Rahul Kishore rips apart English News TV on Counting Day: The Ugly, The Bad, The Good

27 May,2019

By Rahul Kishore


The 2019 elections for the Lok Sabha will go down in history as the most bitterly fought one ever. The name-calling, character assassination, abuse of parents and families were to be seen to be believed. This was at the politician level, but what was amazing was the battle being fought in television studios.

It amazes me that educated people took positions and stayed with them for the last two-odd years. Fake narratives were carefully built up and seasoned, reasonably normal anchors stuck blatantly and foolishly to them. Of course one side knew the other is winning somewhat comfortably. It was a battle of unequals: a dominant Prime Minister who was an Alpha Male stacked against a motley opportunist opposition supposedly led by a man who was never serious and changed his persona almost on a bi-monthly basis. From soft Hindutva to getting his sister to the fore, forming a mahagathbandhan to showing a humane side to showering suspect love around — all of it was made up and comical.


Now to support this he obviously got his managers to get wholesale media backing
The media delivered and how! The entire game was winding up to Election Day and what was on view was amazing as all the anchors barring one or two were stripped completely and displayed biases.

Among the usual suspects in NDTV was Prannoy Roy who tried to recover some of his mojo. Nidhi Razdan was like a bubbly child, trying to impress the boss. Sreenivasan Jain has this air of intellectual superiority about him which doesn’t hold once the mouth talks. Shekhar Gupta, on the other hand, was shifty and looked as if he knew it was all over. It had actually all begun with Rajat Sethi taking on Nidhi Razdan apart and naming NDTV almost as a Congress backer. And an anti-BJP one. They called only known, pliant guests and were quite happy in their little drawing room which btw had a fossilised senior journalist who besides having nothing of note to say was also having a bad hair day and was trying very hard to behave like a diva. Comical. The entire drawing room looked like a funeral as the numbers started piling up against them. Sorry, Congress.

Their star Ravish Kumar had a meltdown post exit polls and wanted anchors to be given cabinet posts for backing the BJP… he forgot that his channel used to decide UPA portfolios not so long ago. A waster and self-styled defender of the Congress, his best days are easily behind him!

NDTV had already set its agenda by inviting a blogger Dhruv Rathee to the channel and getting its staff to translate his utterances in Hindi, instead of following up on the Lanka bombings which had the body count growing. Priorities! Modi must be made to lose! SAD to see.

India Today had already goofed up with Rahul Kanwal leaking the internal exit poll, then Rajdeep Sardesai claimed it was fake, got trolled and eventually said it was a dummy. Their epic takedown was by Giriraj Singh who hammered them and both though embarrassed were going on with the chat. Rajdeep and Kanwal are not good to watch. They never got Anjana after her Twitter spat with Sardesai. Might have been better than these two. The one thing that stood out was the breaking down of psephologist Pradeep Gupta. Though the two men tried to quickly get some well needed TRPs from that, the only chap who gained was Pradeep himself! How accurate he was!

Now onto the leader by far: Arnab. The channel was loud and exciting.  Everything was ‘breaking’ and Arnab was in control .The only thing he needs to tell his reporters is that they’re all equal.They look petrified most of the time. Chitra, though mild and calm, has a school principal air about her and was mostly ignorable. It must be said that Arnab is the best Hindi speaker of all the mainstream English anchors. For a northeast guy, it’s never easy and must be applauded. It was business as usual there and he had a young jumpy analyst who was pleasant enough without the airs of a Yogendra Yadav or a Dorab Sopariwalla, Both past their best by date. The best though by far and my fav with her smile knowledge and demeanour was Smita Prakash. She needs to be on TV more. Reminds one of the anchors of yore, on DD where else!

Barkha – a star always, carried on gamely and was her usual articulate self. Where the telecast suffered was that the lighting was not bright enough, and the panellists were dreary. Sadanand Dhume was weary, pompous and his accent was overbearing. Besides he suffered from the airs of most NRIs who comment on India as if they know it all. Part of the same tribe Shivam Vij made bad jokes and I was wondering why he gets invited at all. Mostly looks like he suffers from flatulence!

The Opindia site it must be mentioned was mostly great on coverage though Nupur had a serious meltdown post the results and wrote many expletives. Not expected and not done. She could have done better!

To end, I remember five years back, Hindi channels were all noise and no poise whereas English ones followed decorum. Well, the roles have reversed. Also, one can see that the owners have invested in tech but the journos are not up to speed with it. Needs more involvement.

The one thing that will however be the moment for me was Arnab’s takedown of arguably the most obnoxious woman ever: Renuka Chowdhury. I think there was some history there but he was brilliant. She was stuttering!

The drama is over and one can now go back to one’s mundane life having lived through the most exciting and bitter election in living memory. It was fun viewing and lots of masks slipped. As they say, Whattefun


Rahul Kishore is an avid TV watcher and runs his own companies Taurus Infomedia Pvt Ltd and The Icon Image Consulting. He has very strong views on most things in life – politics and the media included. Although there may be more people disagreeing with his no-holds-barred views, the good thing that he is consistent with them. Known for his pro-Modi, pro-Arnab, anti-NDTV, anti-all-those-who-dare-to-question-Modi comments on the social media, RK is also a keen golfer, a compulsive fitness freak and loves posting photographs (with him in them) on Facebook and Instagram. A compilation of his Facebook posts was published in 2014 as a book. You can send bouquets, brickbats and legal suits to him at rahulkis@gmail.com. The views here are personal, and MxMIndia does not subscribe to them.



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