Dear Arnab, What About Pseudo Journalists?
NEW DELHI: Dear Arnab,
This is my second letter to you. I write with some trepidation as I am sure you will dub me anti-national when I tell you that I do not watch your channel. But belonging to that vast pseudo-majority of Indians who believe in the Constitution of India I feel my blood pressure rising---and these pseudo-doctors tell me that’s not good for health---when I did watch your shows as I found myself questioning my pseudo belief that journalism has to be based on ethics, accountability, responsibility and not covered in muck and dirt to the point where it becomes unrecognisable.
Of course you need not read this letter. I do not expect you to. But perhaps you will after I tell you that I did watch your show, on YouTube after I heard that a young journalist who I have known now for several years was shouted at by you for being an Indian Mujahideen. Of if not IM, at least a supporter. And for doing little more than asking whether the Islamic State video on which you had based your eulogy on was authentic? I was curious whether this young scribe who I had known for years as rather earnest, sincere and honest in his work was now carrying AK 47’s, frothing at the mouth against the Indian state----remember, there is a difference between the nation and the government---and swearing to do pseudo journalists in. I was surprised when your first reaction to his audacity (yes he was being audacious wasn’t he in questioning a famous anchor like you, how dare he when you are working hard to be jury and hangman both for godsakes) was a tame, “well do you think it was a fancy dress by the Islamic State” or words to that effect that in journalistic parlance passes for evading the question.
You disappointed me for that moment Arnab. But then you returned with full vigour, all fists flying and who cares about ethics and the law (Atta Boy!) and reclaimed my faith in you. Of course you did not answer the question but you shouted at the top of your voice, and that should have been enough for those who actually watch you every night.
I think the question had thrown you because not so long ago you ran this morphed video on the JNU students for a couple of days as authentic. And I can quite understand how disturbing questions about the authenticity of a video you have based an entire program on, can be. More so when you attack these millions of pseudo citizens in this country who do not accept the NIA and police version as easily as you do; who raise uncomfortable questions; who want further investigation; who demand a judicial probe when circumstances of an encounter create more suspicion than belief; and who you do not like at all Arnab. So what if they are the majority, they are as I am sure you would say, the pseudo majority!
So you came back and let these chaps standing for justice (pseudos all!) an earful. After all why should you be made to answer questions on authenticity of a video, when even the Union Home Minister of India had based his accusation against a JNU student (ohhh and how you detest that lot too, I agree they are too intelligent and question everything when they should be quiet and listen to us) on a Hafiz Sayeed tweet that was later found to be fake! And that the authorities claim that the student had Jaish e Mohammad linkages and had visited Pakistan several times,was punctured by the fact that he did not even have a passport. I felt somehow that in the next Cabinet reshuffle Prime Minister Narendra Modi must accommodate you. For you would have stuck to the original claim and said that why would the student need a passport, when he could just walk in as a Jaish member into Pakistan. Right? Right.
So like I said you came back in fists flying. And you said, in raised voice that at a later point became a scream directed at the young scribe who kept repeating his question and went on to say that the man showed on the video had died three times before, once in Iraq, once in Syria, once in Afghanistan: “Viewers there is a video released by the Islamic State, 22 minutes, it is slap in the face of the pseudo secularists, slap in the face of the pseudo intellectuals, slap in the face of all those people who argued for the longest time that these were not terrorists in this encounter but the police was on the wrong side..” And what you should have added of course that this is a slap being rendered by pseudo journalists----oh I am sorry that was a slip with this over usage of the pseudo word, one tends to get a little Pavlovian in response.
In this instance you were on to prove that the Batla House encounter was not fake as “all you people” ( said so disparagingly, with the tone making the barb as it were) are out to prove that. All you people, as you said, protecting the Indian Mujahideen and the terrorists. No point in going into details here, as you have been saying this all along, in your show on the Ishrat Jehan case, in all your shows where you seek to prove that those speaking for justice and rights are fake, and those justifying encounters are genuine and nationalists----- and you do this by shouting at them, by ripping into their credentials, by accusing them of motives that they did not even know they had! Now that’s great anchoring, right Arnab? And who cares about the truth and the facts, and the Constitution and the law, and ethics and journalism? All passe so long as we can keep the revenue wheels churning! Bravo! Well done.
Of course such shows feed into a nasty mindset. But then that is not your concern. These feed into polarisation, into the us and the them, more so as you give certificates out for nationalism even as you hang the others. Of course you give them a trial, and those who say you hang without a trial need to be shouted at a bit more, for you are the judge and the jury and the hangman rolled into one. Admirable Arnab, I stand by in awe and wonder.
So ranged on the other side are all those who do not want war but peace; those who speak out for human rights violations (stupid aren’t they as there are no violations of human rights by the Indian governments); those who speak out against the targeting of Muslims and the Dalits; those who insist that Universities should be free to debate and dissent; those who say that fake encounters are a travesty of justice (stupid again, as all encounters are genuine right Arnab?); and so on and so forth as an old school teacher would say.
As you clarified in this program Arnab: “I have a problem with those who mix up secularism and terrorism.” Here I think there was a slip of the tongue. As you probably meant that you do not have a problem with those who mix up secularism and terrorism. After all every time there is a terror attack you attack the secularists. As you did in this show when you accused the secularists of supporting the terrorists. Sorry the pseudo secularists. Those on your show like the journalist were actually insisting that all terrorists should be hung, but that when there was plausible evidence to raise suspicions that an encounter is fake, it should be probed and investigated further. In fact they seemed to be separating the two.
But then you can always shout and say I am wrong. Actually until you shout and scream you don’t appear serious, so I am glad you are doing more and more of that on your shows.
And before I end I must thank you for the invite to your show recently. I would have loved to come but I have to prepare with some care. First I will change my name from Mustafa to maybe Vemula or something?...oh no no, thats no good, you don’t like these Vemula’s either. Anyways maybe I can just become a Goswami too, in a ghar wapsi mode. Then I must learn to scream at those who do not agree with me, call them a few names, throw in pseudo a few times, and of course follow your lead as do many like my old friend Maroof Raza. He is a good man, he likes war too!
Take care Arnab. Be happy and will wait for you on the other side of the fence.
(Read Seema Mustafa's first open letter to Arnab Goswami here).