Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
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Indians who no longer care about ‘khooni jung’ on news channels can say Salaam to Cricket

News channels continue to bowl bouncers at the opposition, ignoring the latest data showing a further fall in GDP and higher unemployment rates.

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By the time you read this, you will be reaching for “Ek Cup Aur”, as CNN News18 calls it, but whether it overflows with cheer or tears will depend on whether Team India turns out as Virat’s Victors or Virat’s Villains against South Africa.

#CricketKaCrown (Star Sports) will anoint one team kings of cricket next month but until then, the crown is up for grabs. As for viewers who no longer care about the political wins and losses, the ‘khooni-jung” every night on TV news discussions, they can better join Rajdeep Sardesai in saying ‘Salaam Cricket’ (India Today).

And so, far away from Modi-Shah’s watch, you could sit back and watch actors Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif match Bollywood faces with batsmen and bowlers’ lookalikes – minutes before the India vs South Africa world cup cricket match.

You want the real thing? How about a commentary team comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag?

Also read: After SP, Congress pulls out all spokespersons from TV news debates for a month

Well, if the little master’s commentary is anything like his comments made before Wednesday’s match to a lady whose accent came from the depths of the English countryside, you’re in for a big yawn: “I feel the first few overs are going to be critical… (on this pitch) you need to watch the first few overs….” Now, you expect that of Harsha Bhogle but from Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar?

And here’s Sourav Ganguly on the first wicket taken by Jasprit Bumrah: ‘Good catch, good strike by India…” That has none of the chutzpah you expect from the former Indian captain who once flamboyantly removed his jersey and whirred it around like a fan.

Meanwhile, in other headlines, news channels continue to bowl bouncers at the opposition when the latest data showed a further fall in GDP and higher unemployment rates – but no news channels barring the economic and business channels were the least bit interested. After all, it’s only the economy, stupid.

Thus, on Monday, CNN News18 reported on Robert Vadra’s movements like a private detective tailing him, after he was permitted to travel abroad; ABP News went after Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath for his diary entries of a money trail that Times Now picked up and ran with on Tuesday too. Republic TV attacked Mamata Banerjee, firing from Jharkhand chief minister’s shoulder after the latter took an aim at her, saying the West Bengal chief minister was converting her state into Pakistan.

All Tuesday, English news channels reported on ‘Vipaksh in ICU’ (CNN News18) as leaders deserted Congress in Maharashtra and Karnataka, Rajasthan saw chief minister bowl the deputy chief minister a Chahal special (figure it out for yourselves or watch the World Cup). “Congress in crisis” reported India Today. And the mahagathbandhan did a Humpty Dumpty and “had a great fall” when Mayawati dumped Akhilesh.

Also read: This election, not just politicians, foul-mouthed TV news anchors must be reined in too

As for coverage of the news government, well, since last Friday, we have seen many ministers drive up in their official cars, alight and inspect their new ministerial offices. Alternatively, we saw them alight their official cars and disappear inside Delhi’s South Block for meetings last Friday and Tuesday. That’s about as close as TV news gets to what is going on in this government.

Which is why, perhaps, it needs the opposition, desperately. So, here’s a thought for them. As the opposition self-destructs with the able assistance of TV news hammering them mercilessly, if and when there is an opposition-mukt Bharat, what will the news channels do? There will be no one to excoriate, rebuff, malign; no one who can be hanged each night in the rogue’s gallery of television debates; no one to play villain…

TRPs will decline drastically, viewers will turn to cricket or the current affairs on soap operas, and we will begin to write obituaries for TV news. So, contrary to current practice, TV news channels should be doing everything they can to keep Rahul Gandhi, the Congress and the opposition alive and kicking – it is in their self-interest.

Also read: Indian TV channels still in election mode, covering every Modi move & taunting Rahul Gandhi

Now, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Speaking of soaps, here’s a thought for the Congress: appoint Nimki Mukhiya as your president (Star Bharat). She has spunk, she has homespun wisdom, and she is totally unselfconscious. Besides, she knows how to turn adversity to advantage, just like how Modi does.

And doesn’t she know how to put a man in his place, with her sunny, ‘Hello, hi, Gudmaarning’! Ask her ‘husband ji’ Babbu and his hapless family who have been attacked repeatedly – and she’s still the last one standing.

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