Why need govts when u have anchors & editors?

02 Dec,2011

By Ranjona Banerji


My cablewallah has decided that the only two English news channels I need to watch are Times Now and Headlines Today. I don’t know whether this is a political statement or an indication of what most people watch or general inefficiency. Of the two I (naturally?) chose Times Now. And I was treated to Arnab Goswami in full flow – he had to save the Indian nation on two counts, from China in the East and Pakistan in the West, so you can imagine the passion and intent. Remarkable, almost as good as watching Keeping up with the Kardashians and a darn sight better than Masterchef USA.


The problem with China was of course that it had interfered in the running of a democratic secular nation (India) by warning the West Bengal governor and chief minister not to go anywhere near the Dalai Lama. This affront to Indian sovereignty was not to be countenanced and it is my overwhelming regret that there was no Chinese representative on the panel. Why do we need governments when we have TV news anchors and editors?


(My personal view is that China forgot that there was no longer a tame CPM government in power in West Bengal!)

Having blustered away at China – and some poor guest who had the misfortunate of having to explain China’s fears – we then turned our attention to Pakistan. Here, the role was of senior statesman, a negotiator if you will between Pakistan and the United States. The subject of course was the NATO attack which killed several Pakistani soldiers.


It is a credit to our news industry that the larger picture of changing US-Pakistan relations was lost in lots of bombast and sharp positioning.

In between all this, there was a short session between Rajiv Shukla of the Congress and Chandan Mitra of the BJP about FDI, Lokpal and whatever else is creating excitement in our political lives.


Apparently, everyone is similarly confused because sometimes we like something and the next day we don’t and then again and so the circle of life goes on. Mitra was very emphatic that political parties have the right to change their minds, which is good to know.




The morning papers have been equally confusing as one day they tell us everyone is under the Lokpal and the next day they’re not and then everyone is for FDI, everyone is against FDI, partly for FDI, was for FDI once but now no more…


The most interesting news then is that this so-called Bharat bandh by petty traders did not apparently amount to much.

Team Anna meanwhile seems to be as confused as the rest of us and so has seemingly decided to call off its ritual hysterics for a while.

Here’s to an equally confusing weekend!

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