Shouting Indian News Anchors Trio: Arnab, Barkha & Sagarika

The I&B ministry commissioned the mother of all surveys on the media. It covered humans, whales and loan sharks. AJITH PILLAI scoops the findings……

..3. What should the government do with leaders who walk out of TV studios like Mamata Banerjee did?
 
60%: Set up a finishing school that teaches leaders to complete shows and not walk off in a huff….
4. In your view what would happen if Arnab Goswami of Times Now raises his pitch any higher/shriller?
 
60%: He will break the sound barrier and would be talking before actually speaking.
20%: He might be used as a special effect voice in heavy metal albums…
5. Who should be Arnab’s co-host?
 
60%: Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose. They can shout at each other with Mani Shankar Aiyar and Cyrus Bharucha joining them to give the viewer’s a break…..
9 . Is it right for the government to allow senior editors to fight in public against each other?
 
60%: That’s better than the Big Fight on TV
20 %: If they agree who will be the aggrieved?…
Read the full article on The HootGovt poll: how is the media doing?
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Why Indian Mainstream Meda Wants Social Media Dead

In recent times Herman Cain, an Afro-American candidate, pulled out of the race for the Republican party’s nomination for US Presidential election in 2012. Three women from his past had alleged sexual harassment by Cain which eventually forced him to abort his campaign. In contrast, Abhishek Manu Singhvi (AMS), MP and Congress spokesman, resigned on April 23 from various posts after his alleged sexual adventures were leaked through a video on the internet. That was enough for the Mainstream Media (MSM) and even PCI Chairman, Justice Katju, to start screaming for controls over the social media. The sex CD which involves AMS and a female lawyer was reportedly made by AMS’s driver and according to AMS was “fake, doctored and morphed”. How a driver went to Darbangha (Bihar) and found enough money and support and morphed a tape will remain a technological wonder for a long time. His alleged motives are “dog-bites and low pay”. Seriously, many of us may complain about our salaries but going to the extent of morphing our bosses into sex videos is taking even revenge too far.

 The case was brought to public light not by the driver or by the MSM or by the social media. It came to prominence when AMS filed a police complaint against the driver and got an injunction from the Delhi HC against airing of the CD. On what basis the HC gave the injunction is another mystery and it almost sounds like pre-screening. Naturally, people wanted to know what was on the CD and what the facts were. This is where the MSM failed as it completely blacked-out the story. The court had stayed airing of the CD and not the reporting of the story. It was then that the story spread like wildfire on Twitter, Facebook and other social media and finally parts of the CD were uploaded by some on the internet.

