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Friday, November 26, 2010

RADIA TAPES: Don’t shoot every caller

The Radia tapes have generated a huge interest in the workings of the Indian media. There have been indignant messages on Twitter and irate blogs by readers and media professionals alike suggesting that the Indian media stinks. I have been asked by many media friends to boycott NDTV because of what is being called Barkhagate. On Twitter, many have interpreted a prolonged silence to imply complicity in dishonourable practices.

Before some of these issues are addressed, it is important to spell out the functioning style of the political journalist.

Meaningful political journalism involves many things: a deep awareness of the political process, an open mind and, above all, a wide range of political 'contacts'. The last attribute is particularly important.

A paratrooper with good writing skills may be very useful describing a political jamboree or even assessing an election campaign where the opinions of ordinary people matter. Unfortunately, these skills are secondary to understanding the politics that goes on behind closed doors in ministries, core committees and cabals. To understand these you need insider information which come from a variety of sources, some obvious and others unlikely.

Sources need prolonged cultivation and a relationship of trust. No politician of consequence will tell all at a press conference or spill all the beans to a complete stranger—unless, of course, he/she has a definite motive. To acquire the 'real' story you need to build a relationship.

The relationship, however, is based on understandings. The 'source' may tell you everything that has transpired in a crucial, closed-door meeting. But if he/she tells you that you can't write a word about it, you are obliged to respect his/her wishes. The price of violating the understanding is future exclusion. To survive in political journalism you can't spit and run.

Every political journalist develops a cosy relationship with sources. This is the price you have to pay for knowing what is actually happening. Since I am not a daily reporter but write opinion pieces, I am privy to a little more information than those who are in search of exclusives. I can use the sense of what politicians reveal in confidence without having to flesh out the details.

The relationship, however, is symbiotic. Politicians often ask us for information about developments in which they are not players. I have one rule for such requests: if you can't enlighten them without compromising your other sources, don't mislead them. Also sometimes it helps to say: "I don't know." Many journalists find this very difficult.

Do sources end up as friends? The answer is, yes. I am not in the least embarrassed to say that I count many professional contacts of yesterday as today's friends. They are the ones with whom you enjoy a convivial dinner and converse uninhibitedly.

Does this jeopardise journalistic independence? It can but a genuine friendship should withstand critical observations. In my journalistic career, there has only been one occasion when a senior politician berated me for being critical of him in print. As a friend he expected loyalty and wasn't impressed when I told him that I had a journalistic responsibility too. I regret that he didn't appreciate my point.

Are journalists supposed to be unbiased? The myth of objective journalism needs to be demolished. Everyone has biases, preferences and prejudices. Some are ideological, others based on personality. For a tiny handful, the tilt is dictated by material favours—a euphemism for plain corruption.

Being judgmental works: the readers and viewers love it. Just look at Arnab Goswami's huge fan following.

Readers often expect the political writer to provide them arguments to reaffirm a pre-existing conviction or preference. I have never hidden the fact that I am unashamedly Right wing. Neither have I objected when TV anchors have introduced me as being "close to the BJP." I am close to it but I choose to disagree with the party when I feel it necessary.

Barkha Dutt too has her political leanings. I have often jokingly taunted her as the "voice of the Hurriyat".

Vir Sanghvi refers to the Congress as "we". He is not being disingenuous. Perhaps he should admit his preferences openly. It wouldn't be misconstrued.

This backdrop may help someone unfamiliar with the byways of political journalism to understand the Radia tapes a little better.

  • Journalists are habitually accustomed to boast about their contacts and their easy access to the homes of the high and mighty. This is plain vanity. Many of the Radia tapes are replete with boasts.
  • Journalists often play courier between politicians. This isn't necessary but sometimes it helps to gather additional info. Equally, it may be a labour of love. It may suggest political bias/preference. But it doesn't necessarily imply corruption.
  • Being in touch with lobbyists, PR companies and advocacy groups is part of the news gathering game. No one can be tarred for just being in touch with Radia who, after all, represented two big corporations. What, after all, is the difference between Radia and some NGOs. Aren't they all lobbyists?
  • Arranging pre-scripted interviews of anyone breaks all media code of ethics. I know journos who tempt their subjects with assurances of a "soft" interview. But a pre-scripted interview with a dress rehearsal takes the biscuit.
  • Hinting about the ability to 'fix' the judiciary suggests criminality. It is not journalism. It is as despicable as those business journalists who deliberately manipulate news to play the stock markets. Or those who use their police contacts to run a lucrative private practice.
  • There are rotten eggs in the media basket. They must be discarded, if necessary through public pressure because the owners often wilfully turn a blind eye to their criminality in return for collateral favours.


     

Let us target the rotten eggs—and there are lots of them in the media. It doesn't help to denounce every one of those whose phone conversations with Radia happened to have been taped by the IT authorities.

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good points! However, you have to note that neither Barkha or Vir don't openly claim to be pro-congress like you claim to be pro-bjp. They act as if they are independent which misleads public.

bloggi said...

came here thru ur tweet. one agrees about the rotten eggs in the media sector as they are in other, but you suspect every egg in a basket with even one rotten egg. in media basket, of late more eggs are getting rotten than the healthy ones.

adarshs said...

a wonderful analysis sir..just one question. despite whatever you have said, BJP could have gained political mileage out of this episode but they have not done anything of that sort. Is it because they also can't affort to challenge the media? Despite Barkha Dutt being a Congress-leaned journalist? or is it just them not making a hill out of a mole?

Rohit said...

I agree with most of what you said but that does not mean Sanghvi or Dutt is not corrupt as we gather from the tapes.Sanghvi clearly said he would fix and script the interview and also set the "tone" of his column as it wud suit Radia but also in a subtle manner which would fool ordinary viewers as a "balanced" article.Feel like a big sucker in retrospect.As regards the voice of the Hurriyat,she was openly acting as a courier to facilitate Raja (and others in DMK) obviously for some quid pro quo relation with Congress.It is no wonder she gets Padmashri ahead of many other deserving journalists and exclusive interviews with Gandhi clan.Disgusting.Although your explanation makes lot of sense, but it just seems there are too many rotten eggs not exceptions as u seem to suggest.Which is expected as India is corrupt in every spehere, we were fools to believe journalists "represented the voice of honest middle class Indians"

Deshabhakta said...

Unconvincing "defense"(?) of the indefensible.
Why are fellow channels, who boast off independence, give half page ads in newspaper saying they stand by truth, are silent?

