Arnab Goswami as a BJP adviser?

16 Sep,2011

By Ranjona Banerji


Expectedly, the petrol price hike was top of the mind on Friday morning, as readers already depressed with the news the night before, groaned their way through morning chores. Most newspapers slammed the hike, pointing out that it would add to inflationary pressures, that this so-called drop in the rupee was not reason enough for a Rs 3 hike and that most of the price per litre went towards taxes anyway. In addition, the apparent move to push people towards diesel was short-sighted because one day diesel subsidy would also have to go and then, the environmental cost.


Hindustan Times’ Delhi edition lead with the new India-China standoff over oil exploration in the South China Sea but put the story on the fold in Mumbai, taking the petrol hike and a local municipal story on top. The Times of India gave prominence to its newly constituted Social Impact Awards.


The end of Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s marriage was in the papers, but then everyone respected his right to privacy. This meant that the juicy stuff was left out. Interestingly, The Hindu, follows the media coverage in disapproval and finds out that a possible new wife named for Abdullah – as a sort of political alliance – is an imaginary or invented person. Of course, should one wonder whether anyone would care if Omar Abdullah looked like most other Indian politicians (ugly)? Or perhaps if it is time the media dropped the pseudo-coy line and went all out and attacked famous people? Or if it is fair to tempt the reader with titbits and then hold back, claiming goodie-goodie rights?


Sonia Gandhi’s return to a workday was frontpaged as was the United States dubbing the Indian Mujahideen a terror outfit. Most papers pointed out that the authorities were still a bit lost on solving both the Mumbai and Delhi blasts. The rains in north India – which are wreaking havoc – got little play in the rest of the country but were covered in the north, with the Tribune in Chandigarh warning of more rain in the next 24 hours. The Ahmedabad edition of The Times of India carried prominently the story of policeman Rahul Sharma describing how he was charge-sheeted by the Gujarat government for talking to the Supreme Court appointed amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran about the 2002 riots. Chief minister Narendra Modi’s fast for goodwill did not feature on page 1.


This is of course in stark contrast to our friends in the world of television. Modi’s fast is getting a minute by minute update on some channels. Times Now or at least its biggest hero Arnab Goswami could become adviser to the BJP on how to win the next election, since his News Hour debate on Thursday night brooked no opposition to his view that Modi’s fast for goodwill (sadbhavna) was in the rightness of things. This line appears to be in contrast to The Times of India’s coverage and editorials of Modi and the latest events, but who knows? It must be added that Headlines Today runs neck and neck with Times Now when it comes to the rightwing slant, but then it has far more practice.


The petrol hike was given its space and so was cricketer Rahul Dravid’s retirement from One Day Internationals. On Wednesday and Thursday, Indian television did what it does best and to good effect here – it showcased the story of Indian hockey players being given peanuts in prize money and so shamed governments into coughing up more. Several newspapers – Mid-Day particularly in Mumbai – also did their bit.


The images of Bihar policemen beating up villagers were frightening and truly a triumph for television.


Here’s to a promising weekend, with all our drama kings and queens in full flow!


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4 responses to “Arnab Goswami as a BJP adviser?”

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