Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Deer In The Headlights





I seldom watch ‘Frankly Speaking’ on Times Now. My pulse quickens, my head throbs and I am unable to sleep. What is the point of watching relentless accusations where you profess respect, but shut your opponents the moment they open their mouth? When the news anchor has a patience of a two year old, there isn’t much to take away, is there?

I did however watch the entire Rahul Gandhi interview and my vital parameters are normal, thank you. Though the onslaught of jokes in the aftermath of the interview has numbed my senses. 
If anything, this one-on-one raised more questions than answers.

Self-Goal Rahul seems to be a good person in the wrong place. It was evident that he is detached and shallow in his thinking about national issues. In his own words, he is an ‘anomaly’ in the system. For all we know, he could have been a brilliant photographer, a prolific painter or an amazing artist. Why, he could even be a sensitive social worker. But a politician, a leader or an administrator?
Hmm...

Faux-Live? Why call the interview LIVE when the interview was recorded on Saturday? Some journalists claim to have received the transcript an hour before the interview was supposedly telecast LIVE on Monday.So does this mean that the interview was edited? If yes, who gained from the editing? Rahul or Arnab? According to DNA, Jairam Ramesh and Priyanka prompted Rahul from behind the camera! For any discerning viewer it did appear as if Rahul was seeking reassurance from someone in the Jawahar Bhavan room.

No Personal Questions Please Why did Arnab not talk about Bofors or his brother-in-law? Perhaps, Arnab was equally foxed by the confused dignity of his guest. Or maybe, it was agreed that no personal questions about the family will be asked! Things seldom work unless there is a quid pro quo.

Selective Amnesia After the interview, the 1984 riot issue has exploded again on Times Now. Was it a ploy? And why talk about 1984 and 2002 only? We have witnessed more than fifty riots after independence.

According to an article in Outlook, that there have been “58 major communal riots in 47 places since 1967. Ten in South India, 12 in East, 16 in West and 20 in North India. Since 1964, Ahmedabad has seen five major riots and Hyderabad four. The 1990s saw the most riots in the last five decades: 23. The 1970s saw seven riots, the 1980s 14; the 2000s have seen 13. Total toll: 12,828 (South 597, West 3,426, East 3,581 and North 5,224). In 1964, a wave of rioting in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Jamshedpur and Rourkela killed 2,500.”
Yes, the wounds of 1984 and 2002 are fresh. Agreed, that the media needs to question accountability and demand justice. But why ignore all the other riots after independence?

Politics of Apology After Rahul, it is a given that Modi is next on the hot seat. He will be made to apologize for the mayhem of 2002. While I understand the relevance of an apology, will a half-hearted ‘sorry’ mumbled under the pressure of polls or a hostile anchor mean anything?
Unless the perpetrators are brought to justice, ‘Sorry’ is just a five letter word. Apologizing in the true sense means that you feel the pulse of victim’s pain as well as your own. Above all, a genuine 'Sorry' is about delivering justice. Everything else is hogwash.

Who Gained? The biggest gainers from the Rahul Gandhi interview are the BJP and Arnab Goswami. News is that Rahul will now be available for more such media interactions. But the first mover advantage is clearly Arnab’s.

What did I gain from the interview? Well,  those going to Cambridge and Oxford need not necessarily be good leaders. Or good anchors.

Picture: www.panoromio.com

48 comments:

  1. insightful analysis of the interview..i do agree with your opinion on the possibility of rahul gandhi being better at something else than what he has chosen for himself!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  2. Oh I am rather tired of all this RG interview discussion. Don't get what all the fuss is about. Everyone knew RG was gonna mess up and he did. Big deal!

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    1. I am too. But we need to take things beyond jokes on social media.

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  3. Rahul seems to be a good person in the wrong place.
    He is an unwilling heir apparent. Sonaiji should remember that she was unhappy when her late husband took a plunge into the cesspool of politics. Or he is just not vocal to express his thoughts/views.

    Selective Amnesia.
    All politicians go into (selective) amnesia whenever the occasion suits them . But Arnab (firing canon) should have prodded R.

    Deer caught in the headlights. The deer is scared/panicky that it loses its sense of direction and stands rooted in that position instead of running away.This is my thinking.

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    1. I was referring to the selective amnesia of the anchor. In fact most anchors. For them there were only two riots,84 and 2002.