Vinod Sharma of HT was called "Congress Media" by Mahesh Jethmalani on Times Now. He found it to be very offending and protested. Anybody listening to Vinod Sharma can make out that he is pro-congress and clearly anti-BJP. Not heard even a single good thing from him about BJP (hope you wont tell me that may be there was/is not even a single good thing about BJP). He protested and said he is a "journalist". Are these kind of journalists not misleading the people of this nation? Are biased journos(?) like bdutt, virsanghvi and vinod sharma good for the country? If not, why defend their acts?
Plus, there is nothing funny about being or getting called "a hurriyat voice"; Hurriyat's motive is to split this nation.

sachin dixit said...

swapan da first of all my apology to you.i questioned your silence on twitter but it was to provoke u to write something.hope u will understand.beautifully described.u give a clean chit to barkha which is absolutely fair and rotten eggs like vir sanghvi(he was takin abt judiciary) shud be thrown away. he already has an egg on his face after open article

I-Ore Trading said...

Dear Mr. Swapan Dasgupta,

Thank you, for explaining the background before actually going on to the main subject.

Unbiased reporting may not be possible 100% of the times. It is expected that personal preference not be imposed on unsuspecting viewers.

Just as a journalist bonds with politicians and others, they also establish a bond of trust with the readers and viewers. They owe it to the paying public that reportage is not totally biased or over the top in favor of an individual, political outfit or corporate.
We the paying public are gullible and at times naïve, foolish we are not, we do tend to figure out who is leaning how much towards whom and accordingly we start to add or subtract from what ever is reported by that individual.
We have deleted certain programs, host and of course also channels from our viewing list based on our assessments of the extent of distortions made by the concerned.
In the present case what is abhorrent is that it is corruption at the highest level which has been knowingly facilitated. The country which in turn means our money has been looted because someone in the media made it possible for the wrong person to get to the point where he could harm us.
Personal bias we have been living with and would have swallowed with a few more unarticulated expletives directed towards that person. Trust has been breached, the bond has been broken. Anger is the natural emotion for expressing collective anguish and disgust.
I have also written a blog incase you do find time do read it “From dizzy heights of Kargil to despairing depths of oblivion.” http://www.ioortradingindia.blogspot.com/

Azhar said...

Must admit: You are very objective. I never liked your views nor you but after reading this piece that has changed. I now respect you for your brutal honesty.

oldindian said...

Ratan Tata (today is 26th nov) in his interview to NDTV has said Scam is about how spectrum has been allotted. What about pricing? We know the root of the scam. Basically there is an established order in GSM industry. Tata and reliance went CDMA route, and wanted to switch over or have prescence across both the market. the only way to do is to have low cost entry as other players. But other players had started as pure telecom players and were entrenched. But Tata, Reliance were 1k pound gorilla to these sturdy chipmunks! And Maran stood in btw. So Tata purely to suit his interest, wanted to keep maran out. And hence tapes. Manmohan being a ex bureaucrat didnt care either way. MMS, Tata, Raja combo same as Hindenburg, Von Papen, (one more guy forgot his name) and hitler. Hinden and Papen thought they could keep hitler under thumb but his greed knew no bound. Same with Tata and MM. Raja's greed ultimately has both of them criminal (at least in 2G context) in the eyes of public.

Manohar said...

Dear Swapan,

You make some very good points about the myth of objective journalism and the need to cultivate sources within the political circles. But you have chosen not to comment or criticize the many other aspects surrounding the media industry that have become clear. Take for instance the unmistakable closing of ranks among the mainstream TV channels and the extremely careful, over-sensitive and ambivalent analysis presented by newspapers. Also the way in which the media killed and presented a watered down version of the paid-news story.

Please understand what people have heard on TV

1) One journalist offers to play broker with a political party to advance someone else's interest.
2) Another journalist offers to have a dress rehearsal for industrialists.

Now if these things are indeed considered as routine in the media industry then please answer the following concerns :

1) How does someone located so deep within the govt be expected to act as a watchdog of democracy ?
2) Will they ever report on the extraneous influences on policy making on all occasions.

This is an opportunity for media houses to distinguish themselves by pledging to keep distance from the political establishment and not trying to legitimize this nexus.

If not soon the fouth estate too will be discredited.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it the moral turpitude of journalists that you sugarcoated as pragmatic journalim.well will you justify a politician caught in corruption as the ways of working of a politician.isn't it shameful that the journalists who make sanctimonious lectures when caught redhanded giving such low defences.

balaji said...

kudos Swapanda. you could have easily criticized Barkha/Vir Sanghvi to appear like a saint, but you chose honesty over few brownie points. nice.

i think there isn't anything wrong about lobbying or journalists having friends among sources.

i suspect hindutva crowd is making a hue and cry about this non-issue in order to hide their embarrassment about Yeddyurappa's corruption and to vent their long standing frustrations about the left-liberal media.

Anonymous said...

Why not all these journos come out and explain all that happened? why you have appeared with an explanatory blog post? on Radia who has turned an approver now,you confuse people in debates.Now people of India are very clear on these issues.Bihar has taught a lesson to congress .TN will follow soon.Remember me on that day

Panchajanya said...

Dada Its VERY hard for me to believe that this http://goo.gl/tClTc was also part of 'contact development' !!

VOXINDICA said...

Sometime ago Kuldip Nayar described in an article, how wild buffaloes defended themselves when attacked.

He cited the analogy of wild buffaloes while describing the way government babus defended their comrades-in-arms when accused of corruption.

It is an interesting analogy that aptly describes government babus in more ways than one.

The wild buffaloes form a ring with all their horns pointing outwards so that the attacker faces only the ring of horns!

I am reminded of Kuldip Nayar's article and the analogy of wild buffaloes seeing how contemporary media is defending its worst offenders, a la Radia tapes.

You are quite glib in describing the scenario but seem to balk when it comes to censuring their demeanour.

Wondering whether you have joined the ring of horns?

Et tu Brute!

Rajesh said...

Swapan, theoretically you seems to be right, but in my view,current scenario in Indian media is not at all following the theory what you suggest or describe.
Justification or explanation what Barkha and Veer are giving thru different medium, it seems like Lalu saying no I haven't eaten the fodder!!! shame...

Srini said...

When the people involved and most of the media channels are silent, one can understand the truth of the tapes.

If they are not wrong, let them have a one hour program on prime time, call eminent people from different backgrounds and let them defend that "they were doing valid journalism".

Anonymous said...

Swami Agnivesh and you are much worse than Media junk we have. You are never a BJP guy and lot of people know that.Remember you are always on the list and you cannot escape.
Coming to Barkha & Vir they are gone cases.No point in defending them in one way or other.
You are not seeing people's revolution yet.People wont protest,do dharna or go legal way. They just do ONETHING.Remove the credibility of the journalist.The drive is only that.Once that is done even NDTV,HT owners will have no option.

nitin said...

Swapan,
As usual brillient analysis.It would be service to our nation if you follow up this with some more articles on the same.As you rightly pointed out,likes of Dutt and Sanghvi pose as neutral in their allegiance to any poilitical ideology,but they are unashamed dalals of Congress and Huriyat.
keep writing and expose these guys political ideology.They shouldn't be ashamed of it but they should come out clean so that public is not fooled.

