Telescope: TV who’s who

Somebodies, nobodies, and those in between.

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Published:December 24, 2015 12:01 am
Arun Jaitley, Arvind Kejriwal, kejriwal, jaitley, Jaitley defamation, DDCA Arun jaitley, DDCA kejriwal, kejriwal defamation case, DDCA news, Delhi news, India news AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal (left) and BJP leader Arun Jaitley.

Rajender Kumar? Who’s he? Last week, he was breaking news, now he’s news. Principal Secretary to Arvind Kejriwal, his office was raided by the CBI, kicking off a storm of protests from Kejriwal & Co that culminated in the AAP’s accusations against Arun Jaitley — this week’s Breaking News.

The AAP turned the news on its head: At press conference after press conference, it went from being accused of defending alleged corrupt officers to accusing Jaitley of just that — and more. Meanwhile, Kumar is presumably in his “raided” office, perhaps contemplating the excessive alcohol discovered in his house by the CBI.

Parliament? What’s that? A disrupted House. Acrimony over the DDCA and Jaitley ensured Parliament’s standstill. Journalist Padma Rao lamented that the “kaalchakra” of political vendetta had cost the nation hundreds of crores this washed out session — “taxpayers’ money”. (NDTV24x7).

Taxpayer? Who cares?

“Justice”. Discussing the new juvenile justice bill, anchor Nidhi Razdan asked, “Has justice been served?” (NDTV24x7). News channels, at least some, didn’t want justice — what a thought — they wanted a lynching, or at very least, a campaign: NewsX’s “#Pass the bill campaign” — “Nirbhaya betrayed. Brute walks free.”

NewsX mirrored Times Now: “India fails Nirbhaya”. Now, what has India got to do with it? Anchor Arnab Goswami
hastily clarified that “India’s politicians have failed” Nirbhaya or Jyoti Singh, as her mother has bravely come out and put a name to the December 16, 2012 Delhi rape victim. What’s in a name? Everything, in this case.

“With no law, he walks free,” Times Now shouted on Monday, selective amnesia allowing them to forget that the “law” had found him guilty and punished him.

Who’s he, by the way? “The most brutal rapist”, the juvenile in the December 16 rape-murder, released after three years. How do Times Now and NewsX know he’s a “brute”, “the most brutal rapist”? Brutal truth, they don’t. But then, truth — what’s that?

Answers. Who gives answers? Or better still, who has ever given a reply to a question that’s not a question?
So, the AAP’s Ashish Khetan recalled Jaitley reportedly saying Manmohan Singh was responsible for improprieties
under his charge, therefore Jaitley should be responsible for the DDCA’s conduct under his watch.

What do you have to say to that?

Razdan asked the BJP’s Sambit Patra. Prompt came the reply-question: “What about Arvind Kejriwal?”
“But I’m asking you about J…” protested Razdan feebly, to no avail. On TV, there are never any answers, only unans-
wered questions.

Badaun. It used to be just another UP village. Last week, it became Peepli Live — the film of the media jamming the roads and the airwaves about a farmer “suicide” played out for real here. The media travelled to the juvenile’s village home and poked the microphone into faces, including his mother’s who had taken to her bed to hide beneath some makeshift bed-clothes. But they found her. Tuesday morning, a surreal scene: A reporter sat on her, sorry, on her bed, thrust the long hand of the media at her pixilated face: Do you think he has been punished enough? (NDTV24x7).

The court. Suddenly, and ironically, it’s where politicians want to be seen. Saturday, the beautifully orchestrated and executed appearance of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi at a Delhi court. Arun Jaitley’s Monday visit was much more of a jostle, since it had been hastily planned, but it is no less significant: Politicians will now take their fight from the TV studios, the streets and the legislature inside the courts.

Kirti Azad? Who?

Nobody — at least to India TV and Times Now. Monday evening, reporting on Jaitley’s stout defence of himself in Parliament, both news channels ignored Azad’s Lok Sabha comments pertaining to Jaitley. India TV’s Rajat Sharma went further: He warned the AAP that they would live to regret the attack on Jaitley.
Next week, more who’s who.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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