AAPHEW! Ranjona Banerji: Times Now, Twitter score with Delhi results

10 Feb,2015

By Ranjona Banerji




This is a tweet, capital letters and all, from Overrated Outcast (@Over_rated). Because without a doubt, Times Now was the only channel worth watching, for its entertainment value at least, as the results of the Delhi state elections were being counted.


It started soon after 8am on February 10 as the counting started. Other news channels started putting out trend figures. Goswami was spitting scorn. Other channels, he said, were “psephological paparazzi”. Some hapless guest tried to claim that phrase as his own. I laughed so much that I missed who the guest was: mea culpa. But Goswami used the phrase through the morning as results poured in and has effectively made it his own.


He carried on with it and by 11.40am was even asking for a CBI enquiry into news channels which put out figures which inflated the BJP’s wins!


Times Now and Goswami also took great glee in pointing out that exit polls and forecasters got the Delhi election wrong, since the Aam Aadmi Party effectively swept through Delhi. But one might point out that the night before, on February 9, Navika Kumar of Times Now said that the BJP could not be written off since the BJP claimed that there was a voting surge for them between 3 and 5 in the afternoon on voting day. Goswami did not at that time react as fiercely as he did with such claimants on February 10.


Instead, Goswami, who is often seen as pro-BJP, took off on the BJP as the results became clear. Shazia Ilmi walked out of the studio after being asked tough questions. This is a sure way of getting ahead of the rating points for any channel and Times Now has won.


Having surfed through most news channels in various Indian languages, it was clear that the most exciting channel was Times Now. And all credit for that has to go to Goswami for being compelling viewing, with all the attendant melodrama and hysterics. He interrupted the discussions to show us where in the world the hashtag #TimesNow was trending. The US apparently, where he told us, Times Now has a huge following. No ad breaks, however.


But having doffed my hat to Times Now and it is still blaring as I write this, the winner has to be Twitter across all media. There is no better way to track news events. You don’t just get the news but you get humour, analysis, wit, scorn, anger, bitterness and rubbish as well: the whole human experience.


And as for tracking the election results, the Election Commission is surely the most reliable: http://eciresults.nic.in/.


You can track the results through constituency, party and vote share. You can therefore be ahead of the hysteria of news channels. Though the fun of Arnab Goswami cannot be beat! NDTV, too civilised and calm. Headlines Today looks like a CNN-IBN copy unless Rahul Kanwal and Gaurav Sawant are allowed to prance about. NewsX looks like a copy of all. CNN-IBN looks like His Master’s Voice except the BJP master and his main puppeteer are missing in action after this drubbing.




Jokes aside though, there is an urgent need for India’s best known journalists, especially those on TV, to do a little thinking. Their all out sycophancy for the government at the Centre has run its course. No?


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