Mediaah!: What’s not right with Arnab Goswami

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

Many months back, even ahead of the November 26 terror strike in Mumbai which transformed the English news television landscape entirely, I had written that Arnab Goswami was the best anchor on primetime news TV.

 

He was different from Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt who were stars of the nightly bulletins. He was direct, he asked the tough questions and didn’t let his guests get away easily.

 

In many ways, just as Angry Young Man Amitabh Bachchan mesmerized the nation in the 1970s, the Angry Young Man Arnab Goswami grew big on television. Rajdeep and Barkha (and Prannoy Roy etc) were journalists… this guy was like one of us.

 

November 26, 2008 onwards was when he was at his peak. Some may say he took the easy (and if one may add uncharitably: safer) option of being in the studio as his reporters went closer to the hostage drama. But it was a wise decision. While it’s good to have your trump cards in action  - whether they should be on the field or off is a call that’s got to be taken. By staying in the studios, Arnab ensured that the 60+ hours of the hostage crisis was covered the best on Times Now.

 

Arnab Goswami

It’s been no looking back thereafter. He took the nationalistic line and the longevity of the terror discussion ensured that he would go on and on and on. Then there were border concerns in China and immigrant problems in Australia and wherever there was an issue where there was an Indian case to be fought for, Superman Arnab came to the rescue.

 

A variety of political scandals and multiple scams ensured that there were enough ratings for news on television. Plus a packed sporting season.

 

However, Arnab appeared to have got greedy. Or was forced to not see reason and hold back. He stretched his nationalistic debates a bit much.

 

Agreed the nation wants answers and is happy that Arnab asks for them too, but the shrillness with which he goes about his task makes it a charade. There is a hardly a night when there is peace among his his panelists.

 

There are other problems with the Arnab we see on Newshour and beyond. His body language as he faces the camera shows that he gets in with a view. And he wants to lead the discussion as per that.

 

He gets carried away. Like he failed to see reason when Anna Hazare was at his peak. Like he did last Sunday as anchored a newsroom discussion through the day for Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s funeral procession. While one didn’t expect him to damn him, the death of a political leader like Thackeray offered enough reason for a debate on his policies and style of functioning.

 

Arnab’s ‘Frankly Speaking’ with Raj Thackeray may have seen him raise some probing questions, but he let him get away. Raj even had some fun at Arnab’s expense.

 

Last night (on Tuesday, Nov 20), we had a discussion on the two girls in suburban Palghar being arrested over a Facebook comment. The arrest as well as the vandalism thereafter must be damned. Those who committed both the crimes ought to be taken to task.

 

I hold no brief for any of the three Mumbai women guests present, but Arnab was being offensive. At least allow Shaina NC to speak and move on if she’s not making a direct reference to the Sena, though later she did make an oblique reference!

 

Arnab is fortunate that his competition, save Rajdeep Sardesai’s CNN-IBN, is not formidable. The NDTV 24×7 coverage of the Bal Thackeray death and funeral procession was pathetic. Sreenivasan Jain is poor with live news TV. His performance has been consistently below par: he was no great shakes when he was the Mumbai bureau head some years back, on Profit and now with the Thackeray coverage. Yes, on-off documentaries are great as are his exposes.

 

As for Headlines Today, I think I have the solution to how it can be a force to reckon with. Let Rahul Kanwal be around for interviews et al, but get another primetime anchor-editor.

 

Since I don’t have NewsX piped in through my digitized signal, I don’t watch the channel, but to my mind, CNN-IBN is by far the best English news television channel.

 

Mind you, Rajdeep also gets shrill at times and Sagorika Ghose is a dozen times his decibel levels, but what makes the channel stand out is that it’s got multiple faces.

 

Times Now appears happy to have not created a face beyond Arnab. But that’s their internal policy, though I am not sure if it’s a wise one.

 

As for NDTV 24×7, it’s sad to see a wealth of talent often being wasted. Although I didn’t see much of the channel after a point last weekend, perhaps getting Barkha Dutt on would’ve been better with the Bal Thackeray coverage.

 

Back to Arnab. If he really wants the viewing masses to find him spending their primetime with, he must switch tracks, get less combative and chill.

