(This post was made on August 31. Since then the media skeletons don't seem to stop tumbling out. Some of the faces here are prominently connected in various scams including the Nira Radia tapes. I thought an update to this post may not be a bad idea. Updates made on November 26 are in Red.)
India's 10-Worst Journalists: In a very 'scientific' poll conducted by Mediacrooks the following were voted the worst contemporary journalists around. Readers have to be warned that this poll was conducted only for the English language media otherwise the list would have been longer than 10 and it would have run into many pages. So here goes..
He is the chief of a fast-sinking newspaper and bides his free time (of which he has a lot) in a mundane program called "Walk the talk" on NDTV. Voters found a lot of similarities to BBC's 'Simpson's World' but lacking in any substance. Much of the interviews or discussions on this program is a platform to scratch the back of the interviewee. If you are looking for any serious questions or answers this is certainly not a program for you. In fact, some voters have very strongly suggested that the title of the program should be called 'Time Pass.
Update: No change in status. Remains where he was. Boring as ever!
Update: Since this post, has prominently figured in the Radia tapes. Has climbed 7 places to No.2 on this list and has since also suspended his column "Counterpoint" in Hindustan Times.
8. Vinod Mehta, Outlook: I once wrote to Outlook to stop sending me any more issues against my subscription and that I didn't even want a refund of the balance. So blatant was their support for the Congress. Suddenly, in 2004 before the elections this became anti-Congress and anti-Sonia, and then after the elections, again pro-Congress. Voters have wondered if Outlook sells only in foreign nations as their letters to editor page contains mostly emails from other countries and not Indians. Voters were also under an impression that Suzanne Arundhati Roy won the Booker prize for her articles in Outlook. Mr. Mehta, of course, has never commented on this issue at all. Update: No change, but Outlook published the transcripts of the Radia tapes.
7. Prannoy James Roy, NDTV : Voters were more interested in finding how many communists Roy was connected to. Pioneer of election polls and reporting and analysis, Roy's NDTV is perhaps the most reliable indicator of election results, swings and all that. It is just a matter of sheer bad luck that on most occasions NDTV predictions on Gujarat polls did not work out well for the Congress. Voters were curious to know how NDTV and its anchors became such huge fans of Narendra Modi. NDTV is, of course, India's only 'secular' channel, broadcasting in India, Pakistan, Middle-East and elsewhere. Update: Has climbed up the chart to No.3. His NDTV has come across as the puppet of the Congress. A long held belief of many viewers has proven to be true. Appears more frequently on the channel now to cover up for the mess created by Barkha Dutt. Has yet to show any spine by retaining Barkha Dutt.
6. Rajdeep Sardesai, CNN-IBN: I'm personally a big fan of Sardesai, especially because his dad was such a great cricketer. Voters felt he left NDTV because that channel wasn't enough anti- Narendra Modi. So CNN-IBN really gave him the platform to spew venom at Modi. Its not on the TV channel alone, Rajdeep did not spare Narendra Modi even at an HT Summit where he was the host. (Of course, he ended up with egg on his face though) Voters still give Rajdeep some credit for reform and balancing his approach to news, especially when his channel runs extensive coverage of issues of national impotence like Rahul Mahajan and his Swayamwar and all that. Update: Has been a little more cautious on his utterances. Read my post "Hammam mein sab nangein hain"
5. Suzanne Arundhati Roy:
She is India's only global journalist. Be it a politician, a minister, head of state, saints, print journals, tv channels, everyone relies on her to deliver considered and scientific opinion on everything. And she never fails. Be it literature, nuclear threats, dams, environment, maoists, naxalites, mining, rocket science, environmental problems on the moon and mars, saving martians from pollution. She knows everything! For her knowledge, writings and sympathies for Maoists many voters believe she was awarded the Booker prize. Last heard Ms.Roy was being offered the leading role in a remake of "Mother India" by Bollywood. Update: Has since degenerated into a lunatic scumbag. Wants azaadi for Kashmir. If we had more patriots like this asshole, we wouldn't need enemies. FIR filed against her for seditious speech.
4. Karan Thapar: He is India's most charismatic journalist. He is also the only one whose programs have been plagiarised by the BBC. In fact voters strongly feel Thapar should file a case against Tim Sebastian or Stephen Sackur for plagiarising his program on BBC's 'Hard Talk'. Karan Thapar has a very beautiful smile but to really annoy and irritate his guest as also the viewers he puts on a scowl, grits his teeth and growls like a hundred wolves so that the guest is forced to speak the truth. Some believe he was once voted as having the most beautiful smile among all TV journalists. Update: Appears to be more sober on his programs. Will not pronounce yet if he has learnt any lessons.
3. Arnab Goswami, Times Now: No one in the world of TV in India can be
as serious and short as Arnab. Guests on his show have often complained that he does not ask any questions at all, and if at all he does they are so short that they have too much time to answer such questions. This often leaves the guests idle on his shows. Sometimes the guests on his show are rotten, they do not allow Arnab to ask questions or speak at all. Voters have hoped this will change and Arnab will get to ask some questions in the future. Update: No change. Times group's double speak on 26/11 and emotional claptrap over victims are available elsewhere on this blog.
2. Sagarika Ghose, CNN-IBN:
She is the only journalist in India to have journalistic qualifications from the state of Gaul (the one in Asterix comic books). It is for that very reason that she is fondly referred to as "Cacofonix" by our voters. Of course, the Vegetable Vendors Association Of India are planning a protest against her for drowning their voices with her unwanted screaming and loud voice. For her expert knowledge on law and on matters of defence of accused she once got a figurative spanking from none other than Ram Jethmalani.
Update: I wish she was gagged.
The Buck for worst journalists really stops with her. She has been so unbiased and critical of the Congress and the UPA that the government threw the Padma Shri at her in an attempt to shut her up. But the daring Dutt won't stop. Her unbiased reporting of the Gujarat riots apart, the Congress is also disturbed for her deep affection for Narendra Modi. A staunch defender of Hindus, she has been wrongly accused of being very pro-muslim, anti-BJP and there are blogs that unfairly call her a "terrorists dream come true" for her reporting on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Voters were also appreciative of her program called "I The People" on her channel. One voter in fact showed us copy of a book authored by NDTV on "How to scratch a politician's back and win a Padma Shri" Barkha also has fan pages on Facebook " "Take Barkha off the air" and "Barkha for worst journalist on the planet" !! Nobody, nobody does it better than our Barkha. She was a hands-down winner !! Update: Is now on the defence over the Radia tapes leak. Retains her no.1 position and probably is now too low for even zero.
Disclaimer: Author would like to inform readers that in all 7 voters participated in this poll. This is in line with the daily polls that our TV channels conduct regularly. Except that in the polls that the TV channels conduct by SMS there are normally 5 participants, so we have exceeded them by 2. We have received complaints from the Hindi and other language channels on their journalists missing from the list. That poll is for another day. This is a work of fiction and protected from plagiarists, especially from our TV channels.