Porn-happy Karnataka ministers hog TV limelight

09 Feb,2012

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Was it naughty of ministers in Karnataka to be supposedly watching pornography when they should have been paying attention to a debate in the assembly? Undoubtedly, yes. Was it necessary for TV channels to show this almost non-stop on Wednesday morning, having already milked it on Tuesday night? Arguably, not. But the morning onslaught was relentless – for those who might imagine there was nothing else happening in the country, why, the first round of voting started in Uttar Pradesh. So far, this has been billed as the most important assembly election yet, a precursor to the next general elections. But for a while, it was the porn-happy ministers of Karnataka, who have apparently since resigned. Not happily of course. The young anchors and reporters of TV channels were very happy that these moral policers had been caught out in this manner.

 

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The newspapers on Wednesday morning had the slightly more depressing if less salacious news about India’s GDP forecast being pulled down to 6.9 per cent because of the economic slowdown. This is the sort of news which neither mainstream TV news nor business channels seem equipped to handle. International news channels on the other hand run from civil unrest in any part of the world to economic recession in the west in an endless loop. The world and the west are both usually very accommodating.

 

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The inquisition of former Indian Premier League head Lalit Modi on Times Now on Tuesday night was an illuminating lesson in how not to conduct an interview. Arnab Goswami, Sanjay Jha and Boria Majumdar would have done Torquemada and the Auta da Fe proud. Whatever your views on Modi, having asked him to speak to you it is usually better to let him say what he has to. Tough questions are fine, indeed necessary, but yelling at him about why he tweets what he does is ridiculous. Modi’s interview with Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN-IBN was more intelligible. Times Now sometimes overplays its role as the sole guardian of India.

 

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India is pitifully short of experts, the newspapers tell us – Crest ran an excellent article on this a few months ago – and nowhere is this more evident than on TV. The same people are rounded up and herded from studio to studio where they are everywhere “exclusive” and experts on everything.

 

It is always amusing to see senior TV anchors having to rely on senior print journalists to analyze events – why are they so frightened of doing it themselves? I know why of course but surely they should have gathered enough confidence by now to bullshit away by themselves?

 

Good for print journalists of course and I hope they pay them for their expertise?

 

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Hrithik Roshan needs to sack his publicist and take his money back from Medianet for allowing a picture of himself to be printed on the front page of Bombay Times where he looks like CGI dinosaur of some kind with an over-developed thorax.

 

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