Down with Times Now, #RejectArnab

27 Mar,2015

 

 

Time to #Reject Arnab

 

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

In 2008, well before 26/11 or the Mumbai terror attack, I had written that Arnab Goswami is a lot better than Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt (and of course a host of other stars on NDTV). He asked the tough questions, he spoke for you and me. There were no holy cows in his book then.

 

Around November 26, he did the smart thing of sticking around the studio and not getting out on the field. Whether it was because he feared for his life or whether it was by intent, it worked well for the channel because it had its best man in the studio helping in the packaging of the channel.

 

Over the years though, the success has got him to turn arrogant on television. If you don’t agree with his line of thinking, even the gods won’t be able to save you. If we thought that Karan Thapar would heckle his guests and often speak more than the people he was quizzing, Arnab takes this art to an all-new level. He just doesn’t allow them to speak beyond half a sentence.

 

He’s aggressive. He’s offensive. Sadly, he’s also repulsive.

 

But all of that has worked for the channel and him. He attracts maximum ratings and political leaders love to be on his show because it gives them great visibility.

 

Ad spots on his show are a few x times more expensive than those on some other English news channels. It’s all going right for the man. And his channel.

 

But many of us find him crossing the limits for a few years now. The problem with Arnab is that he doesn’t believe in half-measures. He goes on the rampage. I would like to not offer any analogies with the behaviour of other beings, but anyone who comes in his way, is mauled.

 

Bottomline: Arnab is getting obnoxious. And needs to be tamed soon. If the The Times of India group doesn’t do it, the law-enforcers could.

 

Ideally of course he should be subjected his fate by viewers who could reject his channel and watch others. But, then, the alternatives aren’t energetic enough. So there are many who still consider him the best of the lot. Plus it’s entertainment. Since the next season of Bigg Boss is still some months away, Newshour is the show everyone loves to watch. There the inmates scream at each other, here the studio guests do that. And so does the master of ceremonies: Arnab Goswami.

 

Now, as Ranjona Banerji writes alongside, even his lieutenants are doing it.

 

On the evening after India was humbled by Australia in the semi finals of the 2015 World Cup Cricket, after various elements on social media had converted their dismay to jokes and jibes, one would’ve expected an Oxford-educated Arnab to put things in perspective and not fuel the cause of the lumpen elements.

 

But what we saw was an unnecessary whipping up of nationalistic passion. Stuff that we can do without. Time to Reject Arnab. Let’s hashtag it, as he loves to do. #RejectArnab

 

 

No longer any connection to journalism

 

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Ding dong ding dong… hear that? It’s the death knell of journalism being rung in India thanks to Times Now. That Times Now is on a collision course with both good sense and reality is well known. But did the new channel reach the end game on Thursday, March 26, after India lost in the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup against Australia in Sydney? The answer could well be “yes”.I can safely say that I have never been as appalled with a pair of journalists in 30 years in the profession as I was with the display that Anand Narasimhan and Tina Sharma Tiwari put up on television after the semi-final. People reacted with so much anger to their “#ShamedAtSydney” hashtag running across the screen that #ShameonTimesNow was soon trending on Twitter and continued to do so up to Friday morning.

 

Fans react with irrational anger when their favourite team or player loses. But for journalists to outdo badly behaved fans deserves the strongest condemnation. Not only were the two anchors foaming and frothing at the mouth but they seemed unable to distinguish between their roles and that of a fan ready to burn an effigy. It almost seemed as if they were egging fans on to misbehave; and suggesting that any such behaviour was justified.

 

Some of the panellists on Times Now just after the loss, like Charu Sharma, Atul Wassan and later Zaheer Khan tried to inject reason and sense into the discussion. But neither the anchors nor Saad Bin Jung were having any of it. For them, India capitulated, Dhoni should have cried like AB De Villiers of South Africa, Kohli was distracted by Anushka Sharma’s presence and the team played like “stupid amateurs”.

 

The trouble is that all these are believable as reactions from loony fans. Not from journalists who are either supposed to report on proceedings or, as in the case of TV, ask other people to analyse them. The spectacle of Narasimhan and Sharma-Tiwari screeching at the guests was unedifying and appalling. The two of them are supposed to be sports journalists but there was no semblance of any understanding of sport visible from them. Narasimhan had a mega tantrum over the rights of fans versus sense and Sharma-Tiwari had her own hissy fit about Dhoni’s apparent lack of emotion at the loss – as determined by her.

