Arnab Goswami, the editor-in-chief of TimesNow, struck gold a few days ago, with an interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his first with a private Indian news channel after becoming the Prime Minister in May, 2014.
The interview instantly became a smash-hit, garnering 1.4 billion impressions on Twitter and over 10 million on Facebook. It had everyone talking. Modi supporters were ecstatic over Prime Minister’s measured yet authoritative responses. Many eminent personalities also hailed Mr. Goswami for his questions on a range of issues.
However, a large section of the left (political parties, their supporters, Mr. Goswami’s counterparts in rival media channels and in journalism circles) was not happy.
It seemed as if they were responding out of sheer jealousy and their own inability to score big interviews. Understandably these seemingly sordid responses reached Mr. Goswami and he has now penned down a response. And true to his nature, he has been quite ruthless to his detractors.
Here’s a few excerpts from the piece.
On a proprietor of a news paper:
“Last evening, in a social gathering, the editorially inclined proprietor of a newspaper that has run a campaign against the interview came across and congratulated me heartily…. I of course avoided asking him why it seemed his Lutyens Delhi based editors were reacting as if a calamity had hit them.”
On Sagarika Ghose’s now-deleted Tweet (above):
“One of them, a has-been anchor who desperately lobbies for an opportunity to be invited on my Newshour debates, even put out a tweet asking why the prime minister chose to give an interview to me and not hold a press conference. Embarrassed by the angry reactions, she deleted the tweet later. I thought her question was intellectually disjointed. Across the world, the first exclusive interviews are given to anchors and channels who command viewership. Not to those who nobody watches. Period.”
On him being “soft” on his questioning:
“Three answers should silence this industry that obsesses about me. First, I used the same tone with Rahul Gandhi. If this industry is disappointed with how he let them down, its not my problem. Second, Frankly Speaking is an interview and The Newshour is a debate, both are therefore different styles and formats. And finally, “Mr Prime Minister” is the most appropriate reference point when you are speaking to the Prime Minister.”
Though we may not agree with his views all the time, neither the way he conducts himself at times during his debate show, The NewsHour, but his responses here cannot be ignored as an angry retaliation. For the simple fact that he is right.
His show has the highest ratings among all other English news channels for years on end. He does have a knack of getting interviews with the country’s biggest political leaders and lastly, a one-on-one interview is definitely a different format than debating with nine bobbing heads screaming at each other at all times.