 In response to the public clamour for the story Rajdeep Sardesai even responded by calling them “EternalVoyeurs”. Such is his disdain for ordinary people. Rajdeep also asked why the Opposition was silent over the issue, as if they, or any political voice, should determine what the press or media should be reporting and discussing. A dead give-away.
Even so, when the cookie finally crumbled, the MSM wasn’t discussing the AMS sex incident, they were busy debating whether ‘Internet is above the courts’ (For uploading the CD against the court injunction) and some like Justice Katju andSagarika Ghose were discussing ways and means to ‘check’ the social media.
Nothing would please our MSM (and some politicians) more than to see the death of social media. It has come to challenge their monopoly, their bias, their spins, their lies, and their selective reporting. In the US the Internet media has seen the death of many newspapers and quite a few TV channels. Some 300 newspapers have died in a small country like UK. Unlike print and TV, social media requires the regular MSM and public figures to be interacting with people sensibly which is where they have failed in India. Public opinions can be suppressed in newspapers and TV but not on the social media. So while raging against the people on the social network and wanting to desperately ‘check’ them the Indian media really needs to understand the way social media works and harness it productively and profitably. Comments under the post “Media as cover-up artist for Seedy Singhvi” will reveal how even keen news-watchers were totally unaware of the AMS incident. That is how successfully the MSM blacked-out the story.
The Internet wasn’t created in India. The Internet didn’t evolve in India. None of the major social media engines were created in India. For all its other problems the US still remains a country with absolute freedom of speech. President, Pope and even religion are no exceptions to such freedoms. Books are not banned and books can be burned. Nazi group marches through Jewish localities to offend them is allowed. Protests at funerals against dead ‘gay’ soldiers, in bad taste, are allowed.Bad taste is not a crime. Therefore, for Internet and social media to thrive in the US environment wasn’t as big a challenge as it is in India. Mind you, the same laws that punish defamation or illegal activities otherwise also apply to social media in the US. It does in India too. It is just that in India free-speech is largely reserved for the powerful and the MSM. Now that the situation is changing it’s causing unease among many in the media and politics. US citizens over many years have grown used to and cherished their freedom of speech. Most of them know what to believe and what to ignore. The Indian govt and media simply doesn’t trust ordinary people to have the good judgement over issues.
Courtesy: Ravinar & Media Crooks (http://www.mediacrooks.com)
If the AMS CD was uploaded on the net it was because the media didn’t discuss it. It got uploaded because people generally believed that this level of gagging by a court and black-out by MSM can only mean there is truth in the story. That a prominent lawyer like AMS would seek an injunction and instead of continuing the FIR against the alleged conspirator reach a settlement with him further reinforces the belief that the CD is neither morphed nor doctored. Apart from the frivolous discussion; “Is Internet above courts” on CNN-IBN (who else but Sagarika Ghose?) and other channels, NDTV even discussed if ‘India is going the US way’ on the media issue. Among participants on NDTV was Shoma Chaudhury, editor of Tehelka, a near-gossip tabloid, and the same tabloid that famously used call girls to do their jobs. That is enough said for morality in media.
If there is evil in the social media, it is prevalent elsewhere too, particularly in the MSM and politics. It is how we respond to it that counts. It is not easy for someone to survive in the social network by constantly peddling lies and misleading information. In Indian media it is definitely possible and sometimes it even seems they are paid for it. For those screaming about morals so much in the MSM there is an example of a prominent journalist Keith Olberman who was suspended from his channel, MSNBC, for a small but undeclared donation he made to politicians. In contrast people like Barkha Dutt are celebrated in our media despite established wrong-doings. In the US Barkha Dutt would have been permanently trashed and out of the media for good. So people like Rajdeep Sardesai would do well not to sermonise on morality, which he often does. The likes of Shoma Chaudhary, Sonia Singh (NDTV), Sagarika Ghose should also be frequently reminded of the sordid NOTW affair in UK. That tabloid is what much of Indian MSM should be compared to and not values of ‘Freedom of speech’.
In the last US presidential election Youtube was successfully used by CNN to allow ordinary people to put questions to the candidates and have them debate the issues. Many other clips from Youtube are also used by US news channels in their reports. Why Indian media cannot find productive use for social media other than promoting egos of individual journalists is simply the fear of sharing their turf. Forget harnessing social media productively, the frequency with which our news channels twist and manipulate tweets to suit their agenda actually amounts to abuse of social media by them.
The MSM perceives a loss to the social media on the issue of AMS, his sexcapade and his final resignation. This is hardly the truth. Social media did not bring AMS down. In the final scene of the movie ‘All the President’s men’ WaPo editor Ben Bradley chides Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein thus: “You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit”. That’s right half the US didn’t know and didn’t give a shit till Nixon finally resigned. That was despite tremendous coverage by the Washington Post and a few more newspapers. Here we are, an entire MSM blacking out the AMS story and they want the world to believe it is the evil of social media that has to be ‘checked.
Social media didn’t bring AMS down. He brought himself down with his dirty deeds, social media just showed the courage that MSM did not just as Woodward and Bernstein didn’t bring down Nixon on their own. MSM, and Justice Katju, would do well to partner social media rather than try to check it. If ever ‘Power to the people’ made sense in a democracy it is Social Media. Celebrate it!

India’s Worst Journalists – 2012 by Media Crooks Ravinar !!!

  Me, Myself & I….Barkha Dutt

For the second time in a row Barkha retains her position as India’s worst journalist in the poll, by a whopping margin.

