Folks, it’s finally happened. The Indian media has finally been split open. In 1991, we got freedom from a Soviet style monopoly based economy. But many of the pillars of the Left remained standing, above all the cartels in academia, in media and in the so called intelligentsia.
For a while, the old elite class actually had it much better. With liberalization, a lot of new money flowed into the Indian economy and suddenly the rewards were much bigger. For the elites, oligarchy actually worked better than Communism.
Now, Mameluk intellectualism has always been a lucrative career pursuit, as you can find out easily by reading Arun Shourie’s books. But as outrageous as those cases of systematic academic corruption were, you cannot help notice that the amounts of money were often in the low thousands of rupees. Even adjusted for inflation, the payoffs weren’t massive.
But, the post 1991 era brought real, big money into the economy. The ruling class was no longer handing out few thousand rupees scholarships to its water carriers, now the ruling class could offer glitzy foreign trips on government jets! When an initial bout of insecurity over liberalization brought down the Vajpayee government in 2004, the sun *really* began to shine brightly on these Mameluks. Now they could be dalals in billion dollar scams. One can imagine that the payoffs too would be massive!
As I said, for a certain class of people, oligarchy was much more profitable than the Communism of old.
This dream went sour in 2014. The Prime Minister’s aeroplane went off limits for newstraders. This was only the flagship move of a deeper change in the power corridors of Delhi, as you can see Ms. Dutt complaining about bitterly here:
It is remarkable how openly Barkha Dutt admits that while RG and SG were “inaccessible” and had a terrible record on censorship, what really sucks is that Modi has cut off their “inside access” to the establishment. Of course Barkha brings up the PM’s plane ..and then immediately claims that it doesn’t matter. Surely it matters to YOU Barkha, or why else would you bring up the PM’s aeroplane at all? ROFL!
The other remarkable part in this conversation is when Barkha tells Madhu Trehan that no one talks to journos any longer and then immediately admits “except for the Press Secretary” 🙂 Wh-what? So, the Press Secretary IS talking to you! That’s his JOB! He/She is doing his JOB! The Press Secretary is doing his job of talking to presswallahs like you and every other official is simply doing his/her own job. So, what are you complaining about? Ah, I know…you are complaining about the fact that other people are not giving you insider information like they used to. Ha, I read this somewhere:
When you get used to special treatment, equal treatment can feel like an imposition.
Yes, Barkha, you have become so used to special treatment that being treated like an ordinary citizen feels like censorship to you. You have gone so far down the road that you probably no longer realize that the government does not owe you a damn thing extra…your NDTV identity card does not allow you privileged access to any information. I am an ordinary Indian citizen and so are you. I do not expect top government officials to feed me insider information. Why should you? Because you work for a private organization called NDTV? LOLOL…
Get used to it Barkha. You are one of us. Yes, just one of 1.2 billion Indian citizens. How does that feel? Like a grave insult, no? Get used to it…
If you want special treatment Barkha, you will now have to go across the border where your admirers are waiting to roll out the red carpet (or green, as may be appropriate)
As I was saying, in the UPA years, the media got to keep its cartel like monopolistic quality. There were a zillion times when I sat looking at the television screen, fuming, wishing there was a way I, an ordinary person, could make my voice heard. But there was nothing I could do. There were millions of other Indians across the country who felt the same, helpless in front of a liberal media that spoke in one united voice on every single issue. And that united voice was always the same, more unfair stigmatization of the BJP/RSS worldview, more Muslim appeasement and the most blatantly unfair double standards on evaluating the political scene.
When the Radia tapes broke all over social media, I remember it was a good two weeks before any media organization made even a blurb about it. Meanwhile social media was on fire. And even then, Barkha got herself “acquitted” with a mock trial on NDTV in front of her friends on her own terms. Please don’t think that this article is all about Barkha. If anything, I actually sympathize with her a little on the Radia story…at least Barkha Dutt was hit by a little mud. A lot of other journos got away scott free without the slightest taint. This was the Orwellian face of Indian media, united against the people.
Then, of course, there was the cash for votes scandal during UPA-I’s vote of confidence in 2008 and Rajdeep’s amazing charlatan act. A sting that they refused to air. A sting on members of Parliament being offered bribes to vote in a crucial confidence motion. Of course, it was a sign of the spectacular incompetence of the BJP leadership that they had given the story to CNN-IBN. What were you thinking, Advaniji? I can only imagine how hard they laughed in Lutyens that night.
More helplessness for the common Hindu. Helpless before big media and big government.
You have to have lived through those despairing years of 2004-2014 to realize how good it feels to see the media cartel ruptured brutally by Arnab Goswami. I wouldn’t say that Modi himself caused this rupture, I would just say that his arrival was a huge catalyst. The power of the Dynasty to give out favors being drastically reduced and their future looking real bleak, this had to happen.
Someone had to notice that with the gravy train from upstairs in Lutyens grinding to a halt, the media would have to go to the people. And media would have to work as a market instead of a cartel.
And that man was Arnab Goswami, right man at the right time. Honestly, I don’t even know what Arnab believes. I don’t care. All I know is that he is the first person (at least in English language media) to realize that if you want the masses to tune in, you will have to think like the masses do. No, the Indian masses do not cry buckets when some stone pelter or terrorist is shot down by the Army in Kashmir. The Indian people don’t actually give a damn about how Pakistan feels. Unlike media barbies, we do not have “good friends” in Rawalpindi and Islamabad and Karachi. We do not get nostalgic and emotional walking the streets of Lahore because we have never been there and do not expect to find anything there that is worth aspiring to. And we are not paid to hypocritically support Maoists in the jungles of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh while enjoying our bungalows in Delhi. So, we don’t care for your “Bharat ki barbaadi” chants. I went to college too. Fully paid by the government. I was focused on my career. I had neither the leisure nor the desire to sit there plotting the downfall of the Indian state.
It took a while, but the rupture in the media had to happen. The market has finally arrived. Update your bearings, Barkha. The PM’s plane will remain off limits in the foreseeable future. And there is NO MARKET for your anti-Hindu, anti-Indian bullshit here in India. The market always arrives and the market always wins. As Dr. Singh used to say, “No force in the world can stop an idea whose time has come”.
It’s time to join us, Barkha and all you out there in Lutyens. It’s time to come join the rest of us and make a living on the free market. You’re welcome.
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