Ranjona Banerji: Arnab Goswami, the King of Outrage!

21 Nov,2014

By Ranjona Banerji

 

#WarzoneHisar said TV news or more specifically Times Now which had eight reporters over 10 days covering six angles. Or something like that, maybe it was 10 reporters over six days covering eight angles. I all know for certain is that there were more reporters than angles.

 

The story itself was not a joke of course. One of India’s innumerable “godmen” decided to duck the law and hide in his “ashram” in Hisar, Haryana. He was protected by thousands of his followers and his own private army which attacked the police with petrol bombs and acid pouches among other weaponry.

 

It was a marvellous display of the might of the TV media against the lathis of the Haryana police and the varied armaments of Rampal’s Private Army. And even if several mediapersons did get beaten up by the police, was there any doubt about who would win in the end? The race was between Times Now and Headlines Today and the winner, undoubtedly, was Arnab Goswami. And not just because of 100 reporters, 20 days and 13 angles. But because NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE, can do TV outrage like him.

 

I also however realised my severe shortcomings in not having an Oxbridge education (note to parents: how could you be so mean?). I did not realise that when all the participants in a TV panel discussion yell and scream at the same time, the technical name is “open debate”. Clearly, in the past I have been so mesmerised by Goswami’s shiny hair and stentorian tones that I have missed this phrase completely. But he said it the other night, “Come, Popsy, come Topsy, come Bubbles, come Biggles, join in, this is an Open Debate.” They always do and then we have the Great Indian Cacophonic Orchestra in front of us and I hit mute on the remote. But at least now I know.

 

More seriously though, the media has a great role to play in debunking these charlatans and frauds who hoodwink the gullible and use their political connections to flout the law. More exposure on TV please!

 

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In an aside, was fascinating to see Rahul Eeshwar (I don’t what he does exactly, but he is called an “author” and activist and usually speaks up for his idea of Hinduism) take one position on NDTV (Bad bad bad Rampal) and a slight shift on Times Now (Not so bad Rampal). Maybe he thought why should Subramanian Swamy have all the fun with Arnab Goswami?

 

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And while on Subramanian Swamy and Arnab Goswami, have you heard this? If not, do it now! And you have, why not again?

https://soundcloud.com/parodesynoise/interrupception

 

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And then there’s the issue of mediapersons being beaten up by the Haryana police. Has the response from the police, the governments, media organisations been sufficient? Apparently not, from what one has seen. It was discussed on TV briefly but since then, the behaviour of the Haryana police is evidently being seen as par for the course if you are reporting in India’s badlands.

 

Unacceptable? No question about it!

 

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