Srinath said...

I am not at all surprised that Mr. Swapan Dasgupta, has defended Barkha and Vir. He belongs to the same pool of biased, lobbying, unethical journalists. Barkha and Vir lobby for Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Dasgupta lobbies for Arun Jailtley.
Hope someone releases certain conversations like
Swapan: “now tell me Arun what should I write about Rajnath, I can’t look too slanted but still should make the point across. I will just write that Rajnath sold Haryana election because he was bribed by an industrialist close to hooda and also that he wants power with JMM in Jharkhand because of his family’s mining interests. Will that do?
I will also make sure that I mention about how he never wanted any discussion on 2008 UP defeat but I will make sure I have a total silence on you running away from party meet after may 2009 election defeat. Sure done deal”

Dr Satya Saraswat said...

Can't agree with you. Barkha & Sanghvi have no credibility. They r more like middlemen.
For that matter CNN-IBN is worst, how they digested the BJP's tapes.
They are rotten appples of same basket.

Anonymous said...

Question: Will media so such sensibility if tape involved some politicians?

What you are saying might be true, but truth does not require blacking out news.

Anonymous said...

what hogwash! What are these other idiots promising you, in return for this white-washing them.

tabula rasa said...

As usual sharp, eloquent and bang on. The sad part is that till a couple of weeks back i used to think the same for Vir.

In the case of Barkha, i think its just her personality thats going against her, the case against her is weak.

Vir, on the other hand, is a bloody disaster. Not too sure if i wud be able take his opinions without a pinch of salt into the future.

Sapan Kapoor said...

Barkha has replied to the allegations. http://www.ndtv.com/page/?type=barkha-statement Here she is defending herself by saying that she has reported the 2G scam in a transparent and earnest way. But Barkha nobody is questioning about ur reporting of 2G scam here. We are talking about the allocation of cabinet portfolios where you were involved as a mediator between Nira radia and the Congress. The real question is about your lobbying for A Raja for a cabinet portfolio not your reporting of 2G scam. Its just that now you have lost our faith and trust..:-( And this is the last word. Now who will play the role of the watchdog of India's democracy? The people are losing their faith in the Indian media. The whole Indian media needs to cleaned completely. The 4th pillar is not doing its job properly.

Gandhi ji were also a journalist and its high time when followed the path he had shown to the media and journalists. Remember???
Gandhi ji had said, 'Media is there for social service not for making money.' Has the Indian media forgotten this important lesson???

charuvak said...

What a cope out Swapanda, I am disappointed.

Rohit said...

Swapan, this internal memo for Times Now by Arnab Goswami is very insightful :-


Colleagues,

There has been news about two senior journalists from other media groups being involved in collaborating with corporate lobbyists and corporate groups on the 2G scam issue. This is a low point in the news business. It’s downright shameful. I am writing to reiterate some of the core values of the group and the channel. We believe in fierce editorial independence and complete personal honesty. Our standards have to remain impeccably high. In your interactions at any level, remember that you are ambassadors of India’s number one news channel. In an earlier edit meeting, I have said that even a pass into a stadium that’s accepted free amounts to being compromised, and today I am writing to reassert that. No gifts, no favours, no lobbying, no free dining and wining, no cash, no kind, no pass, no trip, no holiday, no promise, no passes, no special treatment, no tall or short claims, no disrespect to the organization that you represent and the group that we are all a part of, no loose talk, no flexibility on values, will be accepted. If I hear of any, we will come down hard, and no exceptions will be made...

—Arnab’

Anonymous said...

Unless you tell them what they want to hear they will attack you too. Till the time you say what they wan to hear (hatred, violence, anger), they are all happy and praise you. The day you write what they do not want to hear, or preach tolerance or calm, they will attack you first.

Right wing sensible should understand one thing, Do not let angry and violent to come anywhere close to your movement, soon they will discredit and hijack your movement. [From TeaParty movement England]

@SijuCherian - waiting for the flames, attack me. :)

Surajit Dasgupta said...

You have, nevertheless, given an option that the likes of Barkha Dutt could have exercised instead of (more than) tentatively join some crony's lobby:

You say, "Politicians often ask us for information about developments in which they are not players. I have one rule for such requests: if you can't enlighten them without compromising your other sources, don't mislead them. Also sometimes it helps to say: 'I don't know.' Many journalists find this very difficult."

You go on to ask, "Are journalists supposed to be unbiased? The myth of objective journalism needs to be demolished. Everyone has biases, preferences and prejudices. Some are ideological, others based on personality."

I disagree. Take the example of the Election Commission or the inspectors appointed to oversee elections. Don't the members of the EC and these officials individually have their respective favourite parties that they vote for election after election? They do. In fact, the whole of the Indian middle class is far from objective when it comes to giving electoral support to a political party. How are then the EC men still able to officiate over the electoral proceedings neutrally? Why can't a journalist function similarly?

Your next point: "Being judgmental works: the readers and viewers love it. Just look at Arnab Goswami's huge fan following."

Arnab Goswami's bias is nationalism and jingoism. He also speaks the lingo of the man on the street without the finesse expected of a senior/chief editor. That is not the same as a pro-BJP, pro-Congress or pro-CPM tilt.

Next you turn frank: "I have never hidden the fact that I am unashamedly Right wing..."

Yet we appreciate the conscientious streak in you. When the others in your camp fell over each other to slam the 'persecution' of Rahul 'Wayward' Mahajan by the establishment, you were the lone dissenter who insisted that such black sheep in the BJP club deserved no sympathy. We again saw that admirable quality of yours recently on TV when you clashed with the likes of Sheshadri Chari head-on while lambasting the moral support extended by the Sangh Parivar to the accused in the Ajmer dargah and Malegaon bombing cases.

Let's also question why these TV presenters do not introduce someone like Vinod Sharma as a journalist "close to the Congress".

Finally, it seems you know why the people are angry. "# Arranging pre-scripted interviews of anyone breaks all media code of ethics. I know journos who tempt their subjects with assurances of a "soft" interview. But a pre-scripted interview with a dress rehearsal takes the biscuit."

"# Hinting about the ability to 'fix' the judiciary suggests criminality." Therefore, why be an apologist?

CodeNameV said...

Sir, Take a bow. I hope your piece will be able to pacify and make the accused talk logic instead of dishing out platitudes. I disagree with you on many points but the way you put it, thats what is superb. I only wish the same from others too!

You say "there is always bias". Agreed. So openly spell it out. Thats the point and thats the diff between you or kanchangupta and these journos. You know she can openly say "I believe INC is the only way". Nobody will cry foul about it. It is perfectly normal but then Barkha and Vir normally report something and call it "national interest". This is the point where contradictions start.

