison against Hindus to go unchecked. The authors failed to point out that archaeological evidence shows a Hindu Mandir (temple) existed in Ayodhya prior to the mosque since the 2nd millennium, dating back to the 12th century   https://www.hinduamerican.org/issues/ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-faq

Destroyed by Muslims in the sixteenth century, its foundation was used to erect the Mosque. Thus, the site was disputed by Hindus and Muslims for the last 500 years. In 2019 the Indian Supreme Court verdict allowed the Hindus to “rebuild” their temple and set aside five acres nearby for the Muslims to build the largest mosque in India. _Ayodhya_Revisited2016xv-33/  https://www.hinduamerican.org/issues/ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-faq

Cultivated ignorance must stop, defined as deliberately projecting Hindus as “Oppressors” while subverting the findings from respected organizations like the Pew Research Center “Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation” which showed all minorities in India feel free to practice their religion. 

Geeta

Exhibit 2

I wrote to “John” below, a manager, at the Los Angeles Times. I wrote…..

January 20th 2024

Dear John

Please see my response to the LA Times above. I am appalled that the LA Times continues to dump anti-Hindu sewage on its readers like projecting Hindus as “oppressors” due to cultivated ignorance by these authors. This Hindu-bashing goes on despite the well-respected new Pew Research Center report on “Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation” findings showing all minorities in India feel free to practice their religion. 

I look forward to hearing from you. Could we have a follow up meeting?

Geeta

 Exhibit 3

Response from John

On January 22nd 2024, John wrote to Geeta

Hi Geeta, this is an Associated Press story, not one of ours, but I appreciate your writing.

Exhibit 4

On January 22nd Geeta wrote

John, thank you for your response regarding my complaint about the false Hinduphobia article “Grand temple promised by Modi to open before election,” Los Angeles Times, January 19th 2024.  

Your response, “This is an Associated Press story, not one of ours.” I am disappointed. I see a total lack of ownership by the Times. Please know, these Hinduphobia articles are having a detrimental impact on my Hindu community.  Sadly, six Hindu temples (Mandirs) have been vandalized (hate crimes) in Northern California over the last four weeks.

– 

Below are my comments to John at LA times

1. Why would the Times publish stories from another platform (AP) without fact checking for accuracy? Clearly, there is a lack of ownership by the Times.

2. We met with you and the Times staff (virtual) on October 11th 2023. We agreed, the Times would reach out to the :Hindu Americans for Hindu resources/authors/scholars.  Yet, the Times irresponsibly chose to publish the above anti-Hindu hate article from AP on January 19th 2024.  

3. On September 2nd 2023, the Times published a hinduphobia comic that made a mockery of a Hindu Goddess. The Times’ response to our complaint was, “Cartoonists are contractors, not employees.” Again, a lack of ownership by the Times. 

4. A track record of 33 hinduphobia articles were published by the Times over the past three years (2019-2024). I submitted my responses to each article at letters@latimes.com. Unfortunately, my 33 letters were never published. This suggests the LA Times articles were written by agenda driven activists disguised as journalists.

John, together, we must prevent the publication of false narratives that perpetuate hinduphobia. Let us work together like a team to fight Hinduphobia. I look forward to our continued conversation. 

Best wishes

Geeta

 Exhibit 5

Another community member, S., was copied in my emails with John at the LA Times

S. wrote:

January 22nd 2024

Hi John, 

Thanks. Here’s a resource we distributed to reporters we’re in communication with. I think it’s worth a read to better understand why the Associated Press story has irked so many Hindu Americans. 

https://www.hinduamerican.org/issues/ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-faq

Are Associated Press stories carried by the LA Times reviewed? If so, perhaps we can revisit the training we discussed so that LAT staff are better able to sort through articles that contain glaring omissions and errors.

I’ve included our communications director, M., for that training.

Best,

S.

 Exhibit 6

John’s response to S.

January 22nd 2024

Yes, they are reviewed but our employees were on strike the day this was published so it’s possible it did not get the usual level of scrutiny.

Exhibit 7

January 22nd S.wrote to John:  

 Got it. Can we revisit the conversation about training? When can we aim for? February or March? 

