In recent times the one series that comes to my mind on tough-talking interviews is BBC’s “Hard Talk”, especially with its first presenter Tim Sebastian. He anchored the series for nearly seven years. Tim was skilful in asking the toughest questions without intimidating or screaming at his guests. When he didn’t get an answer he pushed the question further but never appeared bent on demanding the answer he “wanted to hear”. In addition, he had a good voice which added pleasantness to the hard questions he asked. In India some like Karan Thapar imitate Sebastian but KT comes out with a scowling face, growling voice and distinct unpleasantness. Others like Barkha Dutt, Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai conduct interviews with a pre-set agenda which becomes very evident to the viewer apart from the fluffiness of their show. And if, by mistake, someone did give an interview to C5M Sagarika Ghose, I would have to categorise that person as a moron too. It is in this context that I have assessed some of the best interviews this election season to be of Narendra Modi by Rajat Sharma of IndiaTV, Sanjay Pugalia of CNBCAwaaz and Smita Prakash of ANI News.
To set the record straight, Rajat Sharma’s “Aap ki Adalat” is NOT a typical interview. It is more of an entertaining chat show. The Adalat does not, naturally, make any adverse pronouncements on the guest. Therefore, some media folks cribbing against Sharma’s show (calling it fixed, scripted etc) neither understand it, nor the context. Even Ajay Maken had to fall into the silly crowd and play the fool:
What made Sharma’s show a high-TRP hit is that watching Modi in any show itself is a pleasant experience for most people. He exudes hope, positivity and speaks the way only a man with tremendous commitment, wisdom and work-experience can. Only his opponents and detractors, who will rant even if Modi walks on water, will deny that. Thus, a Modi interview is now a bigger challenge to an interviewer as compared to interviewing some other politician. Even when Madhu Kishwar merely got a “conversational” recording of Modi which was aired on NewsX the typical green media-morons reacted stupidly. It wasn’t an interview by any measure but more like a documentary presenting the Modi-side of the story on 2002 and other issues. The reason for ridiculing that film is that idiots like Rajdeep, Barkha, Saba Naqvi (a frequent flyer on TimesNow) believe that Modi would have told a different story had they interviewed him. That’s how idiotic their bunch is. Modi uses the term “News Traders” for this sorry lot of losers who neither have any morals nor any journalistic principles. Let’s look at two of the recent interviews of political figures; one of Modi and the other of Raj Thackeray.
There may hardly be an interview where the interviewer doesn’t feel “I forgot to ask that question” or “I should have asked that question differently”. Some of it comes out of poor homework. While the overall interview was fair, here’s a quick look at the Smita Prakash (SP) interview and you’ll see how she goofs up on multiple issues (6.30 mins):
00.17 What’s your strategy against Kejriwal? That’s a lame question and maybe it wasn’t worded properly and it got a simple answer from Modi. I’m sure SP would want to think how she could have rephrased it.
00.30 SP says RahulG talks about women’s security and of Gujarat being an offender in that regard. Now, questions like “he said, she said” are dumb because political opponents mostly say stupid things about each other. It needs some data digging before posing such a quote. Naturally, Modi easily dismisses it with Congress having 7 among top 10 state govts where crimes against women are high.
01.45 Congress says Modi spends 10000 crores on marketing himself. This was the dumbest of the lot. It was dumb also because SP is quoting Congress again. Modi tells her not to pass off a Congress question as her own unless she believes what they say. The awful truth that comes out of this question is that media folks don’t really understand what can be marketed and what cannot. They also do not understand the difference between advertising and publicity. When a villager in UP talks about the “Gujarat Model”, it’s because some friends or family members have been telling him stories about Gujarat, through their transactions and experiences. You cannot market a bad product for sustained period of 4-5 years. The Gujarat story is being talked about for many years. “Experience” is felt and related to others. For instance, did it take Sanjaya Baru’s book for people to believe SoniaG was the backseat PM who was clearing files? Most people knew MMS was a puppet without any book or document. They see it, they hear it and they sense it.
05.25 This is not only dumb but even alarming. SP says many feel the High Court may not accept the SIT report that has been accepted by the lower court. After the same SIT report SC did not find any merit to intervene. How on earth did SP or anyone derive or conclude HC may not accept the SIT findings? Such moronic speculation is passed off as a question. Modi went past it but it actually deserved a spanking.