The major issue with this whole tapes story is not even to do with journalists helping one political party to get an advantage. It is to do with getting specific portfolios to specific people. If these people can decide portfolios on phone and PMs at coffee tables, then why should we vote in the first place and what is the meaning of democracy? Thats the damning part. This is where your logic of "source gives information and we use information for news feed" break down. Like Manu Joseph and Open say "why didnt she report it?". Thats where her intentions are questioned.

Had Barkha contacted Radia for consultations on what has been happening etc., their conversation would have been something very different, no? "What should I tell them?" and "I will talk to Azad as soon they come out of RCR" doesnt seem to be information sourcing, but sort of i will do this for you. Such points are the ones being raised.

IndoriDude said...

Swapan,

My 2 cents:

My respect for you is highest among other "opinon makers" for:

a) Your impeccable integrity
b) YOur openness about your ideological leanings

But on first count today your blog was silent.The attributes of a Political journo must have top one as "Impeccable Integrity" as yours.


Two on "Openness" both Barkha/Vir cheated their viewers/readers by dishing out "colored" news/articles/discussions etc. in the garb of being "neutral unbiased view". This may NOT be corruption but surely it is Unethical.

Lastly: On Nira Radia tapes, both were induldged in more than "merely news gathering". They were not merely "humoring" Radia as they try to claim. If they were and Nira was playing along than All the corporates who hired are complete incompetant and Nira must purely be housewife and NOT a PR professional! :-)

No Mist said...

Swapan Da,

It is true that only tapes prove nothing. but when dishonesty is so subtle, what use one has of evidence ? we have only hunches and that is all we probably need.

I want to share some personal assessment of Vir Sanghvi with the readers of your blog. I have been Vir for quite some time and regarded his views very highly. There is no doubt that he has had an exceptional career as a journalist. So when I found his blog, I enthusiastically started following his blogs. However the old adage that things which look beautiful from afar should be left afar is quite accurate to what followed.

Though Vir writes very well, he does not allow any criticism of his articles. Time and again I have observed that he only allows the laudatory comments. In fact sometimes I have written phony praises just to test this claim. At the same time he zaps even the mildly critical ones. One can say that it is a small issue but it highlights the mentality of the person. It is plain and simple intellectual dishonesty. A journalist who has to interact with public cannot zap public's comment if he has a sense of professional honesty. And since he has a policy of comments approval so all zapping must have been a conscious decision.

In this regard I have great respect for you even though I would disagree with you an many things. I used to think that a journalist would be happy to interact with public (and most of them are students for God's sake, just like me). And would be looking forward to a stimulating discussion even if it is critical. Now I know that this simple demand of professional/intellectual integrity is too much to ask for.

Given the above (and I admit it is opinionated) assessment of Vir, I have no difficulty in believing Vir's integrity is compromised and if not for Radia, it would have been somebody else ... sooner or later.

No Mist said...

Swapan Da,

It is true that only tapes prove nothing. but when dishonesty is so subtle, what use one has of evidence ? we have only hunches and that is all we probably need.

I want to share some personal assessment of Vir Sanghvi with the readers of your blog. I have been Vir for quite some time and regarded his views very highly. There is no doubt that he has had an exceptional career as a journalist. So when I found his blog, I enthusiastically started following his blogs. However the old adage that things which look beautiful from afar should be left afar is quite accurate to what followed.

Though Vir writes very well, he does not allow any criticism of his articles. Time and again I have observed that he only allows the laudatory comments. In fact sometimes I have written phony praises just to test this claim. At the same time he zaps even the mildly critical ones. One can say that it is a small issue but it highlights the mentality of the person. It is plain and simple intellectual dishonesty. A journalist who has to interact with public cannot zap public's comment if he has a sense of professional honesty. And since he has a policy of comments approval so all zapping must have been a conscious decision.

In this regard I have great respect for you even though I would disagree with you an many things. I used to think that a journalist would be happy to interact with public (and most of them are students for God's sake, just like me). And would be looking forward to a stimulating discussion even if it is critical. Now I know that this simple demand of professional/intellectual integrity is too much to ask for.

Given the above (and I admit it is opinionated) assessment of Vir, I have no difficulty in believing Vir's integrity is compromised and if not for Radia, it would have been somebody else ... sooner or later.

GOPI KRISHNA said...

Sir,

When i read you article i remember the famous dialogue from the movie Scarface..in which Al Pacino says..''It is a dirty business we are in ...this could have happenned to anyone ..even you...''
I feel media as part of being in this dirty business of exposing and trying to read b/w the lines is in the process breaking the rules. I completely am 'for' these kinds of tactics media employs as long as the truth is revealed. All is well that ends well. Have no problem with the means used as long as something good is coming out of the whole process.

For the record sir..I am a great admirer of Barkha and Rajdeep...they were the ones who inspired me to be a journalist. I know that she is hated for many reasons...but nobody ever said that a journalist should be adorable.Right!!

It was really nice to have read your thoughts ..thanking you..Gopi Krishna.

No Mist said...

Swapan Da,

It is true that only tapes prove nothing. but when dishonesty is so subtle, what use one has of evidence ? we have only hunches and that is all we probably need.

I want to share some personal assessment of Vir Sanghvi with the readers of your blog. I have been Vir for quite some time and regarded his views very highly. There is no doubt that he has had an exceptional career as a journalist. So when I found his blog, I enthusiastically started following his blogs. However the old adage that things which look beautiful from afar should be left afar is quite accurate to what followed.

Though Vir writes very well, he does not allow any criticism of his articles. Time and again I have observed that he only allows the laudatory comments. In fact sometimes I have written phony praises just to test this claim. At the same time he zaps even the mildly critical ones. One can say that it is a small issue but it highlights the mentality of the person. It is plain and simple intellectual dishonesty. A journalist who has to interact with public cannot zap public's comment if he has a sense of professional honesty. And since he has a policy of comments approval so all zapping must have been a conscious decision.

In this regard I have great respect for you even though I would disagree with you an many things. I used to think that a journalist would be happy to interact with public (and most of them are students for God's sake, just like me). And would be looking forward to a stimulating discussion even if it is critical. Now I know that this simple demand of professional/intellectual integrity is too much to ask for.

Given the above (and I admit it is opinionated) assessment of Vir, I have no difficulty in believing Vir's integrity is compromised and if not for Radia, it would have been somebody else ... sooner or later.

avi said...

i have read two great articles in defense of Barkha n Sanghavi or one can say in defense of media persons.what i have to say is there are two kinds of truth- truth of reasoning and truth of facts. what i find here is truth of reasoning and i must say if Mr Dasgupta had felt otherwise on this episode he would have written an equally convincing article condemning their collusion in getting the deals done. which does not mean i believe the two are guilty - that is for the finding by our law. But, what is disturbing is the major media house-powers reluctance to take on this episode and come out with the truth. instead they came out too aggressively calling it "bullshit" and "silly".

