OPINION

Monthly Archives: NOVEMBER 2016


Arnab Goswami: Best-selling Item Number & Dada Kondke of Indian Journalism
04.11.16 - Harcharan Bains
Arnab Goswami: Best-selling Item Number & Dada Kondke of Indian Journalism



Intelligent man that you are, Mr Goswami, I only hope that at least you know that what you are doing here in the given 20 minutes is no different from what you do on your channel: delivering a soliloquy of lies. But here, there is this justification that it is officially a soliloquy and there is no pretense of any participation by "guests" who are never allowed to speak on your programs. Anyway, except to say "We agree with you Arnab."

The other lie which you as an intelligent man would know you are telling is that media was unprofessional and spineless before you stormed the scene with your high decibel soliloquies. The only thing that it was not and has become now to some extent (thanks to your presence) is brazenly abusive and derogatory without being any more courageous and committed than before. There was a time when we thought even Arun Shourie a "sensationalist" when he took up for one of the conspirators in Mrs Indira Gandhi assassination case -Kehar Singh - in a two-part assault, based on painstaking research, on the government of India. Shourie loved the pulpit and his voice from it as much as you do yours but at least he backed his soliloquies with well researched truth.

To paint yourself as a disruptionist, ( I think what you mean is a subversive , in the manner of teachers of Postman and Weinberg's teachers in his famous book) you have picked on some of the worst instances of journalism - like an editor asking the PM what he had to say about Tendulkar after the latter had scored some century - from the other type of journalism and compared it with your best. And the slip is showing! I would have loved to see your comparing your best with the best of those whom you love to ridicule. But you conform to the well known market strategy: ridicule your competition when you can't outperform them.

I would grant quite happily that you are the best selling item number in Indian journalism. You sell as hot as Dada Kondke. Kondke also disrupted the mainstream, entertained a certain kind of crowd, called himself a revolutionary and a realist (he said his characters behave as common Indians do) and he sold big - as you do.

As an intelligent person, you would also have noticed that the best parts of your speech are those where you are not talking either about yourself or about your competition but only about news. The best part of your speech is about taking news away from Delhi. That made sense, though up to now your own news-hour has been as much Delhi dominated as any other channel.

You would have carried a lot more credibility as a disruptionist if you had begun and ended with an answer to just one question which you have been asked in the past too: Do you think you were a journalist or a 'player' when you interviewed Mr Narendra Modi during the election campaign? I have never heard you responding to that simple query with any degree of conviction.

As a disruptionist, how often have you done stories to question our country's handling of the Kashmir issue? As a true journalist, is it not a part of your disruption to question the manner in which we are dealing with the Kashmiris. You could at least have thrown some fresh light on the ground reality - at least to challenge the Pakistani narrative on the issue. You had to do it not by out-hating the hateful fanatics in that country as distinct from their common man but by sticking to facts. Why haven't you done it so far? Is that not news? Is it not far enough from Delhi? No one would have admired you more than I would if you had given me some great reasons for my country to feel vindicated on that issue. And it is not as if this was not doable. But then, to achieve this, you would have to bring forth aspects which you perhaps don't want to bring. Did you have to rely on the shoulders of our laeders to get a narrative against their deeds in Kashmir? If not, why haven't you exposed them and their policies so far? Do you look at yourself bigger as a journalist or as a nationalist while handling news from Kashmir? If your answer is that you are a nationalist first and a journalist only after that I am with you. But that is not my idea of disruption in news.

You could also have told us how in your opinion your role during the surgical strikes was not similar to that of a member of a Hindu Shiv Sena or some other party of this character? Did you allow us to at least have a look at what the "other point of view" was - other than the one which you loved to ram down into our ears?

I believe you are great though not so intelligent an Indian nationalist and in that capacity I not only admire and respect you but even love you, because I count myself too among the patriots and Indian nationalists while I am talking about my country's interests. In this, I will place you far above me because I certainly question some of the things in our definition of nationalism as quite unacceptable.

I believe that the accident of your being an Indian is a huge blessing for the country. But it would have been an equally huge asset for Pakistan had you been born there. You do not allow intelligence, fairness or objectivity to interfere with your passionate and fanatical jingoism. In fact you would fit the Pakistan's definition of a nationalist far more than that of a sane nationalist from some other part of the world. Now, you come off as an unthinking crusader. And you are nothing if not a Jehadi - the greatest outside the Islmaic world and non-Islamic causes. Would you ever dare to dig out stories from any part of the country if these stories went against your own version of our national interests - especially on the security aspect? 

You already know that I love and admire you way beyond what you are willing to allow yourself to believe. I truly do. You are sharp, you are brilliant and you are a crusading fanatic (I don't mean communal, of course, but fanatic you are, and not on the side of truth and justice always. You can easily out-talk any sane Indian and overshadow your co-professionals in raising noise through personal attacks.

In all this, you have no peers. And I love your skills and your sharp intelligence, but that intelligence is focused and biased against any view of reality other than your own.

I will not make an issue out of your not honouring your own promise of being able to say your thing in 20 minutes. To do that requires a skill different from rabble rousing and shouting. Unfortunately, you don't have that skill, because that will deprive you of the greatest pleasure of your life: listening to your own voice as long as you can go on.

But you are peerless in your tribe and there is no match to your skills in your chosen field. But your tribe is not journalists; it is entertainers. And your field is not news: it is entertainment through news-abuse. And this comes at a huge cost of killing all that goes by the name of genuine and unbiased news. I think even you will not accuse yourself of being unbiased and fair.

Despite all this, you are irresistible and your charm is so infectious that even your enemies cannot help being floored by the rare sight of a well meaning, pure smile without malice.




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