Vocabulary is an integral part of English and if you want to master this subject, you need to have a great stock of words to use as and when required. It is the best thing to learn English from the contextual elements such as the newspapers, TV Serials in English or English news because that gives the idea regarding the application of words rather than stand-alone words and their meanings. Having understood that, we have come up with a series of articles where we shall learn new words from newspaper articles along with their meanings and applications so that you never forget what you learn.
Article: The Virtues of Due Process
In his 1637 treatise Discourse on the Method, René Descartes famously wrote: “I think, therefore I am.” If he were to live in today’s world where there is an information overload — mostly trivia and some malicious propaganda — he would have said: “I take a selfie, therefore I am.” Internet Live Stats, a website of the international Real Time Statistics Project, estimated that in 2016, every second approximately 6,000 tweets were put out, more than 40,000 Google queries were searched, and more than two million emails were sent. In this deluge, how do we navigate through the minefields of lies, spins, and partial truths?
The urgency to ask this question arises from the fact that I get all kinds of queries from readers, some of which conflate issues and divert attention from the idea of journalism as a public good. Last week, the Bengaluru Crime Branch arrested Mahesh Vikram Hegde, co-founder and editor of the right-wing propaganda website Postcard News, for spreading ‘fake news’ about Muslim youth attacking a Jain monk. Some wanted me to examine this case to see whether it violates the right of free expression.
Let me first introduce a few caveats. I have stopped using the term ‘fake news’ as it legitimises outright lies and manufactured hatred. Lies, propaganda, and partial truths cannot be linked with the word ‘news’. There are principles such as first-hand knowledge, verification, bearing witness, and accountability that govern the news flow. Hence, to give dignity to targeted bigotry with the suffix ‘news’ is to undermine common good. I agree with Claire Wardle of First Draft, which is now a part of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. She wrote: “Language and terminology matters, and for that reason the term ‘fake news’ should not be used to discuss this phenomenon. When describing the complexity of information disorder, it is woefully inadequate. Neither the words ‘fake’ nor ‘news’ effectively capture this polluted information ecosystem.” Her argument was that the term ‘fake news’ allows the debate to be framed as a textual problem, while it remains an ethical and social one. In the past few years, there has been an exponential growth in polarised websites and social media activism aimed at ruthless propaganda before elections. To invoke the idea of Article 19 to defend this act of criminality may undermine the idea of democracy itself.
It is in this environment that the legacy media is regaining its place as a credible information provider. Barring some partisan readers, a majority have started valuing the process of stringent gate-keeping that forms the bedrock of journalism. There is a discernible movement away from the constant blur of breaking news on television screens and social media platforms.
One of the most interesting innovations is a print magazine called Delayed Gratification. Many elements of this magazine have been a part of The Hindu’s weekend editions. Editors of Delayed Gratification want to re-establish the importance of slow journalism. “Like the other Slow movements, we take time to do things properly. Instead of desperately trying to beat Twitter to the punch, we return to the values we all want from journalism — context, analysis and expert opinion,” they argue.
They say that they cut through the noise by not following modern news production methods that are filled to the brim with reprinted press releases, knee-jerk punditry, advertorial nonsense, and churnalism. Instead, they prefer slow journalism as an antidote to menace: “Intelligent, curated, non-partisan news coverage designed to inspire and inform.”
Rob Orchard, one of the editors, feels that being one of the last to break news can inform readers in a way that the constant stream of 24x7 news updates cannot. One of the best things about a print edition is the virtue of finite space. Delayed Gratification puts it out succinctly: “We do not have infinite space to fill which means we don’t fall into 24/7 news traps: the speculation, conjecture and hot air. We’ve got just 120 pages every three months, so we make every one of them count.”
It is up to the readers to support journalism and not fleeting social media trends.
1. Woefully (adverb): Very badly or deplorably
Synonyms: acutely, grievously, extremely, severely
Antonyms: wonderfully, gleefully, easily
Sentence: The whole team played woefully in the whole match to gift it away to their opponents.
2. Succinctly (adverb): In a brief and clearly expressed manner.
Synonyms: shortly, briefly, summarily
Antonyms: Detailed, verbosely, permanently
Sentence: The Prime Minister very succinctly described the situation of the economy as being deplorable.
3. Conjecture (Noun): An opinion or conclusion based on incomplete information.
Synonyms: Surmise, fancy, notion, guess
Antonyms: Fact, truth, reality
Sentence: There were many conjectures about the new manager but he turned out to be even worse than all of that.