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  4. Faux Live and no personal questions reek suspicious.(Times Now has my radars on ever since it got Smriti Irani to "de-bunk" the movie 'Love, Sex, Dhokha' as anti-tradition. So saffron, so paid!) I am not surprised by how the interview went. After all, were we not used to seeing RG talk funny/irrelevant before? Then, why would he agree to sit on the hot seat which is nothing short of a BBQ for his first-ever? I was also not used to seeing AG hold his horses that well. In fact, I have never heard him speak at normal decibels. He is loud, rude, caustic and demeaning. Something tells me it was all a facade. That the prince was given an opportunity to speak, which he did not grab. And the channel still managed to grab our eyeballs.
    It is us who have raised both the prince and the anchor to where they are today. I trust neither, even as I agree RG seems to be the right person in the wrong place.

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    1. You sum it up nicely. As always. This interview, it seems was recorded on Saturday but telecast LIVE on Monday!

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  5. So true, the part on the education was something I had on mind too. Was expecting a lot more from Thoroughbred. Even the part about personal questions, it was quite obvious that Arnab was steering clear of a lot of controversial issues.. might have been pre planned or pre-"dictated".... He was also rather nice to RaGa unlike how he is with the rest...
    Btw apt title, he indeed seems like one.. as always very well written :)

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    1. Thank you Seeta. You prompted me to write this one! Would love to read your version too.

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  6. Love it, Alka:) It's like the Har Seat ya Hot Seat of KBC without it being hot. Those attending Cambridge or Oxford need not necessarily be good leaders or anchors. So well said! Rahul is so confused as a politician, I feel, and like Sakshi said, certainly Arnab has not become a saint on TV or he met some Guru where he is redeeming himself. Very well written and love the humor. I love the inspiration I get from both Sakshi and you:)
    Thanks for commenting on my wordpress wala

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    1. Rahul, I believe is riding a tiger. Unfortunately he can't get away!
      Always a pleasure to read different views.

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  7. The interview was damp squib. Rahul was coached, flummoxed and answered as if he wasn't comprehending what was being asked. Of course, the crucial questions were kept out and the very fact that Arnab was so calm showed that he was treating his guest with kid gloves. News is all scripted these days. I didn't even watch it completely. Watched a bit on retelecast but lost interest soon. Why '84 and 2000 are brought up again and again is because of the two National parties, especially when they want to take digs at each other. Everything makes me sick.

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    1. If you fumble after ten years of coaching and prompting, well, there is nothing much to say. It backfired badly.

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  8. hhahaha I dont know what I gained. Maybe a few jokes on twitter. Nah..not even tht!
    Self induced amnesia it was btw!

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    1. My heart goes out to him. Politics is not his cup of tea.

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  9. Been a long time I watched any political interviews. This one I had to because of all the rage going on...man...I couldn't watch it more than 10 mins..there is no depth in what the guy says..I liked Sakshi's comment...have to agree with her..coming to Arnab, I think that's how most journalists or anchors are these days..
    I loved your analysis..always a joy to read your political posts..

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    1. Thank you. I was missing your presence here.

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  10. I tried watching his interview on You Tube and read the manuscript. To be frank, I flinched hearing him mouth big words when it is pretty apparent that he little idea about the real India for whom he has these lofty visions. I read somewhere that he was not aware that price rise was a big issue till he spoke to some women in Assam.

    Why would anyone want to elect such a leader who's so detached from reality?

    And now it has emerged that he had Priyanka Gandhi and Jairam Ramesh prompting him from behind the cameras.

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    1. You can't pretend to be an outsider in a system created by your own family!

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  11. Seriously, it did not strike me at all that no personal questions were asked. And honestly, I did not have the guts to watch the whole interview. I quit the half way. Surely the gain belongs to Arnab and BJP while the whole combination of youth, congress and politics come crashing down.

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    1. It was a self goal. But we are in for more such interactions!

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  12. I had read the manuscript of the interview and well Rahul did manage to answer a few questions well although yes, he did seem detached from reality.
    But again to be honest, can't square off a person based on an interview they do, more less have to see where he will be going with it these elections!

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    1. Good to see you here Danny. Long time.
      Yes, one interview cannot decide things. But this one on one reiterated that he is a good person in a wrong place. For him it is like riding a tiger, you can't get off even if you want to!