No Mist said...

Swapan Da,

There seems to be some error in the comment posting form. Please complain to Google about this error message which comes after posting comment --

Request URI too large

I suspect the comment form is allowing only very small comments

uncannybal said...

If u saw 'The Last Word' by Karan Thapar last nite u would have understood the entire controversy and its ramifications. Barkha and Vir Sanghvi claim to be following a story and hence played along with Nira Radia. But they never reported this even tho they claim to have dealt with Radia only to further the story. This is what exposes their duplicity. When journalists become lobbyists (since Barkha n Vir never had a story on Nira Radia, they were obviously lobbyists) they do not share the objectivity required of the fourth estate. They never even did it for a bias or propoganda hence they did it purely for money. Both should be fired from their positions

Dinesh PC said...

Here we have had a ultra-powerful lobbyist influencing every important under the sun (Telecom, Aviation, Gas, etc.), and we didn't even know she existed. While the who's who in the media weree "stringing" or wining and dining with her, while she was fixing articles on front pages of newspapers, why did not a single reporter/media not do a bio-pic of her?

And now when they are caught with their pants down, Swapan wants us to believe that its all part of the media profession.

Horrible, to say the least!

An Agnostic rational voice said...

Trojan horse Swapan Dasgupta you don't know what thou have done by supporting Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and others. Their act is indefensible, so I won't waste my point in berating them. No amount of clarification, like you have given, can change the truth. Even pro-China Marxist like N.Ram has refused to defend them.

I just want to focus my post in berating, insulting and ripping apart you. Because I feel you, Sushma and your traitor TV celebrity friends et al are the biggest danger to BJP and to this nation. I'm no fan of BJP by the way, it's just that I feel it's a lesser evil and theek-thak option for this country in comparison to Congress.

Coming to the point.

You might have forgotten this but we have NOT: how the people you have decided to support have gone overboard in vilifying NaMo, in demonizing the BJP etc.

You might have have forgotten- or perhaps don't want to remember because they call you in their studio so that you can make your bogus points by uttering air more than words in low-pitched voice- how they behaved as Congress spokespersons in the last LokSabha election, but we have not forgotten that.

Just recently, these very same people whom you are defending were spreading canards against Ayodhya Judgement. They support Hurriyat, Islamists, vilify Amarnath agitators etc and you have decided to support them? Kya hogaya hai aapko? Kya aap aandhe ho gaye hai?

You can't be my hero, my icon. You have blundered, which you'll realize later; perhaps repent also. Must say terrible misreading of situation on your part.

If you decided to support them then you must also admit openly that you endorse the use of words like Hindu Fuhrer, Hitler, Fascist to describe NaMo. Not only that, you should also admit openly that you have no problem with news twisting , giving spin to news etc.

Anyway the only good this post of yours have done is that it has exposed you before your fans and supporters. Ab tum apne supporters ki nazro mai gir chuke ho. Now they won't trust or treat you as "hum mai se ek", "hum jaisa", or "hamara Swapan".

And please don't think I've written this because I want you to change your views. I don't think you will rectify bungle of your life and do the course-correction. I just want to put things on record. I just want to tell how shocking, shattering and embarrassing this post of yours have been to most. Though I'm not surprised at all since you never impressed me. Through my post I've merely tried to voiced the anger of many patriotic, Non-Hindutva type center-right rationalistic Neo-cons. That's it.

Anonymous said...

Calling Burkha "voice of the Hurriyat" is an understatement. I'd have called her voice of Pakistan. Btw, how many more interviews with Musharraf has she still got?

As far Vir, the less said the better. Someone who takes dictation lesson from Radia on what to write in his "opinion" column is not worth calling himself a journalist.

Anonymous said...

having heard the tapes, there is little doubt that Barkha and Vir were acting on behalf of the congress.

nothing wrong in admitting that this is completly not done, especially when Barkha/Vir pretend to take the moral high ground

raghu said...

Sir, you haven't been direct. People are more interested in hearing from you specifically about barka dutt and vir singhvi. Because they are "suspected" for a long time as "pro congress" or "voice of huriyat". Specifically, Barkha, being group editor of NDTV, cannot have a "hidden bias" towards Congress or separatists when they do not claim to be so. And all this talk about "playing the source" and boasting about contacts to get information is bullshit and I personally hadn't expected you to be supporting it sir. Had this been a tape of conversation not involving journos, it could have been played 100 times on TV and this "quid pro quo" is something TV anchors never uttered before barkhagate. Anybody who has listened to Barkha-Radia conversation can tell that she is clearly involved Raja "recruitment" to the cabinet. It is not a question of quid pro quo, it is about ethics. Moreover, this particular matter is not about someone favoring congress or bjp but about corruption related to 2G scam. If you want to shield barkha so be it. But your shield is definitely weak!!

Anonymous said...

Swapan,

I never saw Barkha or NDTV reporting how a PR person for Tata/Ambanis was lobbying to get Raja into Telecom Ministry. Was that news shown on NDTV? If not, what is/was the use of Barkha cultivating so many sources? What "news" came out of it?

Anonymous said...

Dear Swapan,

Firstly, I have great respect for both Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghavi for their contributions to the Indian media. Having said that, if a person (doesn't matter who it is) has done something inappropriate, his/her action needs to be condemned. There is nothing wrong in calling a spade a spade!

Secondly, one can easily question some of the byways of political journalism you have mentioned.

“Journalists are habitually accustomed to boast about their contacts and their easy access to the homes of the high and mighty.
This is plain vanity. Many of the Radia tapes are replete with boasts.”

There is nothing wrong in boasting. But the conversation suggests it was not mere boasting.

“Journalists often play courier between politicians. This isn't necessary but sometimes it helps to gather additional info. Equally, it may be a labour of love. It may suggest political bias/preference. But it doesn't necessarily imply corruption.”

Very convenient defense! When journalists pass comments about politicians, bureaucrats, and other public servants for interfering in affairs unrelated to their domain, how can you defend journalists’ role as “playing courier between politicians?” Exchange of information (when necessary) can and has happened in the past either directly or through back channels, right? Is it the job of the journalists to pass messages from one party to the other?

“Being in touch with lobbyists, PR companies and advocacy groups is part of the news gathering game. No one can be tarred for just being in touch with Radia who, after all, represented two big corporations. What, after all, is the difference between Radia and some NGOs. Aren't they all lobbyists?”

Again a feeble defense! The journalists in question were not “just being in touch” as you write. They talked more than what was necessary for fair reporting.