4. Menace (noun): A person or thing that may cause danger or harm
Synonyms: Danger, peril, risk, hazard, threat
Antonyms: certainty, surety, comfort
Sentence: The new government took a lot of measures just to eradicate the menace of polio from the state.
5. Ruthless (Adjective): having or showing no pity or compassion for others
Synonyms: harsh, pitiless, cruel, unsympathetic
Antonyms: Calm, civilized, compassionate
Sentence: Hitler was a ruthless dictator who did not encourage any kind of dissent against his rule.
6. Deluge (noun): A great quantity of something arriving at the same time
Synonyms: rush, barrage, inundation, flux
Antonyms: Stagnancy, stability, lack, deficiency
Sentence: There were a deluge of complaints against the new district magistrate within a month of taking charge.
7. Conflate (verb): combine two different sets of information into one
Synonyms: converge, amalgamate, consolidate
Antonyms: divide, cleave, part, dissolve
Sentence: The problem of the minority community in India conflates a lot of issues spanning over economic, social and financial needs.
8. Brim (noun): Be full of a particular quality of feeling
Synonyms: overflowing, lot, complete
Antonyms: lack, deficiency, incomplete
Sentence: The child was filled to the brim with joy because of the gifts that he got in his birthday.
9. Fleeting (adjective): lasting for a very short time
Synonyms: brief, transient, momentary, evanescent
Antonyms: Permanent, lasting, perpetual
Sentence: It was a fleeting moment of joy for the supporters since the Indian team ultimately lost the match despite giving their best in the final overs.
10. Malicious (adjective): characterized by malice, intended or intending to do harm to somebody
Synonyms: hostile, malevolent, baleful, vindictive
Antonyms: decent, forgiving, friendly
Sentence: The driver was found guilty of malicious damage by the accident of his car with the bus.
Direction (1-5): Answer the following questions as directed.
1. Which among the following is similar in meaning to the word ‘propaganda’ as used in the passage?
- None of the above
Solution: Option 1
Explanation: The given word refers to information that is based on biased information in order to promote some political view. Among the options, ‘disinformation’ means information that is not correct, ‘promotion’ means advertising something, ‘addendum’ means additional something whereas ‘doctrine’ means the opinion. Hence, option 1 is the right choice as the synonym of the given word among the given options.
2. Which among the following is similar in meaning to the word ‘exponential’ as used in the passage?
Solution: Option 2
Explanation: The given word refers to ascending or increasing trend. Among the given words, ‘want’ refers to lack of something whereas ‘augmented’ refers to increasing, ‘virtual’ means something that is not real, ‘genuine’ is being truthful and real and ‘artistic’ is about being skillful in something. This makes option 2 the right choice as the synonym of the given word among the given options.
3. Which among the following is opposite in meaning to the word ‘violate’ as used in the passage?
Solution: Option 3
Explanation: The word has been used in the passage in the sense that it goes against the rule or it disrupts something. Among the given options for opposites, ‘contravene’ and ‘disregard’ both refer to going against something whereas ‘abide’ means to obey something. ‘Assess’ means to test somebody or something and ‘assist’ is to help somebody. This makes option 3 the right choice among the given options.
4. Which among the following is similar in meaning to the word ‘accountability’ as used in the passage?
- None of the above
Solution: Option 3
Explanation: The given word has been used in the sense that there is liability. Among the given options, ‘encumbrance’ refers to an impediment or burden whereas ‘culpability’ is about the share of blame in something. ‘Liability’ refers to accountability and ‘worry’ refers to a concern. This makes option 3 the right choice among the given options.
5. Which among the following is similar in meaning to the word ‘bigotry’ as used in the passage?
- None of the above
Solution: Option 2
Explanation: The given word has been used in the sense that there has been targeted hatred and fanaticism among various classes because of the fake news. Among the given options, ‘discrimination’ is about differentiating people on the basis of something whereas ‘fantasy’ refers to dream and ‘unfairness’ is about being unjust about something. This makes option 2 the right choice among the given options.
Word of the Day
Dilatory (adjective): wasting time by delaying something without any reason
Synonyms: slow, lax, slack, sluggish
Antonyms: zealous, enthusiastic, diligent, eager
Sentence: The insurance company resorted to dilatory tactics by appointing another surveyor and investigator to assess the loss suffered by the insured in the fire in the factory.