The TRP ratings of NDTV are at an all-time low as Times Now has surged way ahead in becoming the most watched English news channel. Add to this the out-in-the-open fight between Arnab Goswami & Barkha Dutt – two journalists whose careers have moved drastically in opposite directions – & one can understand why NDTV is feeling the heat & attempting to malign Arnab & Times Now.
A few days back NDTV’s Shekhar Gupta interviewed Mukesh Ambani on the sidelines of the Jio launch. A journalist from the audience asked the business tycoon, “What do you watch at 9?” To this Mukesh replied, “I watch Arnab & I like him quite a bit.” Nothing could have been more embarrassing for NDTV & particularly Barkha Dutt, even though she wasn’t present at the function. This is another example of how NDTV has completely lost acceptance not only amidst the masses but even in the elite section of our society.
Taking her enmity with Arnab to a whole new level, Barkha Dutt recently wrote & I quote – ‘Times Now calls for gagging of media & for journalists to be tried & punished. This man is a journalist? I am ashamed to be from the same industry as him. What’s striking is his brazen & cowardly hypocrisy. So he drones on & on about pro-Pakistan doves without one word on the J&K alliance agreement that commits the BJP & PDP to talk with Pakistan & Hurriyat & is silent on Modi’s own Pakistan outreach – neither of which I object to – but since Arnab Goswami measures patriotism by such views why is he so silent on the government? Chamchagiri?’
Let’s see how all this began –
- After the JNU row, Barkha Dutt entertained the ideas of Kanhaiya & even gave him a platform to voice his anti-societal & anti-national views. She did this because she wanted to target the Modi government over the arrest of Kanhaiya. In response (like any nationalist would) Arnab took a strong anti-Kanhaiya stand & verbally exposed the faces of the anti-India campaign in the university. He also questioned (although not by naming) Barkha Dutt for supporting Kanhaiya & the politicians who had very conveniently joined Kanhaiya’s side.
- Then these pro-Kanhaiya journalists & supporters primarily of AAP & Congress took to twitter to spread derogatory trends against Arnab, in response to which pro-Modi supporters backed him by calling him a nationalist & trending in his favour.
- Ever since, Barkha Dutt has questioned Arnab’s ‘allegiance’ to the BJP. Arnab, on the other hand, has repeatedly termed the likes of Barkha Dutt as pseudo-seculars who come out in support of anything that is pro-Pakistan. He even mocked her on News Hour recently for her taking a trip to the border & clicking pictures with BSF men.
Barkha Dutt has found her existence as a journalist a tough road ever since Narendra Modi became the prime minister. And this is not because he used his power to undermine her, but simply because her decade long fascination of targeting Narendra Modi at the behest of Congress bore no fruit whatsoever. She can’t stand this, & so she voices her support for anyone – whether it’s terrorists like Burhan Wani or stone-pelters or anti-India sloganeers – if it means questioning Narendra Modi.
But nothing is constant. There was a time when majority of news channels were rabidly pro-Congress & had great say & viewership in society. Today, the tables have turned. Even though such channels exist (NDTV leading the pack), they are fewer in number & largely insignificant due to shift of viewership to an unbiased & more nationalistic discourse.