If you go through Rajdeep Sardesai’s blog and if you are even casually observant, you will notice that his blog-posts are usually made on Fridays. That’s almost like Bollywood movies being released on Fridays. Rajdeep sort of neatly summarises the week that was or uses hindsight to say the things he should have said on his channel through the week. Mind you, his posts are well-intentioned, thoughtful and are fair. If one were to just read his blogs it would be difficult to believe this is a TV anchor. Let’s first go through some excerpts from his latest post ‘TVnews a zero sum game?’.
"In recent weeks, as the images of Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare have played out relentlessly across television screens, the government has appeared to panic. Four cabinet ministers rushed to the airport to mollify the yoga guru. In Hazare's case, a fast at Jantar Mantar was enough to hasten the government into issuing a formal order appointing a Lokpal committee without any consultation process. In both instances, the government blames the media for forcing it to act in an unwise manner by giving disproportionate coverage to the street agitations…..It's not just the power elite, but also we in the news business who need to introspect. Why is that we cover a Hazare or a Ramdev with such intensity, but barely touch the story of an Irom Sharmila…."
If the government ever blames the media then the media should pat itself on its back. It's when they give out Padma awards to working journalists you know something's not right. Well? In this case this is a two-way back-slapping exercise. First, the media itself blew out of proportion the agitations because of the drama value attached to it. Two, in the case of Ramdev the media unleashed a vicious campaign to malign the yoga dealer. The pied piper here was CNN-IBN itself. (Read HERE and HERE). Time and again Rajdeep has stated the ‘media should introspect’. Does he really do that? No one stops them from covering Irom Sharmila or Medha Pathkar or that Swami who died fasting to protest mining along the Ganga. Fact remains the media is a clown that will go where the circus is. It is only natural. Didn’t Barkha Dutt already tell you that, Rajdeep? More importantly, the fasts by Anna Hazare and Ramdev were on corruption which concerned Indians across the nation while the other fasts were more on localised issues. Can’t tell the difference, Rajdeep? Still, the media could have covered those agitations too.
“….Perhaps, Dr Singh's image makers fear that the television lens will expose his limitations as a public speaker. Since he is a soft-spoken individual, the fear is that his voice will not be heard in the cacophony around him. Once again this is a misunderstanding of the media. Just as the camera captures the noisy, it also zooms in on sobriety and decency. At a time when the viewer seems to be tiring of the constant barrage of zero sum debates, the prime minister has an opportunity to set himself apart as a voice of reason and rationality….”
Rajdeep goes on to once again give a ‘clean’ certificate to the PM when he refers to his integrity as his calling card in his post. Now then, being soft-spoken or possessing a feeble voice may not be great attributes for a PM. However, is that the only reason why MMS is quiet? Why discount the possibility that MMS’s conscience is hurting, that he has to lie to defend all the corruption, that if he speaks his lack of conviction will be noticed, that if he speaks there will be more questions to be answered. That he has possibly lost moral courage. No? If voice were a strong guiding factor in public life I simply don’t understand how the Deputy Editor of CNN-IBN, Sagarika Ghose, continues to offend ears with her cacophony. She would probably be the exact opposite of MMS in this case.
Rajdeep then makes a sensational point about Rahul Gandhi. “As for Rahul, have we ever heard him express his views on matters of national importance?” Wow! So this is the guy whose views on national issues are not known. This is the guy whose public meetings are “choreographed” according to Rajdeep. And this is the guy that CNN-IBN chose to bestow the ‘Indian of the year’ award in 2009. Well, Rajdeep, how do you explain that? If this is your assessment of Rahul in 2011, did you know him better in 2009? And here is what you said back then, Rajdeep:
“Rahul Gandhi has been chosen CNN-IBN politician of the year over many of his more experienced colleagues and rivals because no one toured India the way he has in the past 60 months. Nobody has enunciated a vision of new India the way he has and none has understood the immediate need to bridge the city-country divide the way Rahul Gandhi has. His efforts show that hard work pays even in the uncertain world of politics.”
Well I suppose Rajdeep Sardesai understood the “new India” that Rahul Gandhi had enunciated then but now states he doesn’t know his views on matters of national importance. Will you now stop these sham awards, Rajdeep? And as for the blogs for you write every Friday I do appreciate them. I only wish you would put as much thoughtfulness in the conduct of CNN-IBN Monday through Friday and on weekends too.
PS: There are many who have also understood the manner in which Rahul Gandhi has enunciated his vision of a new India. These have been chronicled extensively through tweets under #Rahulfacts. This site, Chirpstory, has a complete collection for those who are yet to fully understand Rahul's enunciation of India. As for Rahul's achievements this website will tell you everything: www.rahulgandhiachievements.com (And no there is nothing wrong with your browser or net connection either)