Ranjona Banerji: The nation wants to know when Barack Obama will answer Times Now! No, really!

13 Feb,2015

By Ranjona Banerji


Many people have complained to me that if I was being sarcastic about Arnab Goswami and Times Now being the best anchor and channel to watch on the Delhi election results day this week, it did not come through. My sincere apologies. But I reassert that Times Now was the most entertaining channel to watch!




But here’s a story where you have to partially at least agree with Goswami and Times Now: the assault on Suresh Patel by the police in Madison, Alabama, which has left him paralysed: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/11/alabama-cops-leave-a-grandfather-partially-paralyzed-after-frisk-goes-awry/


I say partially because while the story is horrific and the actions of the police smack of both brutality and racism, it was ridiculous for Goswami to sit in his Mumbai studio and demand an answer from US president Barack Obama. Certainly, you can castigate the US system, you can take on racism but it is silly to use a hashtag like ObamaStopPreaching to highlight Sureshbhai Patel’s plight.


The fact that Obama spoke of the need for secularism in India did not mean that he said that there is no racism in the US. Quite the contrary. He mentioned racism in America and his own experiences in his speech in India as well. But in a jingoistic way, it is heartening to see an Indian TV anchor, watched by 1.2 billion people (Goswami hinted at that on Thursdaynight though I have yet to see it in a Times Now ad) ask questions of the US president with no hope of ever getting an answer.


Meanwhile, NewsX has been claiming since Friday morning that some part of this story was “first on NewsX”.


Wait till Goswami hears about that, all you paparazzi channels!




NewsX however went hammer and tongs at activist Teesta Setalvad on Thursday night, after a Gujarat high court denied her anticipatory bail application in a case about possible fraud in money collected for a museum to commemorate victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots. The anchor Rahul Shivshankar made it clear to some hapless guests that he did not want to discuss the legal aspects of the case but the hypocrisy of Setalvad.


Just to make life interesting, the Supreme Court has since stayed the arrest warrant. Obviously the apex court is more interested in discussing the legal aspects of the case than Shivshankar?


This comment from The Economic Times puts some of the questions for and against Setalvad in perspective: http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-editorials/stop-harassment-of-human-rights-activist-teesta-setalvad/




Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed are hopefully to be released on bail soon from an Egyptian jail. The two Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested on suspicion of being Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers. A retrial has been ordered in their case. Earlier, Australian journalist Peter Grieste also one of the three Al Jazeera journalists, had been allowed to go home as well.






The US is mourning the deaths of two senior journalists. Bob Simon, celebrated foreign reporter and war correspondent with CBS, died in a car accident in New York on Wednesdaynight. Simon had reported on wars since Vietnam. He was 73. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cbs-news-correspondent-bob-simon-1941-2015/


The New York Times is mourning the loss of David Carr, 58, who wrote a very popular media column. Carr collapsed in the newspaper’s Manhattan newsroom on Thursday.



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One response to “Ranjona Banerji: The nation wants to know when Barack Obama will answer Times Now! No, really!”

  1. ashok759 says:

    Egypt needs the world’s support, especially its tourism dollars, to get back on its feet. Jailing journalists is not the way to get it.