When the 'fight against Arnab’s tyranny' morphed into another Newshour

The writer is a TV journalist and wishes to remain anonymous.

 |  3-minute read |   30-07-2016
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Who would have thought? The media, TV anchors to be more specific, are now important enough, to merit a full-fledged raging, "ideological" debate that has consumed the country.

Chalo, I will live with that. But what is amusing, is the hypocrisy of this debate.

First, the caveat. This is in no way an endorsement of what Arnab Goswami says, or asks for. The limited point is that the outrage against him, takes exactly the same trajectory, uses exactly the same devices, that Arnab does each night. And which earns him a lot of hate.

Sample 1: To confront people, and demand that they take a stand.

Once unaffiliated people land up on "The Newshour", they have nowhere to run or hide. It’s always, A and B vs C and D. A and B "support Burhan encounter", C and D "call it extra-judicial killing".


Likewise, l’affaire Arnab and Barkha.


Also read: Barkha Dutt rips apart Arnab Goswami in an FB post

To drive people into a corner, and practically harangue them into taking a side, is unfair, and borderline bullying. It helps also, when you have a number of like-minded people online, also backing you up in this campaign.

Anyone who just wants to take his time to join the debate, or not take a stand at all, is branded as cowardly or disingenuous.

Sample 2: Boil the debate down to binaries.

Isn’t this the "you’re either with us or against us" mechanism, used by Arnab as a template for his debates, that most people find unacceptable?

What happened to nuance in a debate?

barkhabd_073016122822.jpg Barkha Dutt has even asked a prominent columnist, 'what could possibly be the other side of this debate?'

In fact, in the exchanges we see online, Dutt has even asked a prominent columnist, "what could possibly be the other side of this debate?"

Well, the other side could be, that while a third person doesn’t subscribe to the language used by Goswami, he/she could agree with him to the extent that Dutt’s reportage has seemed lop-sided/biased/even unfair to him/her. (This, again, is only to give an example.)

Sample 3: Look down and ridicule any opposing point of view.

Goswami has a habit of deciding the outcome of a debate beforehand. It’s not really a debate at all, in fact. The right answer is pre-decided, and all participants have the option of agreeing, or be ridiculed as corrupt/misguided/anti-national/liars.

So, in the narrative around the present debate runs thus: Who is Goswami to tell us what our opinion should be? He’s a boorish, "ignorant" man at best. And the "government’s rottweiler" at worst.

Also read: The anti-national’s guide to Indian nationalists

Don’t miss either the snide, "we reported XYZ side of the story from the ground, not from behind the table of his A/C studio".

Now, while Dutt’s wide repertoire of reporting is well-respected, Goswami also deserves credit for re-inventing his channel almost single-handedly "from behind his table in his A/C studio".

The people who have railed against Arnab’s use of strong language have not shied away from calling him "a threat to national security", and "a dirty troll".

Not to mention the fact, that Dutt has even gone on to tell fellow anchors who took up this issue on air that they "haven’t framed the debate correctly", or "are asking the wrong questions".

To sum up, no one is above board in this "debate". There are problems on both sides.

And everyone has the right to NOT TAKE A BLOODY SIDE IF THEY DON’T WANT TO.

So when you want to "take down" Arnab Goswami, you will do well to not sound like Arnab minus the spectacles... Burning questions and all.


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