Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation Tuesday | Photo: ANI
File photo | Prime Minister Narendra Modi | ANI
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When Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the nation Tuesday evening, we knew what to expect — TV news anchors falling over each other trying to outdo all comers in praise of the PM.

This, at a time when US President Donald Trump is getting ‘jootas’ (how else would you describe what he faces each day?) from the ‘fake news’ liberal media. He is cross-questioned so persistently and relentlessly that he walked out, again, from his White House briefing.

Questions? Nothing could be further from the minds of our TV news anchors. No sooner had Modi announced a Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package, than the accolades poured in.

This is “unprecedented”, exclaimed anchor Navika Kumar on Times Now, “a never seen before package”.

“This is massive,” declared Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami, who is on air despite having shared space with a police officer now Covid-19 positive, during his interrogation by the Mumbai Police a few weeks ago.

“Biggest ever stimulus,” said NewsX.

No, agreed-disagreed News 18 India, “Biggest announcement.”

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“A gift” to the poor and the middle class, said Zee News, as if Modi was Father Christmas.

“This government is sensitive,” added Anand Narasimhan, soothingly, on CNN News18, “it is listening to the problems we are all facing….”

“New look, new deal,” added the channel.


Also read: PM speech: Sitharaman confused, Anand Mahindra sleepless, what Yashwant Sinha admires


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Rahul Shivshankar at Times Now was full of admiration too, but he also wanted his channel to live in reflected glory: he said his colleague Navika Kumar had told viewers before the speech what to expect — that this would be “dedicated to the most hard-working…” people in the country (that is, the labour and the middle class). Modi, he felt, “has really lived up to that promise”.

Kumar, herself, thought it was better than that. “More than anyone bargained for,” she observed, adding for good measure that it was a “game-changer… the beginning of a new India”.

Given how impressed Navika Kumar was by the stimulus, it was no surprise that she expected others to be equally awestruck. So, when she spoke to Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi, she asked, “Would you like to congratulate the PM on his package…?”

Atishi’s expressionless face said she didn’t, but she didn’t want to sound churlish, either. “We definitely welcome the size of this package,” she said as though it was an Amazon or Flipkart delivery. Then she gave a standard political reply: “But it is too early to comment on the nature of the package… I believe that the devil lies in details.” “Devil”? Didn’t Zee News say this was a “gift”?


Also read: New panel of officials, ‘credible journalists’ to help improve India’s press freedom rank


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Some anchors felt their chests swell with patriotic pride.

One such was Arnab Goswami. “We should all feel proud to be Indians tonight. Proud because as a self-reliant nation we all should be marching ahead with a strategic plan… A sense of belief that we will rebuild India,” he said as if he was delivering the PM’s speech.

Rajdeep Sardesai on India Today also saw a plan for a “self-reliant India”, but he wasn’t sure how effusively he should welcome it since Modi had left the “devils” and details to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

He didn’t need to bother. BJP participants in TV debates did all the boasting for the PM. “This is massive,” said Zafar Islam on NewsX, praising the PM for caring about India.

It was the “mission and vision of a new India”, said Nalin Kohli, looking more enlightened than the anchors or viewers (Times Now).


Also read: Home ministry can withdraw security clearance to TV channels under new draft guidelines


Modi’s TV interpreters

Still other anchors appeared to be the PM’s interpreters. India TV’s Rajat Sharma spent his 9 pm show patiently explaining the speech to viewers: when Modi says be ‘self-reliant’ he doesn’t mean depend on the government. It means being, well, self-reliant — DIY. It means reforms, improving infrastructure, etc. Sharma then decided to share the recipe for a “new” India: for starters, Make in India needs investors and quality control of products.

In the Zee News studio, Sudhir Chaudhary also delivered a summary of PM Modi’s speech, explaining at each stage what the PM meant by what he said. He then offered some of the highlights of what the stimulus package may offer: tax benefits, EMI relief, and money in the hands of the poor.

Back on the lawns of the White House, Monday, President Trump walked away from his briefing after crossing words with an ABC correspondent on her “nasty” question, refused to take questions from another reporter, and then strode off with a curt ‘Thank you very much’.

This kind of exchange occurs almost daily at the White House and news channels such as CNN International challenge every sentence President Trump utters or find fault with his response to the coronavirus.

In this respect, at least, Trump would be happy to exchange place with his friend Modi.

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8 Comments Share Your Views

8 COMMENTS

  1. Ms. Bajpai, your angst and anger is understandable as your masters are in dog house just now, and perks are not coming your way.
    BTW, you are here to play NYT, WPJ and other assorted news agencies role in India. if you are not getting public attention, then, do some introspection.

  2. Brahmin upper caste scumbags are whining agains. After all their janeaudhaaris Banerjees, yechurys etc etc still doens’t stand a change against OBC Modi. These upper caste journalists who have come up after serving congi netas are now pissed off that they are no longer getting free trips, flats etc since modi came. Toh frustrations will be released with such third rate articles. BAJPAI should put shendis on her own caste not others.

  3. People who are bent on deriding the PM and the present dispensation will continue with their agenda. Despite several market leaders lauding the Government for its proactive measures, there are still many out there who find fault with everything that this government does. True, there have been several shortcomings in the Government’s response to the pandemic, but to dismiss every relief measure instituted by the Government as mere showbiz is puerile.

  4. Prostitution of journalism !! Nothing else…nothing less!!! They have to please MODIJI !!1Otherwise.””..Dekh lunga…Tujhe dekh lunga”” !!!Ha…Ha!!1Ha!!1

  5. 500 transfer already provided for in the budget. 2000 kisan scheme front-loaded to march instead of july. so the first package virtually dosen’t involve any extra spending. then comes this package. 300000 credit without co-lateral. and the remaining 2,5 largely again credits from banks . the govt outgo in terms of spending may be around 25000 crores in the entire exercise
    the only spending is 2500 crores towards epf. for three months . but by reducing the epf contribution to 10 percent the interest payable on 2 percent of epf both employer and employee contribution saved. good fudging.
    whatever announcements have been made are measures which do not involve any extra spending from the centre kitty. states are facing serious fin crisis. no announcement on frbm. credit limits. no central assistance. no financial aid to migrant labor. mnrega also already budgetary allotment has been made.
    the only siver lining is today’s announcemnt that 3100 crores from PM cares will be spent on ventilators, migrant workers assistance and will be distributed to states. at last , the emperor has been moved by the plight of these poor second class citizens of this country after almost 400 have died
    better late than never.
    and what a monumental fraud. 25 percent tds relief. hahaha. the relief will have to be paid next year while filing returns. this is not reduction but postponement of payment, and the godi media and the candle lighting middle class as usual moronic.
    the only outcome is going to be npas. already around 14 lakh crores. and one year moratorium on emi . no colateral,
    the revenue will be hit as far as this fin year is concerned . agri has been the only saving grace. and this lock down has not been used to put infra healath in place. we remain where we were three months back.
    again reserve bank , psus, and banks psu will come to the rescue of the govt
    first open the msmes and most of them are in the major cities, all in red zone. giving loans if they do not restart , will it serve the purpose. no plans . no thinking, no inclination to listen to anybody, even pushing the onus of lockdown relaxation is meant to escape blame tomorrow for the mess we are in.
    strong leadership.

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