Finally, if you consider yourself a fair journalist, you should look at the whole episode through the eyes of the general public. What we expect from all the responsible people (including journalists) is honesty and integrity at work. As somebody has rightly pointed out, when everybody (including the media) expects the EC, CVC, CBI, CAG, and all other organizations to do their job keeping their political inclinations aside, what is wrong in expecting a journalist – irrespective of his/her political leaning – to report fairly? Will you accept if one of the aforesaid organizations subverts the case against one political party because the chief of the organization has a certain political view? For all these journalists to question/comment and sit in judgment about other people is unfair. They have to maintain the necessary standards to write/talk about others. If they can’t practice they should stop preaching.

An Agnostic Rational voice said...

Trojan horse Swapan Dasgupta you don't know what thou have done by supporting Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and others. Their act is indefensible, so I won't waste my point in berating them. No amount of clarification, like you have given, can change the truth. Even pro-China Marxist like N.Ram has refused to defend them.

I just want to focus my post in berating, insulting and ripping apart you. Because I feel you, Sushma and your traitor TV celebrity friends et al are the biggest danger to BJP and to this nation. I'm no fan of BJP by the way, it's just that I feel it's a lesser evil and theek-thak option for this country in comparison to Congress.

Coming to the point.

You might have forgotten this but we have NOT: how the people you have decided to support have gone overboard in vilifying NaMo, in demonizing the BJP etc.

You might have have forgotten- or perhaps don't want to remember because they call you in their studio so that you can make your bogus points by uttering air more than words in low-pitched voice- how they behaved as Congress spokespersons in the last LokSabha election, but we have not forgotten that.

Just recently, these very same people whom you are defending were spreading canards against Ayodhya Judgement. They support Hurriyat, Islamists, vilify Amarnath agitators etc and you have decided to support them? Kya hogaya hai aapko? Kya aap aandhe ho gaye hai?

You can't be my hero, my icon. You have blundered, which you'll realize later; perhaps repent also. Must say terrible misreading of situation on your part.

If you decided to support them then you must also admit openly that you endorse the use of words like Hindu Fuhrer, Hitler, Fascist to describe NaMo. Not only that, you should also admit openly that you have no problem with news twisting , giving spin to news etc.

Anyway the only good this post of yours have done is that it has exposed you before your fans and supporters. Ab tum apne supporters ki nazro mai gir chuke ho. Now they won't trust or treat you as "hum mai se ek", "hum jaisa", or "hamara Swapan".

And please don't think I've written this because I want you to change your views. I don't think you will rectify bungle of your life and do the course-correction. I just want to put things on record. I just want to tell how shocking, shattering and embarrassing this post of yours have been to most. Though I'm not surprised at all since you never impressed me. Through my post I've merely tried to voiced the anger of many patriotic, Non-Hindutva type center-right rationalistic Neo-cons. That's it.

PS: Due to browser errors I might have posted this post many times. Please allow only one.

An Agnostic Rational voice said...

Trojan horse Swapan Dasgupta you don't know what thou have done by supporting Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and others. Their act is indefensible, so I won't waste my point in berating them. No amount of clarification, like you have given, can change the truth. Even pro-China Marxist like N.Ram has refused to defend them.

I just want to focus my post in berating, insulting and ripping apart you. Because I feel you, Sushma and your traitor TV celebrity friends et al are the biggest danger to BJP and to this nation. I'm no fan of BJP by the way, it's just that I feel it's a lesser evil and theek-thak option for this country in comparison to Congress.

Coming to the point.

You might have forgotten this but we have NOT: how the people you have decided to support have gone overboard in vilifying NaMo, in demonizing the BJP etc.

You might have have forgotten- or perhaps don't want to remember because they call you in their studio so that you can make your bogus points by uttering air more than words in low-pitched voice- how they behaved as Congress spokespersons in the last LokSabha election, but we have not forgotten that.

Just recently, these very same people whom you are defending were spreading canards against Ayodhya Judgement. They support Hurriyat, Islamists, vilify Amarnath agitators etc and you have decided to support them? Kya hogaya hai aapko? Kya aap aandhe ho gaye hai?

You can't be my hero, my icon. You have blundered, which you'll realize later; perhaps repent also. Must say terrible misreading of situation on your part.

If you decided to support them then you must also admit openly that you endorse the use of words like Hindu Fuhrer, Hitler, Fascist to describe NaMo. Not only that, you should also admit openly that you have no problem with news twisting , giving spin to news etc.

Anyway the only good this post of yours have done is that it has exposed you before your fans and supporters. Ab tum apne supporters ki nazro mai gir chuke ho. Now they won't trust or treat you as "hum mai se ek", "hum jaisa", or "hamara Swapan".

And please don't think I've written this because I want you to change your views. I don't think you will rectify bungle of your life and do the course-correction. I just want to put things on record. I just want to tell how shocking, shattering and embarrassing this post of yours have been to most. Though I'm not surprised at all since you never impressed me. Through my post I've merely tried to voiced the anger of many patriotic, Non-Hindutva type center-right rationalistic Neo-cons. That's it.

PS: Due to browser errors I might have posted this post many times. Please allow only one.

Pijush said...

Swapan'd.., just as politicians declare their assets, isn't it fair that you and others appearing on various NDTV debates should declare to the public what appearance fee you get?

Anonymous said...

Dear Swapan,

I am amazed and humbled to see such a balanced column penned by you. Yes you are known as a BJP supporter while Vir and Barkha are known Congress supporters. For you to rise above that difference and approach this subject from a sane, mature viewpoint is truly amazing.

I never liked you before. But I am a Swapan Dasgupta fan now. Because you have shown yourself worthy of my respect.

Thank you Sir!

Anonymous said...

Dear Swapan,

Firstly, I have great respect for both Barkha and Vir for their contributions to the Indian media. Having said that, if a person has done something inappropriate, his/her action needs to be condemned. There is nothing wrong in calling a spade a spade!

Secondly, there is nothing wrong in boasting. But the conversation suggests it was not mere boasting.

Thirdly, you present a convenient defense. When journalists pass comments about politicians, bureaucrats, and other public servants for interfering in affairs unrelated to their domain, how can you defend journalists’ role as “playing courier between politicians” when they go out of line?" Exchange of information (when necessary) can and has happened in the past either directly or through back channels, right? Is it the job of the journalists to pass messages from one party to the other?

Fourthly, the journalists in question were not “just being in touch” as you write. They talked more than what was necessary for fair reporting.

And finally, if you consider yourself a fair journalist, you should look at the whole episode through the eyes of the general public. What we expect from all the responsible people (including journalists) is honesty and integrity at work. As somebody has rightly pointed out, when everybody (including the media) expects the EC, CVC, CBI, CAG, and all other organizations to do their job keeping their political inclinations aside, what is wrong in expecting a journalist – irrespective of his/her political leaning – to report fairly? Will you accept if one of the aforesaid organizations subverts the case against one political party because the chief of the organization has a certain political view? Journalists, like everybody, must maintain the necessary standards to write/talk about others. If they can’t practice, they should stop preaching.

