New Delhi: Prime Time was divided: what should have been an evening devoted to celebrating India-US friendship — aka the Modi-Trump bromance — ended up as a juggling act between screen space for the US President and covering the violence in many parts of North-east Delhi late afternoon in which a police constable and four civilians died.
Unfortunately, in the evening, coverage of the Delhi riots trumped Trump. This, after the cameras had followed the US President around the entire day like his security detail: where he went, TV news was sure to go.
In the evening, news channels replayed President Trump’s speech at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad and reiterated the bonhomie between him and Modi — they hugged six times, India Today said.
India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai summed up it all uo: “(This was) the Modi-Trump show all the way… everyone else was kept in the shadows… maybe that was the intention…”
After only sporadic live coverage of the violence in Delhi during the day, TV news made up for lost time, at prime time. Most of the coverage emphasized that pro- and anti-CAA protesters were equally to blame – and the police? It seemed they were out of the picture. Rahul Shivshanker on Times Now asked: “Why was the police overwhelmed?”
However, channels like India TV and Zee News took political aim at the violence breaking out on the day President Trump landed in Delhi: “timing samajhiye”, observed India TV.
All news anchors were frankly appalled by the solitary gunman who was seen pointing a pistol at a policeman armed with a feeble lathi.
ABP News’ anchor Rubika Liyaquat declared that she didn’t have good news: “When have you witnessed in Delhi that a gunda is waving his tamancha (gun) and walking towards the police?”
Liyaquat seemed to have conveniently forgotten the Jamia shooter. She concluded, “… his only motive was to break the peace”.
NDTV India’s Ravish Kumar didn’t mince words: “It has never been the case that a high profile person came to India and India’s capital was witness to riots”. Kumar asked a series of uncomfortable questions, “What kind of picture are we painting for Delhi, one wherein pistols are being waved, or where slogans of shooting traitors are being sung?”
Zee News saw anchor Sudhir Chaudhary continue as Sudhir Chaudhary: “This was a tactic to defame India in front of the entire world. The ‘tukde tukde gang’ and Lutyens media are responsible for this”.
Chaudhary was also worried about the foreign media: “When the international media covers this, they will forget the grand welcome offered to Trump by India.”
At India Today, anchor Rajdeep Sardesai asked if the violence would “…obscure a certain reality on the ground?” and the Trump visit.
To which K.P. Singh, a former diplomat, replied, “It is a battle for images… This was the last thing they would have wanted.”
Republic’s Arnab Goswami was self-righteous and in attack mode: “When citizens are held to ransom by anti-social elements, policemen doing their duty are killed during riots, it should not be called a democratic protest.”
Goswami added, “It should be a wakeup call for those who made a case for anarchy. Will they take responsibility for the lives lost tonight?”
Tanveer Ahmed, spokesperson, JD(S,) then asked a question that many ought to have asked; “Why is Kejriwal keeping quiet?’’
Times Now anchor Padmaja Joshi asked, “Shouldn’t we have been expecting this, when a visit is coming up, shouldn’t have there been some restraint?”
Smita Prakash, editor, ANI, knew whom to blame: “Woke people who sit behind and propel others to come on the streets with stones and guns must be blamed.
“They are taking advantage of the current situation to bring out their angst.”
NDTV 24×7 went back to Trump: anchor Nidhi Razdan restricted herself to Trump’s Motera trip. She wondered whether Trump’s visit “had turned out to be more of a spectacle than substantial”.
She answered her own question later, “Some would say that with Trump, spectacle is part of the substance, you would have to massage his ego.”
And finally, Aaj Tak’s anchor Anjana Om Kashyap ignoring the violent incidents in East Delhi, focused on a love story — that between US President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Kashyap strived for eloquence: “On one side you have the symbol of love, on the other side you can see Trump and Melania strolling”. Somehow, she managed to extrapolate this romantic getaway into diplomacy — “How will this picture affect India-US ties”, she wondered aloud. So do we…
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