Arnab Goswami: The showman who reaps outrage
Editor-in-chief of Times Now Arnab Goswami’s anger orchestration against ‘obnoxious’ and ‘anti-national’ sentiments reached a crescendo on Thursday. He was seemingly grief-stricken when a former staff of the Indian Army, General G D Bakshi, broke down on his #Newshour debate.
While Arnab seems to have invoked a ‘trickle-down’ strategy of camping on a particular issue so as to bring about a social or a material impact, his coverage on the JNU row could be exemplified as a well-planned media discourse on how to snowball an incident to one’s own benefit on the other hand. The benefit could be seen as an enforcement of views of a group or as a measure to meet a financially lucrative ends, yes, TRP ratings, of course.
An emotional General Bakshi questioned the meaning of ‘extreme nationalism’ that was repeatedly brought up by a section of panelists who were opposing the HRD ministry’s move to implement the hoisting of tricolor flag of India in all central universities including the much-debated Jawaharlal University (JNU) in Delhi.
The General frantically underscored the martyrdom of Indian soldiers who laid down their life during their efforts to erect Indian flag poles on the treacherous high altitude frontiers of the nation, which were captured by Pakistani forces (Eg. Operation Meghdoot). He addressed his opponents as ‘anti-nationals’ who do not realise the value of freedom and sense of security they enjoy here. He stridently attributed the ‘existing’ freedom to the martyrdom of Indian soldiers.
HRD minister Smriti Irani herself had to intervene in the debate so as to cool off the aggrieved General.
In the series of #newshour debates that started on February 11, Arnab, who knows his onions, was more or less successful in appealing to the masses. Throughout the series, he whipped the people who tended to back sloganeering against the nation and the government.
“Since when did raising incendiary slogans against the nation qualify as freedom of expression,” he asked.
Again, be it General Bakshi or Siachen martyr Lance Naik Hanumanthappa or the 72 CRPF jawans who died fighting Maoists in 2010, Arnab during his JNU coverage, prudently contrasted such situations to the calls for dissent against the majoritarian political outlooks that invariably have failed to imbibe viciousness entrenched in the system.
He thereby effectively harvested outrage in public domains, which in no time was getting transformed into ‘hatred’, ‘political hypocrisy’, ‘opportunism’ and ‘extreme nationalism’ — all of which have been long known to be catalysts to dynamics of television news journalism.
Arnab’s silence on the airing of ‘doctored video’ of Kanhaiya Kumar sloganeering also has hinted the hidden agendas of Times Now. The channel had made unscrupulous attempts to portray Siddharth Varadarajan’s The Wire on the defensive by accusing it for falsely taking the name of the channel on the doctored video fiasco in an article ‘On Kanhaiya: It is time to stand up and be counted‘. The channel even went to the extent of spewing accusations against The Wire on air. However, the channel came down on its knees as Varadarajan proved that the former had aired the controversial video.
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