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Friday, April 9, 2010

Arnabism : An Emerging Trend In The Media

@venkatananth: RT @priyaramani: Arnab goswami would have been a star in the mccarthy era

As is obvious I found this particular tweet quite interesting but I must also say that it got me thinking if we were being unfair to McCarthy. He was after all an American Senator, a politician of the 1950's when Cold War had just begun and the West lived in mortal fear of being taken over by the commies. He was just taking advantage of this fear and trying score political points. Almost all political parties in India have done something similar at one time or the other and continue to do so unabashedly.

What we are witnessing can perhaps be termed as "arnabism".


The reference of course is to Arnab Goswami, TimesNow's star interrogator. Oops! I mean "interviewer/talk show host". Just the day before, I found him demand panelists to declare "Which side are you in?" The context, of course was the recent massacre of CRPF jawans and policemen by the Naxalites in Dantewada district of Chattisgarh which has indeed shocked the nation. This heinous act deserves a separate post,the focus of this post is on "Arnabism".

What is Arnabism ?
It is basically a media phenomenon wherein the moderator/anchor/host of a talk show, whose responsibility it is to coordinate the debate in a non-partisan manner, discards all pretensions of neutrality or even propriety and assumes the role of an interrogator, badgering panelists, many of whom are usually experts in their respective fields, to kowtow his line of argument. Generally, the topic in question is related to national security, a highly emotive issue for viewers as well as panelists, as usual neocon tirade can hardly face opposition in this context.

However, Arnab's take on Naxalites is what sets him apart from others. While every news agency, commentators condemn Naxalite violence unequivocally, some have been exceptionally loathsome in using language which even the government wont, Arnab Goswami seems to have taken it upon himself to eliminate not only the Maoist militants but also their alleged "sympathizers". According to him (as it seems), anyone who refuses to condemn the Naxalites as terrorists, and does not support complete annihilation of the Maoists is a sympathizer of the Red Ultras and by extension is also an accomplice and deserves the same treatment that are reserved for the terrorists.

Bleeding heart liberals  Arundhati Roy, Medha Patkar and the like have been particularly targeted by the neocon intellectuals for their sympathetic attitude towards the rebels. Now, I personally have not been sympathetic to Arundhati Roy, in fact I have disliked some of  her statements made in different contexts, but I cannot in anyway accuse her of treason, simply because I don't like her political view. As far as I know, she or any of the deemed "bleeding heart liberals/sympathizers" have not actively supported the armed rebellion, their contention has mostly revolved around allegations of government's apathy towards the tribal, exploitation and police brutality.

Now, most of us know that there is some truth to these allegation but armed uprising , war against the state is not a solution or nor even a tolerable idea. As members of the democratic state that India is, we, as citizens cannot but react when a war has been imposed upon us, even if the perpetrators come from within our midsts. But, that does not mean that our prime time television news reporters assume the role of vigilante, baying for the blood of the rebels, accusing individuals of treason and start a new trend which empowers everyone sitting on the news desk to take suo motto cognizance of offense, try it themselves and pass judgments- all within an hour. Such a trend would be dangerous.

..Wait!!! hasn't this trend already begun ?  Its called Arnabism :P

P.S: In case Mr. Goswami comes snooping, I would request him to read up my previous posts before declaring me a Naxalite sympathizer !!! He might have woken up to the problem recently (which would also explain his rage)  but I have been writing on Naxal threat since more than 5 years..... :)

     

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