The posh media today is neither independent nor particularly critical.
Background: In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court of India observed that so-called honour killings were a slur on the modern Indian nation. The judgement itself was worrying in that it appeared to validate extra-judicial confessions, extended the meaning of certain common words, and displayed a shocking lack of logic and ignorance of the demarcation of power between the legislature and the judiciary (More at http://promotingfreedom.blogspot.com/2011/05/death-penalty-judicial-response-to.html).
The Washington Post ran the story too, on the very next day, i.e. 10 May 2011, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/indias-top-court-recommends-death-penalty-for-honor-killings/2011/05/10/AFRk2IeG_story.html).
The story is attributed to the Associated Press; authorship is anonymous.
But surely, a watchful editor at the Washington Post would have been concerned with this statement:
> "While there are no official figures, an independent study found around 900 people were killed each year in India for defying their elders."
A study by whom? Surely, we don't accept the quoting of statistics without provenance?
Does the figure include teenagers who drive their parents' car in spite of being told not to ("wait till you're 18 and have a license" and all that sort of thing), and get killed in an automobile accident? The language employed, "killed for defying their elders", does not exclude this and other similar cases.
The Telegraph, whilst referring to a separate "honour" killing incident (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/8515426/India-mothers-accused-in-honour-killing-of-two-brides.html), five days later wrote:
> "While there are no official figures, an independent study found around 900 people are killed each year in India for defying their elders."
This is exactly the same sentence published by the Washington Post. There is no attribution to the Associated Press. Nor is here the provenance of the study disclosed.
And so a dubious (in that it is too general, and unattributed) claim becomes reinforced, and acquires the attribute of being independently verified.
It would be hard to fault a post-graduate student in France from using this statement in an academic work, given that there are two easily-accessible, apparently independent sources - one in the UK, one in the USA. The academic paper would be cited by an official responsible for policy, or by a politician back in India responsible for legislation.
And so yet another truth of our modern information age is created.