New Delhi: Prime time Tuesday was dominated by analysis of Prime Minister Modi’s latest speech on the coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of a nationwide lockdown. News anchors shared their opinion on the 21-day curfew — all tried their best to convince their viewers to stay at home and save lives. Times Now, on the other hand, wondered whether Indians could abide by the “21 day oath”. Internationally, Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, with his usual acidic language, attacked The New York Times and The Washington Post on their coronavirus coverage.
ABP News’ Shobhna Yadava adopted a familiar, comfortable way of speaking to her viewers, “Arre bhai ghar par rahiye kyun ki corona bahar hai” (Guys, please stay at home because coronavirus is around).
Yadava tried to treat coronavirus like an unwanted guest, “You will live despite not being able to step out of the house, but if corona comes in then everything will go wrong.”
She pleaded, “It is just a matter of a few days. Aap ghar par hai toh corona beghar hai” (If you’re at home, then corona is homeless).
Aaj Tak’s Rohit Sardana asked some tough questions, for a change. In a conversation with Dushyant Chautala, Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana, Sardana asked, “Doctors are complaining that their neighbours have asked them to leave their houses because they are treating coronavirus. What do you have to say about this?”
Chautala replied, “Social boycotting is not the way to go. We have to make people more aware of the situation. Doctors are a crucial part of our community. They are like soldiers.”
Zee News anchor Sudhir Chaudhary in his usual self-righteous way said, “This is the first time that a Prime Minister has had to address the nation twice in a week”.
Chaudhary was nothing short of filmy in his description of the 21-day lockdown, “India jahaan tha wahaan ruk jaayega” (India will stop right where it was).
He continued, “This is the biggest lockdown of your life.”
“Coronavirus ka doosra naam maut hai” (coronavirus’ second name is death), he added unnecessarily. We get the point, Mr Chaudhary.
On Times Now, anchor Navika Kumar found it hard to believe that people would follow the 21-day lockdown. Kumar asked, “The real question is will you take the 21 day oath?”
During prime time, she also interviewed a recovered Covid-19 patient, Rohit Dutta. Kumar asked the standard TV news question, “What was your experience like?”
Dutta was feeling rather patriotic, “First and foremost, Jai Hind to my nation, then I would like to pledge whatever my PM says.”
He also decided to give ratings to the hospital service, “The care in the hospital service was unbelievable. I would give it an 11/10”.
India Today’s star anchors Rajdeep Sardesai and Rahul Kanwal seemed to be having an off day. They continued to debate among themselves, leaving their panel members to look on.
Sardesai said, “The rules are such, while there is a curfew, it doesn’t stop you from procuring essentials”.
Kanwal interjected over small technicalities, “There is no curfew. PM Modi said curfew jaisa (like curfew). That is the point here. There is a difference between a lockdown and a curfew.”
Sardesai did not let that go, “But what about Section 144, even now PM Modi has said that it doesn’t stop state governments from ensuring essential services are available”.
Arnab Goswami was looking rather under the weather on Republic TV. Goswami said, “There is no doubt that these 21 days will be challenging. But it is a good thing that we have come to the realisation of the gravity of this battle”.
For some reason, Republic TV decided to include celebrity chef Sanjiv Kapoor as a panel member for the prime time debate.
Kapoor explained, “I don’t think that the PM should have requested or pleaded for something we were already supposed to do.”
Forgetting his privilege, Kapoor continued, “When it comes to food, 21 days are not difficult. Everything will be open… Are we worried? Not at all.”
In other news, Republic TV found itself on the receiving end: after the channel accused Noida’s ESIC Hospital Director of violating curfew, the ESIC issued a stern rejoinder clarifying that the hospital was treating critical patients and requested the media’s “cooperation and forbearance”.
— ESIC (@esichq) March 24, 2020
Onto some news from outside India, Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson was visibly annoyed, “Since the past few days, the media has been shouting at you about the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Now they have decided who is responsible for this pandemic, Fox News,” he deliberated.
Carlson listed a bunch of articles from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vox and more. He claimed that Fox News had taken the threat of coronavirus seriously way before these media publications did.
Carlson did not mince his words, “None of these people cared for you or your health… They cared about feeling virtuous. They put their wokeness above you and above your life as they always have and always will.”
CNN interviewed some nurses who treated coronavirus patients in the US. One of the nurses described it as a “war zone”. Another claimed that red eyes were one of the symptoms of coronavirus, even though it hasn’t been officially reported as one.