POLL – INDIA’S WORST JOURNALISTS – 2012

Arnab Goswami
  302 (32%)
Ashutosh (IBN7)
  181 (19%)
Barkha Dutt
  705 (75%)
Karan Thapar
  350 (37%)
Kumar Ketkar
  268 (28%)
  247 (26%)
Nikhil Wagle
  237 (25%)
  163 (17%)
  436 (46%)
  540 (57%)
  419 (44%)
Shiv Aroor
  142 (15%)
Sonia Singh
  195 (20%)
Vinod Sharma
  414 (44%)
Vir Sanghvi
  333 (35%)
The previous edition of India’s Worst Journalist in 2010 on this site (Media Crooks)  still remains one of the most popular posts and also a very widely reproduced one. Over the last decade or so our journalists have come to be held in the same contempt that is usually reserved for politicians. Many of them have simply forgotten the art and science of the profession and this is a serious tragedy for aspiring journalists. How they came to such a pass is a long story. The most prominent ones are not even journalists anymore; they are ‘Editorialists’ whose main job is to swing public opinion one way or another. Add to this the epidemic of ‘paidnews’ and some of our news channels and newspapers would be nothing more than Bollywood or Commercials. After all, didn’t the late Christopher Hitchens say: “I became a journalist because one didn’t have to specialise”.

Some prominent faces from the 2010 roll of honour have dropped out. Vinod Mehta has retired from active journalism and remains Chairman of Outlook. We wish him well. Suzy Roy has moved from part-time lie-mongering to full-time Maoist-Hurriyat sympathiser. ‘Pastiwalas’ are over-joyed at the ever growing size and weight of her 50+ page essays – they’re the only ones handling them now.Prannoy Roy was also dropped. He is now more into barbeque chats than any serious attempts at journalism. Even elections don’t arouse him. But there are some new faces with the old ones. Polling for IWJ ended today and thanks to all those who voted. So here are the winners from the poll, the list of India’s Worst Journalists-2012 from the poll results. Their 2010 ranking is indicated after their name:
10. Large & Larger..Nidhi Razdan, NDTV (New entry): She has come to prominence more for many reasons other than journalistic skills. ‘Left, right, centre’ is her signature programme and happens to be one of those mindless debates on every topic under the sun. She is proof that you can be an expert on everything with specialisation in nothing. The best part of Nidhi? Now, don’t get me wrong, she likes everything large. Whenever confounded by a brilliant argument or point by a panellist she quickly jumps to her favourite line “let’s look at the LARGER picture”. One would have thought that debates are meant to look at the finer small details. No, not with Nidhi, the larger picture is a convenient exit. Training from NDTV helps. My prediction for this debutant is that she is likely to go higher up in the list in the future.

9. Friendly five member…Kumar Ketkar (New entry): Somewhere a brief bio about Ketkar says “He started his life as an active communist worker of the Lal Nishan Paksh (Red flag party)”. Now why is that not so surprising? And that also explains Ketkar somewhat. He is also reported to be a former speech writer during elections for Congress members. Isn’t that an accomplishment any journalist would be proud of? He has been mostly a Marathi journalist and last heard he is editor of Divya Marathi. A respected veteran, he was one of the privileged Five invited to a private press meet of PM Manmohan Singh around June 2011. Ever since, it has been downhill. He achieved his right to be on this list through his performances as a panellist. What can I say? I hope being a veteran he doesn’t appear here in the future.

8. Your Banal…Arnab Goswami, TimesNow (2010 #3): There can be no denying that Arnab is one of the rare patriots among journalists. Almost every one wishes our judiciary could be as quick and decisive as Arnab is. Which is the reason I conferred him the title ‘Justice Arnab’. His performance on TimesNow has definitely battered ratings of NDTV and CNN-IBN. Pick up any scam, any scandal Arnab can throw the documents at you. IB, RAW, GOI have no escape – all documents and papers have to pass through Arnab. Sometime back I remarked: Most of us wake up in the morning and want Coffee or Tea! Not Arnab, he just wants ‘answers’. Such are the never-ending questions he has. Much before Arnab became a journalist the rock band U2 wrote a song for him – “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. They were the only ones to anticipate all the unanswered questions he’d come up with. Undeniable fact is that Arnab has dropped from #3 in 2010 to #8 in 2012 on this list. That is proof of his ever-growing popularity. He can out-shout anyone in this world. Anyone, except Meenakshi Lekhi and Smriti Irani.

