Kejriwal TV

It’s a question we ought to ask ourselves: how long will Kejriwal be the main feature while Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, forget all the other politicians in the country, act as fillers?

Updated: February 13, 2014 12:07 am
News channels latch on to AAP’s moves, reporting them in the morning, debating them at night. (PTI) News channels latch on to AAP’s moves, reporting them in the morning, debating them at night. (PTI)

On most days, evening news television could be renamed Kejriwal TV. Just as India News should have been rechristened Asaram TV several months ago. Ever since the self-styled godman was charged with rape last November, the channel has had him frequently (as recently as Tuesday) dancing on the heads of the self-styled experts who debate him during the evening show. Is this news entertainment at its best, or, at its worst?

The chief minister of Delhi has gone one better. He’s on the news, daily: in the morning or afternoon, he makes news; in the evening, venerable experts discuss what he did or said to make news. So from the time he became CM over a month ago and began by launching an anti-corruption helpline, Arvind Kejriwal has brought up an issue every morning — it’s been a cough-athon ever since. News channels have gleefully latched on to his every hem and haw — it’s low cost news with high public appeal — and relayed it to the public instantaneously. He couldn’t have asked for a more efficient conveyor belt of his thoughts and actions.

One day we hear him preparing for the launch (no less) of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the next day, he’s passing the Swaraj Bill; one moment he is all for prosecuting former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, the next moment he orders FIRs against industrialist Mukesh Ambani and Union Minister Veerappa Moily. During the day, he’s breathing down a press mike or then it’s that other AAP media-friendly fellow, Prashant Bhushan. By night time prime-time, he’s playing the magician: he’s on air without actually being there, the topic of all conversation. Even Rajya Sabha TV had a sabha about him and this week began with his resignation threat, or as Aaj Tak put it, “Kejriwal kab tak?”

It’s a question we ought to ask ourselves: how long will Kejriwal be the main feature while Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi — forget all the other politicians in the country — act as fillers? Will he manage to dominate TV proceedings even when or if he does resign?

To be fair, Modi is not doing badly. He’s made something of a comeback, with Tuesday evening discussions across channels on the Americans, finally, agreeable to meeting him. Saw his election speech in Manipur earlier over the weekend, where he ad libbed in English quite fluently. You can see and hear nearly all his speeches from all corners of the country, courtesy live streaming. It is probably the first time that the speeches of major leaders during a Lok Sabha campaign are being delivered to everyone who couldn’t be physically present. And nobody delivers better than Modi.

There is far more local coverage too. Most Hindi news channels conduct election debates from near and far. Caught ABP in Maharajganj, UP, chatting up party head honchos of the Congress, BJP, SP and BSP while their respective supporters hollered in the background. Sure, they spouted sweet nothings but you are hearing voices from the heartland and are getting a sense of grassroots politics. If only the channels could reflect more public opinion, less political propaganda.

And is it the first time that you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics (Star Sports 2)? It’s quite dazzling, what with all that ice and snow and snow and ice blinding in the sunlight. And events with such unusual names: luge, curling, skeleton, women’s pursuit, ladies normal hill individual, men’s halfpipe, men’s large hill combined, biathlon, bobsleigh — here we were thinking only ice hockey and figure-skating. Well, it’s all very alien but very exciting, nonetheless, especially because the commentators’ enthusiasm is infectious. In the speed-skating event, one of them exclaimed, “Wonderful!” after every other word, and it was truly a wonder that those magnificent women on magnificently thin blades could cover 500 metres in 37.28 seconds.

It has been well said that the only news is bad news. That is, until Aaj Tak decided to launch Good News Today. The episode on Sunday was more than good, it was inspirational in the story of young Shubhreet Kaur, who was seen dancing on India’s Got Talent (Colors) despite the loss of one leg. Good show.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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  1. O
    Onyx Cleaner
    Feb 13, 2014 at 10:36 am
    Simple. Media demonises AK and eulogises Modi. Author of the article 'acts' oblivious to that and cooks up an imagery of media eulogising AK. This is called spin doctoring..
    Reply
    1. O
      Onyx Cleaner
      Feb 13, 2014 at 10:36 am
      Simple. Media demonises AK and eulogises Modi. Author of the article 'acts' oblivious to that and cooks up an imagery of media eulogising AK. This is called spin doctoring..
      Reply
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        pranay jain
        Feb 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm
        this thing is totally clear..this newly formed party is currently enjoying to be in the limelight..limelight also shows that how they are scared of pulling back of congress support from their party..so i will say they are getting this limelight too with the help of congress only.they are nothing at their own.
        Reply
        1. P
          pranay jain
          Feb 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm
          this thing is totally clear..this newly formed party is currently enjoying to be in the limelight..limelight also shows that how they are scared of pulling back of congress support from their party..so i will say they are getting this limelight too with the help of congress only.they are nothing at their own.
          Reply
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            AniluvG
            Feb 13, 2014 at 5:58 am
            Its because all Mediaperson who are at primetime hav e been rubbisiing Narendra Modi and quite happy to cover anything other than him. Unfortunately for them Rahul hi is not doing much .
            Reply
            1. A
              AniluvG
              Feb 13, 2014 at 5:58 am
              Its because all Mediaperson who are at primetime hav e been rubbisiing Narendra Modi and quite happy to cover anything other than him. Unfortunately for them Rahul hi is not doing much .
              Reply
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                agnelo
                Feb 14, 2014 at 2:21 am
                what is your problem if the cm of delhi is on the news every day, morning to night? let the news channels report as they choose. at least he is doing something about corruption unlike con gress & the bjp who only pay lip service.
                Reply
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                  agnelo
                  Feb 14, 2014 at 2:21 am
                  what is your problem if the cm of delhi is on the news every day, morning to night? let the news channels report as they choose. at least he is doing something about corruption unlike con gress & the bjp who only pay lip service.
                  Reply
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