In general, I think SP was overawed with getting a chance, probably unexpected, to interview Modi. She asked him if media would be under threat if he became PM and he explains no editor or reporter has ever been thrown out of Gujarat in 14 years of his CMship. Also, it’s the media darling Kejriwal who has held out such threats. Ironically, SP happens to be a “news trader” and I say that in a good sense. As far as I know, ANI News, of which she is an editor, does not run a channel of its own but feeds news videos to news channels. Their basic business is selling news to news outlets. Maybe she lacks the experience of interviewing top leaders but in the overall context she did a good job. But what one would really like to see is questions on how Modi will deal with important issues; say, like the Naxal problem. A question that asks him to outline in 2-3 points how he will turn around the economy, create jobs and so on. Instead, it is more of the same “he said, she said” type of interviews that the media sells. The other interview of the week simply has to be the worst of the year. Here’s Rajdeep with Raj Thackeray (6.12 mins):
Rajdeep’s interview with RajT came on the back of one already done by Arnab Goswami. Right from the start till the end Rajdeep’s questions are a bundle of absolute BS. Poor body language, arrogantly waving hands and fingers at the guest, jumping out of the seat often are all signs of a moron who has forgotten his job. Not just that, Rajdeep believes RajT is a joker who is just to be ridiculed unlike SoniaG who he worships. I am no fan of either of the Senas but once you have a guest as an interviewer you treat him or her with a certain amount of respect. I have called Rajdeep the “Father of media-filth” and he gives us proof again.
00.15 Rajdeep keeps asking if RajT’s objective is to defeat SS or to help Modi become a PM. Even after RajT says he wants to help Modi become PM Rajdeep keeps trolling him. RajT’s answer isn’t wrong. He says clearly backs Modi and not BJP. It is morons like Rajdeep who don’t get it that RajT may not have backed someone else from BJP in the same manner. Rajdeep keeps repeating “Modi and BJP” are the same. They are in the same party but they are not the same candidate. Clearly, Modi gets a backing that others like Rajnath or Advani may not have received from RajT. It seems this doesn’t go through the head of Rajdeep.
02.10 Rajdeep tells him “log kehte hai”, people say “Raj bhokta hai” (“Barks”). Now what kind of extreme moron would use language like that with his guest? Only a third-rate filth from the lowest gutter would do that. And Rajdeep says “log kehte hai”. Well “log” also say Rajdeep is corrupt, he is a Dalal and got his 52-crore bungalow by corruption. Oh wait, that’s not just “log”, it was one of his ex-employee who said that.
02.32 RajT is absolutely right when he points out Rajdeep had built his own ‘political party’ AAP, which flopped in 49 days. Everyone knows that! “Log” kehte hai Rajdeep was and is a pimp for the AAP party. He was the one who awarded an IOTY to Arvind Kejriwal. His channel was the one who gave maximum air time to AAP. So while pimping for AAP Rajdeep thinks he has the moral authority to question the future of RajT’s party. Naturally, RajT cut him to his pygmy size and put him place for his political pimping.
03.06 On reporting only violence from MNS and not Assam violence against Biharis, Rajdeep is so bamboozled it is simply unbelievable. The moron blurts out “Listen to my double standards”. That is how drunk he is and unaware of what he is uttering.
03.31 Rajdeep says “log kehte hai” RajT is a nautanki and dramabaaz. There isn’t much to say for this except that Rajdeep has nurtured the biggest nautankis in the media; Kejriwal and the Category5Moron Sagarika. Both are ingredients of the nautanki of CNN-IBN. I think Sonia’s poodle already knows this. “Log kehte” hai Rajdeep is a “bika hua news trader”. I don’t think many will disagree.
Those were the two contrasting interviews of the past week. Clearly, the interviewer looks better with Modi because he calmly answers questions. The corrupt news traders like Rajdeep and Sagarika were earlier screaming “Modi doesn’t take questions”. Now they are mourning Modi is doing a media blitzkrieg. They have reached a “saturation” point as mentioned in the interview. Rajdeep and his ilk are stuck in 2002 and their brain died that year. The extra-ordinary claim that Rajdeep makes in his interview is he is not a public figure. That should explain his irresponsible behaviour throughout his TV career. When the editor of a TV channel believes he is not a “public figure” you know he has thrown out accountability and responsibility long back. That one single claim by Rajdeep explains who is a “news trader” and who is a real interviewer or journalist.