Arnab Goswami poses a real danger to humanity and television news

The boast who squawks

Anuradha Raman
Ok, JNU. Take a candlelight march for Captain Pavan Kumar, who is also a degree holder from the university like all of you, if you are a nationalist. This is from you-know-who. And this is the litmus test for all you. I know you have taken a conscious decision of not watching this channel but guys, be warned. The nation is tuned to him. So, if you pass this test, you can go about greasing palms as you navigate life’s choices. You can be corrupt, you can rape and pilfer but you would have passed the test written for you by you-know-who. He is convinced you are a champagne-sipping seditionist and will break every rule of journalism to prove you are one.

He went missing in the short march organised by us journalists last week to protest attacks on us. But he was not far removed from the conversations that swirled around. Journalists questioned his heightened patriotism in wrapping the JNU protest by a handful of students in his now-patented trademark tri-colour. He pummelled the young Umer Khalid, a post-graduate student, on his channel 13 days ago, not pausing for a moment to listen to a young, intelligent man in a premier campus where dissent is celebrated, and where the idea of a nation may not conform to a flag-waving, chest-thumping hysterical rant.
I winced. If not in campuses, where? But you, Arnab, made it clear when you said you wouldn’t allow dissent on your watch or in the campuses funded by the taxpayer. What weird reasoning. Almost as though all those who didn’t pay taxes had the licence to have their say on your news hour. But then, reasoned debates are not what I expect from you. On Newshour, where you crown yourself the chief inquisitor, I hear noise and see theatrics with imaginary flames licking the sets — a hoary metaphor for the heat and fire generated by your howling participants.
When Khalid surfaced this week, after being driven underground by bloodthirsty sections of the media led by you and the cops, for “raising anti-India slogans”, he said he would not even name you. But I am not going to address you as he-who-shall-not-be-named, for that would invite a comparison with Voldemort that I do not think would be fair to him
By the way, Happy Birthday, Arnab. How can I forget it when you are constantly reminding me of the glorious milestone? Gosh. It is close to ten years since I have been waltzing around with the “nation-wants-to-know”, at times, feeling the rush of blood to my brain as it freezes over — very rarely walzing in step. Some times, a dull headache gives way to laughter as you set the agenda for the Nation. Does the Nation take you as seriously as you do yourself? I don’t know, but there have been moments when officials of the state have accepted your hectoring for gospel and settled the fate of millions in the country. I remember the way you raged over India’s Daughter, successfully censoring it for all us as you emerged the chief censor.
Often, my thoughts go out to your panellists. Is there a doctor checking their blood pressure before Newshour and after Newshour? Is your human resources lady at hand to soothe their nerves? Who are these people who willingly offer themselves to be battered on your show? What about those two non-state egg-headed actors from Pakistan so willingly allowing themselves to be pummelled on primetime? How much do you pay them for getting beaten up by you?
At 9 p.m., when the nation has had its dinner (I am excluding vast swathes of the rural and urban urban population who are dependent on the Food Security Act, for they are not your audience), but those who, as the clock strikes nine, turn into stone, riveted by your performance on the Newshour.
We are the leaders, you proclaim as I wonder where I have heard that line before (Oh yeah, Amazon’s Kindle advertisement has a similar ring to it). English news channels inhabit such a tiny world that the high decibel-level doesn’t quite warrant the space you occupy, but yes, the noise is required to get the audience glued to their television sets, so essential for advertisements. As per reports in public domain and quoted by some newspapers, English news accounts for 0.04 per cent of all time spent watching TV. And there has been a fierce battle on air between Times Now and India Today TV since last year. In the Rs. 2,000-crore news market, there is battle for the top position and you alone, declaredly, remain there.
So, there you are. A one-man musketeer, taking on the might of the nation. Or that’s what you would have me believe. That perfectly gelled hair, never out of place except for a stray lock that appears agitated on your forehead when you take on the anti-nationals and other moral villains. Those black-rimmed glasses, giving you a professorial look.

Source: Islamic News Daily

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