Exhibit 8

January 24th, John’s response 

Hi, we are experiencing a large layoff today. Let me get back to you when I can make longer-term commitments. 

Exhibit 9 

My rejoinder to John is outlined below. I shared the entire history of my communications with the LA Times over the past 3 years. 

I looped in Scott Kraft, a Senior Manager at the LA Times

January 24th, 2024, Geeta wrote:

Hi John and everyone

Regarding the Times article “Another Executive exits amid turmoil at LA Times,” 1-23-2024 by Meg James. 

John: Sara Yasin, Managing Editor LA Times (Palestinian-American journalist) has resigned. 

In view of the essential role an independent press plays in a democracy, I want to share the biased interactions from Sara Yasin’s against our Hindu-American community. Here we go….

1. Two years ago, I reached out to the LA Times, when my Hindu community was terribly upset (and still is), because a plethora of anti-hindu articles (false narratives) had been published by the LA Times. 

2. I requested the Times to meet with us (Hindu Community leaders). 

3. Scott Kraft (copied) responded and scheduled a virtual meeting with us. However, Sara Yasin REFUSED to meet.  She canceled the meeting. Scott Kraft is aware. Does it not behoove the Times to conduct an investigation regarding: 1) Was Sara Yasin, Editor of Times Editorial Pages  a biased anti-Hindu hater? 2) Could the thirty anti-hindu hate articles with false narratives published by the Times be attributed to her anti-Hindu biases? 

4. To correct the false narratives, I submitted thirty or more responses to letters@latimes. Not even one response was published. 

5. Could the LA Times ensure that the next Managing Editor does not hold anti-hindu biases? 

6. Could the LA Times arrange Hinduphobia sensitivity training ASAP for its journalists and staff? . 

I look forward to our continued conversation.

Best wishes

Geeta

Exhibit 10

January 24th 2024 John wrote to Geeta

Thank you, Geeta. I am not able to address these topics but when we name a managing editor I’ll see if they would like to meet. That person would outrank me.

Exhibit 11

January 24th, 2024 Geeta responded by reaching out to Scott Kraft, a senior manager.

Thank you John, for your prompt response letting me know that you are unable to address the topics/queries in my email below.  

Scott: Could you address them? 

Thanks in advance.

Geeta

Exhibit 12

As of January 29th, 8.50 am PST, at the time of submission, there has been no response from Scott Kraft at LA Times.

It behooves the Times to:

1.      Stop perpetuating Hinduphobia attributed to its anti-Hindu biases embedded in its DNA?

2.       Invite promptly to provide Hinduphobia sensitivity training to its columnists,  journalists and staff?

3.      Evaluate its biased political leanings that have led to its anti-Hindu biases? How can media outlets with biased political leanings serve as pillars of democracy?

4.      Evaluate whether the Charitable Foundations funding the Times have a role to play in propagating Hinduphobia?  Are they anti-Hindu hate activists in disguise?

Instances of overt anti-Hindu hatred by some Western media are rampant. Examples are the @LAtimes, @NewYorktimes, @WaPost @CNN among others. 

While the Times’ work on Islamophobia may be laudable, we Hindus are frustrated at what we see as the second-class treatment of Hindus by the media. Perpetuating Hinduphobia with false narratives and silencing our Hindu Voices must stop NOW. 

The LA Times stands at a crossroads. It has selected new leadership with Mr. Hector Becerra, Managing Editor at its helm. Questions remain.

  • Will the Times take the lead by working shoulder to shoulder with our Hindu community by giving us a voice in its Op-Ed pages and a space for our rebuttals?  
  • Will the Times prevent or propagate Hinduphobia?  
  • Will the Times welcome our proposal from last year to provide “Hinduphobia sensitivity training” to its columnists and editorial staff?  

It is now up to the Times to step into becoming a thriving pillar of democracy by lending its voice to Hindu Americans. It is explicitly harming the reputation of the LA Times and also causing its vulnerable minorities to lose faith in the “press.” And putting Hindu American lives in danger. 

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