 

A 10-day Vipassana course perhaps?

 

Mediaah! Is written by Pradyuman Maheshwari, Editor-in-Chief, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own. If you don’t want to use the messageboard below, inbox your comments to him at pradyumanm@mxmindia.com. Or BBM 29FEA79C.

File Photo: Fotocorp

 

Post a Comment 
  • Ronin

    Arnab is best because he is best. Rest is just dust.

  • Pramod D

    At times Arnab thinks that he is more powerful than the Chief Justice of
    India and as rightly said in your article, he comes with pre conceived
    notions and announces the verdict. His debates are increasingly getting
    boring and I suspect he struggles to get new faces in the panel too
    (like the way they dont have any other face for their news
    channel)…same old vinod mehta, nirmala sitharaman, dr. abhishek
    manusighvi (hes back after a while though), prasad of bjp et al..

    He conducts the debates as if the viewer wants to do a PhD in the
    subject on hand…today people are not looking out for depth in the
    news, what they need is the breadth and couple of quick views from
    people from that field..may be Arnab thinks otherwise..

    Last but not the least, Rajdeep covers a wide spectrum of topics in
    an hours time and his debates are also to the point and we get to hear
    the guests more than the anchor..I also like the Editor’s take at the
    end of the debate..

    I fully agree that CNN IBN is the best news channel currently… cheers!!

  • Saurabh

    Great Article Pradyuman. I am an avid audience for 9 pm bulletin. I feel, In today’s competitive scenario, news has become a game of perspective & that is where Arnab Lacks.

    He is unidirectional & try hard to prove a point. However, Brakha can have at least 3 perspective on a topic. I am sure you will agree this. Whatever amount of Charisma Arnab may have. But the unidirectional approach is an invitation to boredom………..

    Don’t know why Barkha is limited only for ” We the People ” ( which she carries brilliantly). NDTV has to bring her back immediately. Your thoughts on this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pradeep.phadke.35 Pradeep Phadke

    Very well analyzed.Over the years NDTV has become another DD News.I don’t watch it any more because the presentation as well as topics are boring.On the day of Thackeray’s funeral they were not prepared to cover it-probably they never could imagine the kind of on-ground response.They possibly wanted to be different from other channels (ponty’s murder news was their headline that day!) but in doing that they completely missed the bus and I am sure their TRPs that day would be lowest among all English news channels.

  • audhoot

    Well analysed. In most of the debates, Arnab seems to take sides as if he is also one of the panelist. I agree that CNN-IBN is a better English news channel.

  • Latha Chandradeep

    Dead right, Pradyuman. Frankly, I wonder which channel to watch. Nothing seems to make much sense. Same old faces and same old views…no news perspectives.

  • Sanhita Nag

    In talk shows of Arnab, only he talks because he does not let anyone else talk or make a point!!! So, he can name the shows like – Arnab Talks, Arnab Talks more, Arnab goes on Talking!!

  • Cribber

    Frankly, I feel Raj Thackeray ran so many rings around poor Arnab that the latter must have had tweety birds buzzing in his head when THAT debacle came to a close. He is really offensive, but so is Rajdeep Sardesai. Or should I be saying Sagodeep Sardard!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.peter.319 Alex Peter

    As a viewer I feel its high time all news channels must wake up smell the caffe and to learn news delivery by watching on TATA SKY a channel called AL JAZEERA- simply fantastic!

  • Amit

    arnab surely has the best research team working for him. yes he is not perfect but then his channel is not govt channel like undeetv and ibn

  • Arjun

    1 hr vipassana every time he is on times now newshour would help!…

  • raman

    Primarily Arnob is not a listener. He thrusts his views vociferously and most of the times gives his opinion about the others answers before it is completed. In short terrible to see his interference with the persons he interviewing, who are made to look as if they are guilty. Nearly all his question hours slot are rhetoric.