 

What viewers might have wanted to see was some analysis of what went wrong. The panellists on the side of reason (the wrong side as far as Times Now was concerned) argued that the Indian team had played well so far, mentioned how well Australia had played, pointed out that there was no reason for the Indian players to purposely play badly. But the anchors were having none of it.

 

The defining moment for me was Sharma-Tiwari questioning the lack of application by the Indian players. The irony was that neither she nor Narasimhan showed any application to the tenets of journalism. It is tempting to blame Times Now’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for this behaviour. By manipulating The Newshour as his personal soapbox, he appears to have encouraged his staff to become rabble rousers and instigators. Even if he did not instruct either of them to behave in this manner, he has clearly inspired them. I did not watch Goswami himself on Thursday because I had had enough of the channel by then. But my colleague Pradyuman Maheshwari had his own share of heart attacks watching The Newshour.

 

I have defended Times Now and Goswami before, if only because I felt he had a finger on the pulse. But I fear that I have to concede defeat. Times Now may provide entertainment of the lowest and basest kind but it no longer has any connection to journalism.

 

 

Post a Comment 

9 responses to “Down with Times Now, #RejectArnab”

  1. arun tibrewal says:

    The best part of his jurnilism is he talks for mass but worst part is that. He is very arrogant

  2. ashok759 says:

    A lot can be condoned if there is an unwavering commitment to the truth. Now even that is up in the air. If a public servant commits suicide because of a troubled personal life but it will be more sensational / better for TRPs to build up a false campaign showing a fearless crusader bumped off for taking on the mafia, mangle the truth. How does it really matter, one way or another, isn’t the poor sod dead and gone ?

  3. Pradeep Phadke says:

    Success has gone to his head. He will get tamed by dropping TRPs over next few months,that is if he doesn’t change on his own by making serious efforts. While I agree that he rides roughshod over every one he has met his match in Raj Thackeray previously. Raj-his views may be controversial and many may not like those- was successful in putting Arnab in his place. While I believe that Arnab can become an even better anchor/moderator by toning down his misplaced aggression and by being a bit more patient; I feel that the participants to various debates are also equally guilty. They just don’t want to listen.I wonder whether Arnab has learnt from the participants or the participants have done so after watching Arnab!

  4. I met Arnab two years back, he came across as a reasonable man. I fail to understand why he gets transform in a very different person the moment he goes on air. Cho…Cho…Chooo….. This what his show are all about. I stopped watching Time Now a year back it was hard to tolerate his non sense questions and self proclaimed style, uncontrolled participants and noise.

  5. ChamatkariChor (Baba) says:

    One the one side, a nobody trying to make a name for himself, and a known leftie journalist who hasn’t really made much of a mark in her chosen profession. One the other, the most successful centre-right TV journalist who has held more politicians accountable than the former bunch will ever dream of doing in their lifetimes. The former is passing judgement on the latter. Yeah, we should be practising, or following and respecting, the former kind of journalism

  6. raj says:

    Arnab way of delivering may be wrong but intent is correct. why such reactions is simple and obvious:
    cricket is today passion and anchor for indians. no longer is cricket for the love of country,its a vocation and profession and in any profession you are paid to perform.it can’t be so hat you are paid and have no accountability. we all know that in all our businesses and work space if we don’t perform we perish. why kabaddi and hockey players are not heckled as they are not paid in that proportion so expectations are lesser.
    More you rise the greater and hurtful is the fall. So this is part and parcel of game you have to take accolades with brickbats and thats directly in proportion of emotional and financial involvement of stake holders.
    where are these so called supporters of players when they were being treated as demi gods no body wanted to bring and sense and rationality then so why now.
    sadly these are the people whose fortunes depends on being on the right side of BCCI and players. you scratch my and i scratch yours.
    Simple you have to take the smooth with the rest.

    hope people on both sides see sense ans stop taking extremen positions

    • ajay says:

      i agree

    • Derek Bose says:

      Arnab Goswami is a blot on Indian journalism. In any other news organisation he would have been sacked long back. Well said Ranjona, he has turned the Newshour into a “personal soapbox”. Boycott the idiot!

    • Puneet Parija says:

      Who the hell are you to ask for accountability? Their match fees or endorsements don’t come from public money or taxes. You don’t have any contribution in their career, training, treatments etc. BCCI is not a government organization, it is a private body and funds itself through endorsements, tournaments, tv rights etc. Get down from your high horse and mind your own business.

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