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  13. Nice post Alka-the riots of 1964 must have been awful.What is the sense of apologising if you can't deliver justice?

    I watched part of it on youtube but lost patience.
    RaGa might be a good person but he appears to be so dumb-going on and on about 'I will continue to raise questions even if-(who?) they beat me to death.Is that all he can do--raise questions ? Why did he not change the system in these confounding ten years?

    Ah,it is so disgusting!

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    1. You can't claim to be an outsider in a system built by your own family!
      Thank you Indu. Always good to see you here.

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  14. So many points to talk on here.
    Yes, he did seem like a deer stuck in the headlights, did he not? Being a good guy is one thing, but this felt like a man who had not prepared well for the viva, which was weird considering he was never under any pressure to actually go to a news channel to be interviewed till he was ready. A major mistake by his PR team.
    Definitely likely that there was a deal made before hand that would not allow Bofors or Vadra to come up in return for the exclusive... because both are an otherwise integral part of the family controversies.
    Perhaps more importantly, this 'event' has just showcase for the BJP exactly what not to do...dont allow Modi to go for any such interviews! Having watched Team Rahul shoot themselves in the foot, they know better than to be baited into doing the same.

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    1. So good to see you here after a long time. Thank you for reading the post. Modi once walked out from CNN interview when he was asked to apologize. When you put people in a spot and heckle them, they behave in different ways!

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  15. He is a good entertainer though :p

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  16. I tried watching the interview when it was shared on FB but some how didn't have that enthu after reading all mockery ! Rahul sure seems misplaced Alka. I too felt the same. You wrote it in a better way !
    I felt Oh Poor thing when I saw a cartoon where Sonia is dragging him to parliament.It might just be the fact.
    I liked the ending line :)
    good one

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  17. For me, he was very self absorbed throughout. All he had was few practiced answers and some terms that he tried fitting on everywhere. And Arnab, the lesser we say about him, the better...He works on preconceived notions.

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    1. Arnab comes with an opinion and his opponents can, well, curl up and die.

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  18. Even if the person shed heart wrenching tears while saying sorry for something that was done while he held the reins of administration, does it mean he's really sorry? And if he is innocent, then why should he say sorry in the first place, just because we must pay our obeisance to the host?
    Besides, if it is orchestrated, what does it mean anyway? They're minting money by selling hot potatoes. Where is the 'huge social responsibility of transformation' that media harps about?
    I remember that my parents have had similar views about Rajeev Gandhi, that he was a good man, that he was not a politician, but people, and his dynasty made him such. No one actually knows.
    Nevertheless, someone has rightly christened it 'Comedy Nights with Arnab' since he man-handles his guests because we derive sadistic pleasure out of it. Just like WWE, it might all be a paid affair anyway. That's entertainment for me.

    Nice post!

    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. I find some channels are only interested in sensationalizing one topic. They squeeze the last pip of the lemon and conveniently move on. Remember how they hounded Srinivasan after the IPL controversy and now no one talks about it. News has become ephemeral. National interests be damned.
      It is always a pleasure to read your views.

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  19. Hmm - We do seem caught between the devil and the deep, blue sea - with the brand-new knight in shining armor too keen on asking us how best to save ourselves instead of coming in with some plan of action to do so. I think that all of us better polish our "Incky-pinky-ponky" skills in time for the general elections. Wouldn't do to be asking the election officer "What comes after "Father had a ..." :P

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    1. The media response is disheartening Suresh. The responsible media sometimes behaves like tabloid press.

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  20. saying sorry for such ghastly acts is like an insult to the people in my opinion. Well written Alka.

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  21. It never was an interview.it was part of a 500 crore PR plan.unfortunately ,for congress and Rahul it has back fired on the,.
    Forget every other issue.....do they realise that 1984 Bhoot is out again by burying 2002 giving a clean edge to Modi.
    Does it also mean that,it being a ore recorded.those senior congressmen who watched it before telecast,did not realise what reaction will come from the people?

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    1. Interviews are a part of the PR exercise. Turned out to be a self goal.

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  22. Alka,

    A very honest assessment. Hope to catch up with pending posts soon.

    Take care

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  23. I liked the way you assessed the interview...I saw it myself..thought it was a waste of my time esp. all the hullabaloo that happened later

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