7. Fine WhINES…Vir Sanghvi
 (2010 #9): I honestly don’t have any idea whatsoever what Sanghvi currently does. I don’t even see him on any Cookery or Foodie show. He must be doing something to merit an appearance on this list again, at a higher position even. Radiagate has damaged him far more than any other journalist, which is unfortunate. He managed to surface sometime back on his home channel NDTV claiming the Radia tapes were doctored and weren’t authentic and were tested by reliable foreign forensic labs. Nobody bought that though. Sometimes, a wayward journalist, at his peak, forgets simple decency. Sanghvi will forever be haunted with two things: Radiagate and the fact that he called Narendra Modi a ‘mass-murderer’. He will regret both episodes. Had it not been for Modi ignoring his stupid outburst Vir Sanghvi would have been in prison writing a cookery book or his autobiography titled “Fine Whines!”.

6. No facts, please….Karan Thapar (2010 #4): Readers must remember that every journo looks tall in the studio but not in actual life. KT is not blessed with stature and the same goes for his journalism. One can say he has improved a bit but still retains the unwanted scowl and growl when interviewing people. Madhu Trehan in her NewsLaundryinterview showed up KT for the little puppy he was. Like the ones who just need a hug and a cuddle once in a while. And if you thought you knew nothing about KT, never mind. All you have to do is hear his signature line on his promo for his show on CNN-IBN: “I don’t want to go into the facts, the facts are disputed”. LOL! Facts are disputed? You have to undo a lot of learning to understand that facts aren’t factsand can be disputed. The worst job KT did in 2011 was massaging Kapil Sibal’s brazen attempt at pre-screening content on the internet. As if that wasn’t enough he pulled out Brajesh Mishra, former NSA, out of nowhere to call serving army chief, Gen. VKSingh, the worst ever chief of army in history. My prediction: As long as he is in the business, KT will be on this list.

5. Wheres the smirk?….Vinod Sharma (New entry): For those who don’t know, Vinod Sharma is the political editor of Hindustan Times. That’s right, ‘Political’ is the key word – less of an editor and more of a politician. It’s not very hard to recognise VS on a friendly channel. He has made the ‘smirk’ more popular than child-molester DGP Rathore on television. Sharma has also been acknowledged by many political spokespersons and viewers as the most loyal spokesperson of the Congress party. No matter what the scam or what the scandal you can expect him to staunchly defend even the worst misdeeds of the Congress by blaming it on the opposition or anyone else he can lay his hands on. The one chance to get him off TV for longer periods was a Rajya Sabha ticket, when Shobana Bhartiya, his boss at HT exited, but that unfortunately didn’t happen. So we’re going to be stuck with VS for quite a while. His best moment in recent times was during the debate over Gen. VK Singh and the Tatra trucks scam. He was angry that the debate was going one way (in favour of Gen. Singh) so had to somehow twist it against the tide. In his business time VS writes a blog titled ‘Separated at birth’. I guess that refers to some Pakistani connection or maybe his journalistic independence was separated at birth. Someday we’ll find out.

4. He’s no Egghead…Shekhar Gupta (2010 #10): When he appeared on the last list, a fan of Gupta wrote in stating he will email my post to SG for his response. I was wondering whether that fan objected to SG being at #10 and wanted him to be lower on the list. I guess that fan’s prayers are answered. SG has sunk further in the rankings and his Indian Express is almost on doles from the govt. His senseless programme ‘Walk the talk’ , the equivalent of ‘Koffee with Karan’ or ‘On the couch with Koel’, continues on NDTV but what sunk SG the most is his misadventure with an article on Army troop movements. In his quest to please SG’s UPA, this SG splashed a headline in IE that nearly implied the army, led by Gen.VK Singh, may have dreamt of a coup. Worse, there have been reports that the troop movement story was stale and SG’s version was actually a plant by a union minister. SG laid an egg alright but ended up with more on his face. He will forever be credited with reducing a fiercely independent newspaper like IE to a mouthpiece of a political party. His permanent place on this list is forever assured.

3. I washed my hands in the Hammam…..Rajdeep Sardesai (2010 #6): Hmmm! The guy is making progress alright. I have always maintained there are two Rajdeeps – One on TV and one off it. Whenever he is off TV his conscience strikes and one can hear a sane person, sometimes profound, sometimes emotional. But his character loses focus in front of the camera. Recently, he lamented on Twitter about being abused as a’Muslim whore and a Motherf$#!#*’. Bad, but the kind of abuse of journalistic ethics that Rajdeep has frequently allowed under his watch is far more serious. He has even given the media the right to ‘conduct hearings’ against personalities. While he wonders about ‘image makeovers’ for others, there is no way he can ever get past the Cash4Votes bungling or the terribly biased reporting on Gujarat riots. His 2007 conduct of an HT Summit which featured a key speaker reflects a character of pathetically low moral values and journalistic ethics. And to top that he defended the tainted Radiagate journalists and was rightly ‘slapped’ by his own community. Death of decent journalism owes a small debt to him. He has rightly earned the nick name ‘Hammamboy’!

