Don’t call yourself a journalist, you are a reality show host.
You can term it as wishful thinking, but I sincerely hope that this letter finds you with a bit of natural reticence – as you get a fleeting break from the loud harangues that you bask in every single day.
I would like to take you to a recent incident that happened at your studio on March 21, 2018, during the prime-time debate. Your team reached out to me several times to be a panellist on the debate and present my views on the topic. Despite my differences with you, I came on your debate to express my “opinions” and, lo and behold, I didn’t get any chance to do so.
The moment I tried to share my views, India Foundation’s blue-eyed girl chimed in and strayed from the subject with her boisterousness and constant wisecracking. She asked me what relationship I have with the Congress party, and you didn’t stop her from digressing. In fact, many viewers later told me that you seemed to be wallowing in the profound contempt the lady was exhibiting on national media.
And it wasn’t something new Mr. Arnab. You knew that it had become a norm for this lady to attack people with vicious remarks. Why wouldn’t you be aware anyway? After all, it happens only on your show. Rather than treating panellists as equals, you get them humiliated and insulted on purpose. Just because I was defending Congress, doesn’t mean you have the right to demean me, or any other panellist who isn’t in favour of the ruling government.
The fact that a woman was defaming another woman, and you were busy portraying your effete behaviour tells a lot about you and your channel, Mr. Arnab. Even when the Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari told you that you must condemn the lady who was haughtily making personal remarks, you did not mediate, and you call yourself a moderator on your debates!
I remember the time when you carved a niche for yourself in the Indian Media. Till 2014, I and many of my friends and family members appreciated your work. But, not anymore.
Today, you are merely a reflection of the crony media regime. You and your channel have reduced to a noisy display of one-sided opinions, kowtowing to the ruling government. Anyone who has watched your channel can identify it with high-pitched drama and derisive debating, hidden under the charade of “objectivity”.
On the one hand, your channel claims to be the voice of people – a voice that is too loud to be silenced, and on the other hand, you call people to your channel as panellists and silence their opinions. Hypocrisy at its finest!
Being the highly intellectual man that you think yourself to be, you should have a basic understanding of ‘true’ journalism – one that’s free from bigotry and chauvinism. However, that’s not the case. Your hate for Rahul Gandhi and Congress is apparent, and you can’t shy away from the element of personal animosity that you carry for them.
If supporting Rahul Gandhi or Congress is such a sin in your eyes, then I wonder why your team hounds Congress sympathisers to make an appearance on your channel. What’s more intriguing is the fact how your team manages to manipulate the volume levels of your panellists as per your liking for them.
In almost every debate of yours, voices are lowered either to let the world listen to your uncouth rants or to those of your preferred speakers.
But, people are not imbeciles to understand that your debates are scripted, controlled, and “moderated” as per your whims and fancies. They not only lack substance, thanks to your incessant screams and outbursts but have been working on the format of reality TV shows – merely producing entertainment value and nothing else.
I have been a part of many newsroom panel discussions so far, and I must tell you Arnab that no other anchor is as unfair, as insensitive, and as boorish as you are. You must drop the belief of being the “boss” everywhere.
Until a few years back, you were regarded as a change agent in Indian journalism. And now, you surely have brought a drastic change in the way Indian news reporters and anchors are seen across the global media – you have turned them all into a laughing stock by being a propagator of hate speech and self-serving bias.
From being one of the eminent journalists in the country to presenting yourself as a reality TV host – you couldn’t have stooped any lower than this.
For self-aggrandisement, you orchestrate plans and sensationalise every single news that brings down the Opposition. But, in doing so, you show that you have no respect for your profession, you have no respect for journalism, and you have no respect for democracy.
You pretend to counter the ruling government, but in your interviews with Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath you turned out to be a smooth-tongued critic who doesn’t pull his punches – quite different from your usual self, right? And the loss is clearly yours Mr. Arnab. You may not have realised this, but the same audience that once praised you for your openness and tough questions has now started to hate you.
It’s about time you came out of your echo chamber, Mr. Arnab. Instead of being a henchman who does hitjobs for political or monetary motives, you must reflect on the way you are destroying journalism.
When speakers at your shows are heckled with hate speech, and you encourage it further, all that’s visible is your love for media sensationalism. How easily your debates go off on a tangent and viewers, who are keen to get information and insights about subjects of national importance, are forced to see prejudiced tirades where challenging voices are consciously muffled.
The U-turn you took from anti-establishment journalism to pro-government journalism clearly shows that you have lost your mojo. By becoming pointlessly blinkered, you have lost all the integrity and credibility that you were once known for. Your shouts, shrieks, and outbursts of hate hint at your lack of confidence.
Whenever I find you yelling at your panellists, converting the newsroom into a Kangaroo Court, a famous quote by Norman Reedus comes to my mind. He once said that, “The dogs with the loudest bark are the ones that are most afraid.” And, I couldn’t agree more with him. The more a person yells at others, the bigger is the problem with the person’s core psyche.
Mr. Arnab, I really feel that every time you indulge in a monosyllable talk, repeating words ad nauseam, you are trying to sheath some underlying guilt. Perhaps you know that you are misleading the country with your distorted beliefs and allegations. And, perhaps, you know that you are not fair to your profession, your countrymen and to your own self.
Nevertheless, one thing that I know for sure is that whenever Congress returns to power (which it will despite your propaganda), whether in 2019 or 2024, you will change and so will your leaning towards the BJP. I won’t be surprised if such a time comes, and Rahul Gandhi – the man with such a big heart that he can forgive his father’s killers – forgives you as well.
But, I will never be able to forgive you for spreading hate, rancour, and bias.
And I will never be a part of your show ever again in my life as I truly feel that an anchor who fails to perform his duty purposefully should be boycotted by all.
You have pushed yourself to absolute inappropriateness. But many level-headed citizens of the country will no longer endorse this blatant misuse of the media’s immense power. And, I am one of them.
From another victim of your nastiness,