Speaking Truth to Opposition: A Historic Indian Invention
Star anchors deserve accolades for an invention no less awe-inspiring than our ancient ballistic missiles.
In this election season, India must demand global recognition for a unique and brave contribution it has made to television journalism. While our media has successfully adopted many welcome practices from global television media, such as the hilarious spectacle of the anchor and the panelists yelling simultaneously at the top of their voices, this special and historic contribution is truly original and merits international accolades. Although legions of television channels now masterfully practice this new form of journalism across the country, the two that stand out as pioneers and turned it into an everyday fine art are Times Now and Republic TV.
How I wish to see Arnab Goswami and Rahul Shivshankar walk up to a grand stage in London or New York and accept the awards with a patriotic glee on their otherwise frowning faces! None will fault them if they take Navika Kumar along too (No misogyny here please)! Before we talk about their patent-worthy journalistic invention, we must also add that the credit for their invention must also go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Had patriotic Indians not voted Modi to power in 2014, Indian media would never have accomplished a glorious feat such as this invention! Our beloved Prime Minister had created an environment in which Indian television anchors could dazzle the world with their boisterous originality.
It is crucial that the recognition should come before the results of the elections are out. In the unlikely and unfortunate event of Modi being replaced by an insufficiently Indian non-BJP government, the new genre of journalism so heroically invented by our media geniuses will die a natural death. This kind of fresh, deafening and spectacularly attractive journalism could thrive only when a great leader like Modi is in power. It is not something you can popularise when, say, someone ‘soft’ and ‘weak’ like Rahul Gandhi or Manmohan Singh is at the helm of affairs in the country. Mind you, you cannot do this new genre of journalism in any system other than a democracy in the throes of imminent death or at advanced stages of a terminal illness.
We have got accustomed to hearing hackneyed expressions like ‘speaking truth to power’ coming from the old world type journalists who know nothing about 21st century journalism. Our media heroes like Arnab and Rahul are not mediocre sickularlibtardpresstitutes who fall for these anachronisms. They are made of better hides and flexible conscience, such as those of the rhinos native to India (not foreign please). So they turned the old adage upside down and invented a new and exciting genre of television journalism around it: ‘Speaking truth to the opposition’.
‘Speaking truth to opposition’ may sound simple and easy, but it is not so. It requires rigorous training for journalists so they learn not to pay attention to the government in power and focus fully on the opposition parties, their leaders and their omissions and commissions. You must also come up with breaking news stories every evening discrediting the opposition, and line up a crowd of panelists capable of shouting out one another and the anchor. The panelist must also possess unusual skills to silence the morons (because agreeing to appear as a panelist on these shows is stupid and suicidal) who defend the hapless opposition. Finally, a journalist who questions the opposition day in and day out oblivious to the existence of a government must also work on thickening his or her skin every day, besting even the hide of the rhinos.
As proud patriotic Pakistan-bashing, cow-loving, beef-hating, lynch-fantasizing Indians, let us raise our voice and demand that the organizers of all the major journalism awards in the world take notice and recognize our dear fellow-journalists who added a phantasmagoric (sorry, no other word suffices here) chapter to modern journalism history. It is well-deserved and is the last in a long chain of spectacular Indian inventions dating back to the ancient days when we had invented plastic surgery and ballistic missiles. ‘Speaking truth to opposition’ must occupy a pride of place in the history of journalism, and Modi should get special credit for being the Chowkidar who guarded this invention tirelessly. 'Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai' (‘Modi makes it possible') is no empty slogan!
While granting the awards to the three mighty names of Indian media, Arnab of course deserves to be the first. After all, he actually invented it with Navika Kumar in tow, while Rahul turned it into a legendary practice, again with Navika Kumar in tow. More importantly, Arnab on March 31, alas not April 1, added another first to journalism history. In his famed Sunday debate on March 31, he conducted a masterful discussion with an army of about ten panelists, all drowning out the voices of the others along with the anchor. I was unable to endure the ordeal in full and to understand what the points (if any) the panelists and the anchor made. During the 10 or 15 minutes I watched, I noticed the topic displayed on the screen was Arnab’s interview with Modi. However, when I heard (barely), I realized the actual topic was even more important: Arnab himself.
‘Arnab’ made the only point I could comprehend in the din as he can always outshout the other shouters. He told the nation (he said 200 million Indians watch his show) that he is a good journalist. He must be a good journalist, as I cannot think of any other journalist who turned himself into the topic of his journalism! In any case, I had better agree with him lest he should hand me a certificate of sedition!
Shajahan Madampat is a writer and cultural commentator writing in both English and Malayalam.