2. If it’s Friday, it must be…Sagarika Ghose (2010 #2): Ms. Cacofonixstays where she was: at No.2. You can’t fault Sagarika for not trying hard enough to be India’s worst journalist. She has made every effort in the recent past to get to #1. Journalism gives her a bad name. For her truly pathetic and fraudulent ‘live’ show with SriSri she would have been sacked from any TV channel in the world. That in itself is a reflection of the ethics and morals practiced at CNN-IBN by her and her boss Rajdeep Sardesai. You can imagine the skulduggery behind all other programmes and debates. And if that wasn’t enough she misses no chance to prove she is a ‘journalistic bimbo’ by mindless tweets on the social network. Be it about ‘ugly Indian males’, or Orange being a colour in our national flag or sending out a Good Friday greeting and withdrawing it she is truly the court-jester of Indian journalism. What can I say? Better luck next time!

1. Me, Myself & I….Barkha Dutt (2010 #1): For the second time in a row Barkha retains her position as India’s worst journalist in the poll, by a whopping margin. The only road to redemption is apologising for past blunders. While she and another one have been vocal in demanding apologies and expressions of remorse from public figures the same standard doesn’t seem to apply to her. No matter what she does the taint of Radiagateand many other indiscretions are unlikely to disappear. The accusations of causing deaths in Kargil or in 26/11 are also going to linger.  She is probably the only news celeb on TV that has a ‘wardrobe sponsor’. All the image makeovers may not help much. Most of us have held Rahul Gandhi for the Congress’ UP election disaster but Barkha and NDTV must be credited with the disaster too. No one has singularly promoted RG and his cause and almost turned him into India’s saviour till the engine got derailed. Her penchant for Pakistani politics and politicians is another thing that disgusts many viewers. In the meantime her language keeps getting better and better. In a recent tweet she responded to sarcasm with: “… ‘Nazi Dogs’ .. if ever language betrayed desperation of loser, it is here…” Losers or not, with over 70% of the votes polled, Barkha is the absolute winner here. Cheers!
So there you are. Let’s also not forget that are many journalists who now increasingly seem to be anti-nationals. Their ties to Ghulam Nabi Fai aren’t even being investigated by the govt. Industry leaders usually raise the standards of performance of the industry as a whole. The opposite seems to be true in the media. Systematically, many of India’s journalists have brought the profession to rock bottom over the years. I continue to maintain, they are the greatest threat to our democracy.
(Courtesy: Ravinar at Media Crooks.com)

 Parting Shot:

April 10 – The Day News Media Died

In ever loving memory of the conscience and careers of:

Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Teesta Setalvad, Shabnam Hashmi, Harsh Mandar, Mallika Sarabhai, Mukul Sinha, Sanjeev Bhatt, Nidhi Rasdan, Sagarika Ghose, Praful Bidwai, Javed Anand, Javed Akhtar, Manish Tewari, Prannoy Roy, Vir Sanghvi, Vinod Sharma, Cedric Prakash, Hosbet Suresh, Arnab Goswami, Dipak Parasher, Ashutosh, Nikhil Wagle, Kumar Ketkar, Rahul Sharma, Sreekumar, Karan Thapar, Shoma Chaudhary, Ashish Khetan, John Dayal.. And Many More Nameless Faces
Never has there been a prolonged campaign of calumny against a single individual as the one carried out by our media and certain sponsored activists. All of that came to an end on April 10. The report of the Special Investigation Team(SIT) finally established there was no evidence that Narendra Modi was involved in the Gujarat riots of 2002. The decade long campaign of evil finally died a gruesome death. Some of the most prominent names in the media also died a symbolic death. We remember those names and many more and pray that in the death of the news media there will be newer ones who will find their conscience.
(Courtesy: Ravinar at Media Crooks.com)