Anonymous said...

Sir
I have two points which your article doesn't touch upon for which i want to highlight 3 conversations:
1) In one conversation, Radia speaks to Shalini of Tata Power about an insider info of Tata Power withdrawing power to Reliance in Bombay. Both discuss and plan putting a Tata Power Created Financial Analysis presenting a gloomy picture for Reliance. The analysis is meant to be distributed to financial analysts and media.
Is this not criminal? Planning a plant based on insider info when there are few lakh shareholders who get impacted over and above anil ambani?

2) In another conversation, Radia and Manoj discuss Vir's counterpoint around 10 pm on june 20th when the article appeared on June 21st. Possibly the paper was not even ready for print by then. Both Radia and Manoj discussing the "Boss bilkul verbatim likha hai" article.
How did Manoj lay his hands on Vir's column even before the paper went to print?

3) In yet another conversation, Baiju of MINT calls Radia and sucks up to her trying to extract info. Is sucking up to corporate lobbyists the rite way to get exclusives?

Do share your views.

BK Chowla, said...

I am sorry, but for once you are most unconvincing.

Anonymous said...

Aw , c'mon Swapan! Bharka and Vir have got caught in "their Monica lewinsky" moment! it has been recorded in history that they were caught "mouthing" inappropriate things -Whatever they say ,or anybody else says from now on -nothing will change - their pathetic defence that they were 'stringing along' Nira for a story is as prepostourous and bizzare as "if Monica had said in her defence that she was just doing a "loyalty test" on Bill clinton and that too at Hillary's behest"-So,Swapan- maybe you can tell this "jokingly to Arundathi's sister and Rahul's elder brother " when you meet them.As Moncia was 'sucked into the corridors of power for her kicks in life- so too were Bharka and Vir "sucked" in for their kicks- only to realize they were 'sucker punched'instead!

Oldtimer said...

I was wondering if Swapan Dasgupta would publish in print his reaction to the Radia tapes controversy. This blog post seems to suggest that he won't.

I don't think he is particularly defending Barkha Dutt or Vir Sanghvi, but he definitely is condoning the Wheeling Dealing School of Journalism. Perhaps there's a note of self-awareness and introspection here, reflected in the title, which ought to have been, in my view:

ENDS JUSTIFY MEANS!
(And what did you think otherwise, you ignoramus?)

Actually I wouldn't disagree with that title either. Sometimes journalists may have to use not-so-straightforward methods to get at the truth, if public interest is involved. In this instance though, Swapan (deliberately?) misses out telling us what ends were served by journalists hobnobbing with lobbyists and promising to intercede on their behalf with politicians.

Maybe he cannot reveal that to us because Barkha and Vir are his "sources" , and cannot be compromised by him beyond a point. Let's wait for the memoirs he'd write after retirement.

Anonymous said...

Swapan da, there is a laxman rekha in every proffesion. I think most of the journalists these days goes beyond this rekha repeatedly. Now a days we find the print and tv media is full of 'paid' news, which is not good for democracy. As ordinary readers - we do not want jounalists working as propoganda ministers (modern day Goebel (s)) be it you or Barkha Dutt.

I am also a right winger - but I would expect journalists like you to present news first and then analyse them - not otherwise!

ಪಕ್ಕದ ಮನೆ ಹುಡುಗಾ ! said...

Am glad that at least the corruption in media has come out in the public domain for discussion.
I read an interesting article in CATO website about reducing corruption.
Way to reduce corruption is to downsize the government http://www.cato.org/downsizing-government/Downsizing-the-Federal-Government.pdf

Anonymous said...

Hitler finds out about the media black-out of Radia tapes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz1NwxsYntY

Anonymous said...

I hope there is wikileak sort of site which puts the back door discussion of the So called "JOURNALIST".

Sandeep said...

Greetings Swapan,

What to do when the 'Basket' is rotten?

Should not , Journalists and Media houses as a question of propriety:

Journalist in their role as 4th estate of democracy ,declare their assets and not accept any 'awards' including 'Padma awards'?

I think this was expected, when 'Parliament' has been replaced by 'TV Studios', TV anchors are the 'Investigator ,Judge & Jury & Executioners'! and India deciding at 9 on a TV Channel and 'We the People' learning once again where the 'Buck Stops' :-))

Cheers

Sid said...

Swapanda,
yes, objective journalism is a myth. But every journalist should admit his or her biases. If Dutt or her TV channel is so ok then why did not they take the tapes, play it in the channel and explain it away?
The reason is that they felt that they constitute the mainstream media and they can get away with anything. This heavy-handedness is visible everywhere - from governance and academia.
It has been more than three years I stopped watching Indian news channels, I collect news over google. So if people are screaming over internet, there is a valid reason for so. I am only surprised that no foreign media outlet did not pick up the story.

Sanity said...

I wish somebody exposed shady guys with suspected integrity like Swapan Dasgupta. There must be something why he is swinging against the tide and shouting 2+2=5 - I mean supporting a lie so blatantly and shamelessly.

We must check what favors he has gotten from Barkha and liberal media. A clever, cunning Bengali like him just can't put his reputation on the line like this. Something is fishy. Something is cooking.

Swapan is not the only who has dealt with sources. There are many. And they have much higher integrity than Swapan. And surprise-surprise they are from the same school of thoughts from Barkha, Vir and others are. And guess what? They are not buying the arguments of Barkha and Vir but one guy who has suddenly develop Mahatma Gandhi like innocence is. And that guy is ex Trotskyite Swapan Dasgupta. Who has penchant for appearing different from the crowd.

Remember, you are consciously supporting a wrong thing (Adharma). Nature has it way of settling Dharma and Adharma account. Who knows it may not decide it in your favor... Just reminding you in case you complaint....

robin said...

Dear Swapan.
You will be on ND TV panel discussion on Radia tapes. The panel seems to be chosen as a pro Barkha team except for Manu Joesph. I am not sure where you stand.But please understand that Barkha had hatred for Modi, Hatred for Hinduism and a unabashed admiration for terrorists. Further if she had a story of DMK using brokers to get telecom she should have revealed it.
If you support Barkha it would be a sad day for Indian Journalism

Nirmal said...

