As I was saying yesterday, only those who have lived through 2004-2014, suffering through every minute of biased coverage and blatant double standards, can appreciate how good it feels to see the media “intellectual” cartel ruptured by Arnab Goswami. Do you remember the Radia tapes? Do you remember how social media was on fire but it took 2 full weeks to get anyone in the media to even acknowledge their existence. Remember folks, this Orwellian system used to be in place barely 5-6 years ago. And now it’s broken. Remember the cash for votes scam? How many times have you sat in your living room staring at your TV or computer screen fuming at the nonsense, wishing there would be someone…anyone to express a counterpoint? How many times did you wish someone in the media would take on the left liberal blob?
I tell you: savor this moment. It was a long time in coming.
On reading my post from yesterday a second time, I felt there is a point that I had not emphasized enough. Even though the current bout is between Arnab and Barkha, it is not about Barkha Dutt alone. Barkha Dutt is just a symbol. She is a symbol of the corrupt, compromised, liberal Lutyens establishment that thrives on intrigues, ill-gotten favors and undeserved privilege. The real battle is with Mameluks at every single level…it is not just with Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose and Rajdeep Sardesai…the battle is also with Bhupendra Chaubey (CNN-IBN), Zakka Jacob (CNN-IBN), Anjana Om Kashyap (Aaj Tak), Abhisar Sharma (ABP). These are just a few names I could reel off from memory. Remember people, these Mameluks are just the tip of the iceberg in a vastly corrupt ecosystem. If these specific people are exposed and discredited, there are thousands of mini-Mameluks waiting in the wings to step into their shoes. Does anyone remember small fry like that Raghav Chopra (was it CNN-IBN?) who put up morphed pics of the PM bending to touch the feet of the Saudi king? Those Raghav Chopras are ready to step in for Bhupendra Chaubey. It’s not about specific people…it’s about an ecosystem that needs to be wrecked.
And yes, there is an aspiring crop of writers on the internet who are waiting to fill bigger roles as the secular offensive spreads to the web. Websites like Newslaundry, Troll, DailyO, Catchnews, Wire, etc. along with the old ones like Kafila are breeding a whole new generation of Mameluks: it is not just Barkha Dutt we have to worry about, we have to worry that people like Shoaib Daniyal, Abhinandan Sekhri, Sandipan Sharma, etc are all aspiring to become Barkha Dutts of the future.
For a long time now, the ecosystem had been chafing at Arnab. He took a crystal clear nationalist stand on the JNU issue and repeatedly rebuked the fashionable secular crowd. They have been bitterly complaining about him for a while now:
Arnab took their audience and spat on their agenda. Clearly, the frustration was building up for Rajdeep. Let me ask you a question Rajdeep. Watching Arnab Goswami breathe hellfire at JNU intellectuals in prime time TV, do you ever feel angry and powerless? Well, now you know how we felt when you refused to air the Cash For Votes sting…
But, the killing of Burhan Wani was the last straw and Arnab set the proverbial cat among the pigeons with this monologue titled #ProPakDovesSilent:
The unkindest cut of all came when Arnab directly mocked people who talk about Burhan Wani as “the son of a headmaster” rather than as a terrorist! The queen of Lutyens journalism was left stunned:
The ecosystem was left licking its wounds. Look who came out to join Barkha in her moment of grief:
A Mahagathbandhan in the making 🙂
And, for comic relief, look who’s begging for some TRPs 🙂 🙂 🙂
You’ll always be a kid, Rahul. Maybe your curse is in your first name 🙂
One needs to understand why the ecosystem is so rattled. They are unused to criticism. Criticism is a weapon that they have used so far as a weapon on orders from 10 Janpath. Or as part of a palace intrigue where one Congi tells his friends in corrupt media to tactically hurt the image of another Congi and so on…
The media complex is not used to people disagreeing with them. That’s why they are so enraged with social media. Millionaire journos working for Billion $$$ media corporations spend so much time vilifying smalltime Twitter users… and here Arnab brings the free market model to Mainstream media. The enemy is at the gates! See, they are even saying it directly. Arnab brought social media like dissent to Mainstream media:
They can’t believe that someone would go against the consensus in left liberal media. I can bet that even Arnab’s bosses at ToI are rattled and unhappy. They just can’t do anything about it because Arnab is a star who is raking in massive TRPs. This is the power of the market, folks!
In their shock, they shuffled around looking for reasons why the ground slipped under their feet. Some of the explanations they came up with are truly hilarious:
Awwww…he might not be able to travel to Pakistan! In Lutyens, that would be considered an unspeakable horror. Take the lollipop called Pakistani visa from someone like Barkha and she might start crying like a little girl…ROFL!
Poor Barkha Dutt, still unable to recover from her shock, decided to write a blog post explaining why she wrote her FB post against Arnab. ROFL! Mind you, Barkha, Arnab has just hit you once… and you are still convulsing.
Well, we know for a fact that Arnab Goswami does scare you, Madam … or else why would you move your show to 8 pm 🙂 ?
Now, about the “gagging” of journos. Did Arnab say that anywhere? Now that your show is at 8pm, you must have time to watch his really popular news show at 9pm primetime. He only said “expose them”. He didn’t ask anyone to intimidate, he only asked to expose.
But, you know what Barkha, you are right! Arnab didn’t say it explicitly, but it was obvious from his tone what he was really saying. He was saying that journos like you should be thrown in jail. Yes, I know you are clever enough to pick up the tone behind the words. Just like WE are clever enough to pick up the tone behind the words of your JNU thugs. Just like your JNU thugs never openly called for killing of CRPF and innocents by Maoists, but we can pick up from their tone what they are really saying. So just as you can accuse Arnab (perhaps rightly) of wanting to gag journos, we can rightly accuse your JNU thugs of supporting Maoists. Two can play this game, Madam…
Finally, I must make it a point to go on record about this: this post is not intended to be a paean to Arnab Goswami. I don’t know what Arnab really believes, just like I don’t really know what Barkha Dutt believes. All I know is that Arnab has decided to tap into the mass market which does not support “Bharat ki barbaadi”. It’s a business decision. Just like Barkha probably made a business decision to support …. through her reporting. What is her business model and who is funding it is something I leave to your imagination…
And Arnab is doing a damn good job. What is best is that he has understood the principle of maintaining minimum credibility. Transforming Times Now into a BJP mouthpiece like Zee News does no good. People just tune out. I am happy that Arnab brutally bashed up the BJP spokesperson last night over the traffic jam in Gurgaon. If you pick on BJP over the little things, you will have credibility when you bash the seculars on the big issues. The game of double standards has to played delicately. Well done, Arnab.
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PS: Here’s a little confession. As regular readers might have noticed, I didn’t blog on Thursday. I’d like to say that happened because I was busy, but that’s not the real story. The fact is that I simply chickened out 🙂 See, this whole Barkha vs Arnab thing was so juicy that I felt pressure. Pressure from all my readers to write something up to their expectations. I was scared of disappointing them. So, I chickened out on Thursday because I was worried my blog post wouldn’t be good enough. I’ve tried my best in the last two posts. I am hoping I have met at least some of your expectations.