  • zeerak

    On first place Arnab is best. No one can be as good as him. he represents the voive of India. He asks the questions which a citizen of India has in his mind. He is true and honest and has a bought a revolution in journalism. He always dreamt to be part of such a media and today his dream has turned into reality. People who are aginst him does not hold on their moral grounds. A billion of people in this country love Arnab and follow him to the core. He is brilliant, intelligent and has a superb sense of humour.he does not pleases his guest on tthe show rather he digs out the truth. I as citizen of India can say that Arnab is revered through out this country. Arnab all the best keep moving we all are wid u.

  • Ruchir

    What you are suggesting Arnab is a “chalta hai” attitude … “chill marna yaar” attitude… This attitude itself is the biggest reason for India’s political mess… I as a citizen of India is proud of Arnab Goswami and his non chilling attitude only makes me view newshour everyday… Hope he will always remain the guy who will not change for selfish interests and keep pressing hard on the corrupts… BTW, CNN-IBN is the worst news channel who didn’t even release the CD of the recorded “cash for vote” scam for their own selfish interests…

  • CUrency

    News in english ?????

  • Himanshu Tripathi

    You can like him or dislike him but certainly can’t ignore him..HE IS THE BEST & ONLY ONE

  • Bhogendra Thakur

    DD is still more reliable. Quality of programs and debates are much better on NDTV than any other TV channel. Of course, they are now what ‘People or Nation’ wants.

  • gurpreet

    Why cannot these news channel be news channel rather than media trial channel. Arnab seems to be spoilt kid in a classroom who would like everyone to go yes sir yes sir three bags full

  • Anabik Chakraborty

    I am a great admirer of this man, can say he is ‘The conscience keeper of the nation’. Media should take up people’s issues especially those of the disempowered and dispossessed and not just air filthy, flimsy news. Only thing I would like Arnab to bring into his debates is better moderation, he should bring fewer guests – more the guests, more the hullabaloo, and he should allow people to complete their arguments. Overall, he is India’s hero who dares to ask uncomfortable questions to corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who have long sold their souls to money.

  • Anon

    Lesser known facts about Arnab Goswami:

    He starts his day with 36 questions to self

    Arnab Goswami was in school, he used to answer every question with 33 questions.

    Once
    he was inducted by the CBSE board in a panel to draft questions for the
    class X board exams. Was dropped after he added a ‘nation needs to
    know’ suffix to each question

    His first love letter had 137 questions for the object of his affection

    Arnab’s wife never argues with him as she is afraid of losing

    Most of the self proclaimed evidence papers he waves on his show – Newshour, are grocery lists written by his wife

    Goswami’s neighbors avoid him during their morning walk in order to prevent being asked 36 questions

    Arnab Goswami’s maid once fainted due to low BP after Goswami questioned her absence from duty

    08 secs is the longest any panelist has spoken on Newshour without interruption by Arnab

    Pakistan’s
    former dictator and clown Parvez Musharraf had 5 military interrogators
    question him non-stop for 34 hours in preparation for his first
    appearance on Newshour

    Once a service manager at a prominent
    5-star hotel asked Arnab for feeback on his stay. The manager was
    released only after Goswami asked him 74 questions

    Panel-Panel
    was Arnab’s favorite game as a 6-year old. He used to gang up with 4
    neighborhood kids and grill random kids on random topics

    During his interview for a job as a reporter for NDTV, Arnab asked Pranoy Roy 93 questions in under one hour

    His autobiography ‘The nation needs to know’ is written in a QnA format

  • Rajesh Menon
  • Srinivas Chaskar

    Hi Arnab, am missing you like my family member. Where are you dear. Not getting food for thought. Please come and start your news hour class where I learn lot everyday.

    Regards,

  • Ashish

    He’s been off screen for nearly 10 days now…probably took your advice :)

  • Todak Riba

    arnab is great and aggressive in asking questions. very gud. sadly he is not a patient good listener. he wont let any1 who doesnt have his point of view speak. i remember when he had some panelist from pakistan. they were made to look like fools w’out having a chance to speak. and mr. arnab…why do u keep giving judgements..you should be arrested, you are wrong, etc etc…then become newsreader. you are hosting a debate and no one can be wrong in a debate because they speak their point of view. no matter how absurd one may sound, give them chance to speak and pls dont judge them.

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