Nation confused. Arnab Goswami attacking his own kind of journalism

He should be the last person to take a moral high ground on journalism.

 |  3-minute read |   10-01-2017
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Arnab Goswami wants to save Indian journalism "from the influence of Lutyens’ Delhi". But who will save people from Goswami or the sad brand of journalism he has unleashed on us based on a decade of shouting, screaming and browbeating people into submission.

The former Times Now anchor, who has already announced the launch of his media channel — Republic — on Twitter and Facebook, was recently rallying support for his channel at the Under 25 Summit in Bengaluru. Addressing a packed house, Goswami said this (his Republic) is the launch of a new “movement”.

"Take journalism outside Delhi, take it to Pune, to Guwahati, to Bengaluru, to Mumbai but the national capital. They are so compromised, so co-opted they have no right to represent the people,” he said.

In a recent interview to ScoopWhoop, the anchor declared a war on "big" media houses with his "movement". Goswami said if amplification of stories is a crime then he disagrees with those who bring in the definition of what is right and wrong. But what about the amplification of noise and outrage combined with formula-based patriotism? For Goswami, everyone who disagrees with him is either corrupt or an anti-national.

While the ever-bellicose Goswami has often been criticised for selling jingoism to news audience (and the people, sadly, buying it) there is a serious problem with his brand of live-from-the-TV-studio journalism. Simply put, it's nothing but armchair journalism. Impartiality, fairness, accuracy, objectivity and public accountability — Goswami's brand of journalism is an antithesis of all these tenets of journalism.

Many who have worked with him in the past have also criticised him for creating an image for himself as an editor who openly takes sides. In Goswami's TV studio, there is "no room for the traditional view that gives the audience both sides of a story and allows it to deduce".

He should be the last person to take a moral high ground. Unlike his TV debates, Goswami can't get away with calling the entire media "Lutyenised". While one cannot completely disagree with him when he said that some part of the media has become corporatised, Goswami has no right to talk about "over-centralisation of Indian media in New Delhi".

In the recent past, many media houses have shut down their regional centres outside Delhi in favour of centralised news desks and bureax. Notwithstanding the fact that many lost their jobs, no one can deny that such decisions were a result of the kind of journalism that Goswami practices. When TV anchors can churn out instant news from their studios, there is no room for on-the-ground reporting. And it's because of pop anchors like Goswami that news has been replaced with studio discussions laced with high-pitched drama and caustic debating, not to mention personal attacks and taking sides. 

It's time the high priest of journalism stops preaching. We have had enough.


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