Swapan,
An unbiased, large-hearted piece. But you are defending the indefensible.
At least Vir is having his moment of epiphany. He has said he is taking a sabbatical; that he feels 'battered' and his 'most, most read' column could use a break.
Compare that with the never-ending outrage of the Empress who has discovered that she actually has no clothes. If she could muster even half the contriteness of Vir, some people out there may be willing to forgive and forget. But her continuing protestations on 'valid journalism' and her pathetic 'stringing a source' argument repeated ab-infinitum, only reinforces what made her shoot off her mouth on tape in the first place- a huge ego. Who does she think is a bigger fool- Niira Radia or the public? A woman who has enough balls to have a direct line to all political and industry honchos worth their name, cannot differentiate between a valid go-between and a smart-ass 'i-am-stringing-you-along' journalist? C'mon!!!
Take a break, Barkha. A long one...trust me, your departure will not be lamented

skumar said...

swapan

i think you are being unreasonably charitable to sanghvi and dutt, both of whom have time and again been shown as biased commentators- radia tapes do not add anything who has seen their works already knows. not far back, i was quite amazed to see barkha shouting from roof top as she always does how corrupt lalit modi was. i am no defender of modi but the attempt was only to castigate modi and save others.
this part truth- a la yudishtar of mahabharata- reporting is also being done in cwg scndal, where many iconic scribes are wholly concentrating on kalmadi, deliberately avoiding the fact that he cannot be responsible for construction of stadiums etc.

Anonymous said...

How many of us knew of this news? I picked it from

another post in WSJ (the poster is Anon, so I can't

credit him/her).
She recently bought a posh flat in south Delhi.
http://www.powerbuzz.in/powernews.php?id=1129

You can check the link by know more. I am not sure if

NDTV or anyone cared to report it. She may say there is

witchhunt going on. But, it is all in Radiagate, once

the mud has stained, more and more hidden news is

getting leaked! Will they blame it on corp rivalry? It

is a long haul to clear the reputation of herself, and

NDTV, and the media in general. Will they simply shove

it under the carper saying no one else is cleaning up

their mess, why should we? Or, the Press Council of

India or some such body will act to clean up the mess.

N Ram was frank in saying had this happened in BBC,

heads would have rolled by now. Why are Indian media

houses not taking the cue? Is it because there is MORE

to HIDE at the top? When AG can argue in the Supreme

Court that impeccable integrity is not the need for

holding high offices, then the media is justified it

taking the cue from UPA and its attorney general.

Pradeep said...

N Ram in Yesterday's program on Headlines Today made an apt observation on Barkha & Vir's claims that they were stringing along/playing along with Niira radia as she was a good source for them.
He asked what were they stringing along, the conversations were largely around Cabinet berths to DMK leaders. NDTV like other Channels have their sources within evry political party, more so in Congress, if Barkha & Vir were all that they were interested in was on who in DMK gets which Ministerial berths, then they could have directly got that info from their sources within Congress and DMK, as they are more rliable and privy to internal discussions. what kind of startling information could Niira have given to Barkha on this issue?

Pradeep said...

and on the NDTV program which was supposed be a grilling session for Barkha and she was supposed answer questions from independent editors & journos? She tried hard to turn it into mudslinging match between Open Magazin's Joseph on a trivial issue on confirming with people in question before publishing the tapes, raw tapes, etc.
I can name NDTV committing this error 100 times on issues related to BJP, and Modi in particular.

Chandar said...

Dear Swapan

Ask Barkha to show you (from NDTV archives) her interview with Nitish sometime (about a year or less) back. See for yourself how she desperately tries to make Nitish say he will break away from BJP. She failed to get the answer she wanted. But see how many times she rephrased the same question to get the result she wanted. In my opinion she is a rotten egg.

Second, watch her programmes closely and you will notice how she cuts off opinions if it goes against her idea or against Congress or Muslims. That is certainly not neutral.

Third point, she makes it sound being a Hindu somehow makes me anti secular. She seems to think Congress is secular. She does not however explain how Congress can be secular when it hobnobs with exclusively Muslim parties. Certainly you don't believe parties with exclusively Muslim members are secular.

Varun said...

Swapanda,

Hope your 'bail out' of Barkha results in a better coverage of NaMo and BaJaPa in future.

This is the quid-pro-quo we've been talking. Hope you managed to swing this deal with the voice of the hurriyat !!

Varun said...

Swapanda,

Hope your 'bail out' of Barkha results in a better coverage of NaMo and BaJaPa in future.

This is the quid-pro-quo we've been talking. Hope you managed to swing this deal with the voice of the hurriyat !!

Cyfanfor said...

I'm glad at least some people (comments) understand the role of a journalist.

However, a few points must be made.

1.
Every news organization and news-person in the WORLD has some political leaning or the other. You have to be either Liberal or Conservative, Left or Right - you can't be - as a human being - ambivalent about your own choice on such clear matters. I wouldn't trust a journo who couldn't decide if he/she is leftist, rightist or centrist.

2.
I disagree with your observation on Vir's explanation. Yes, it is POSSIBLE that a rehearsed / pre-scripted interview is meant with a propagandist agenda. But unlikely. Vir is not an "expose" journalist. Vir's style has never been to attack his subjects, like Karan Thapar's often is, for instance. In a Vir Sanghvi interview, I expect no surprises, and I would PREFER that the subject got to think about his answers and respond clearly and well.

I am not a journo. I work in Entertainment. And so I understand the concept of a interview run-through perfectly.

It doesn't mean you're putting words in their mouths, just making sure the shoot goes smoothly.
And the Ambani in question is known to be not-too-happy with interviews.

What Rohit said,

Sanghvi clearly said he would fix and script the interview and also set the "tone" of his column as it wud suit Radia but also in a subtle manner which would fool ordinary viewers as a "balanced" article

is simply NOT true. He didn't say that. Now Rohit is putting words into Vir Sanghvi's mouth.

This whole thing is getting silly and disproportionate.

And the only one it seems to be good for is whoever it is whose 2G Scam secrets are safe for now, because the people who dig these things out are too busy mud-slinging!

Anonymous said...

all said... none should proclaim to be a CONG-REPORTER so openly on twitter atleast... even though her bio mentions her as an editor... i guess a balance is necessary atleast if just to keep the viewer hooked...

Rajiv said...

The most honest and truly 'straight-from-the-gut' post I have ever seen.

I was not at all surprised after closely looking at the inner functioning of media after hearing all the tapes ... neither I find Radia doing some bigtime wrong thing, frankly speaking. I feel most of her lobbying was for right purpose only, except lobbying for the appointment of Raja, which is again quite subjective, the scam would anyway happen if it was going to happen over money even if there was Dayanidhi Maran or Baalu instead of Raja.

Having said that I don't agree with your one assessment that corrupt journalists will be 'tiny' in number as you put it, I feel that number will be quite large, and people like Barkha, Vir Sanghvi, Vinod Sharma, Vinod Mehta (at times), and many back-stage NDTV guys will definitely make it to the top in that list.

Alok said...

Is VINOD SHARMA a Jounalist ?
Does he really believe that anybody believes that he is bi-partisan.
Dear Mr. Sharma, we have a brain.. Anybody can see what you are up to. Suggest you leave jounalism to fair people and please join Congress and become their official mouthpiece. Dont hide behind the facade of a journalist.