Barkha Dutt, the “massively influential but ethically embattled” NDTV anchor subjected herself to an inquisition last night in a bid to extricate her credibility after the Niira Radia tapes were outed by Outlook* and Open magazines.
Unlike her well-lit Buck Stops Here set, NDTV situated the interrogation in a dark and spooky set, and the usually boisterous Dutt (“pretty” in the words of one editor) appeared sans her usual makeup, lending a mournful air to a rather morose affair.
In the words of the Wall Street Journal, she squandered her chance by being “too-argumentative”:
“Barkha Dutt sometimes gets flak for her interviewing style, with people saying she interrupts her interlocutors and doesn’t give them enough of a chance to speak.
“And unfortunately—especially for her, given this was a chance for her to win back alienated viewers—she was no different last night.”
BBC online correspondent Soutik Biswas writes:
“Indian journalists are fixers!” shouted a young lady in the audience during a play I attended in Mumbai last week. She even took the name of one of the country’s leading news presenters to demonstrate her point. The play was about to begin, and one of the actors was engaging in casual banter with the audience. “Do you think news is unbiased in our country?” he asked.
“Many in the audience guffawed, and the lady spoke up in outrage. At that moment it struck me how much the controversy over leaked phone conversations between some senior Indian journalists and a prominent lobbyist had enraged people. It is, clearly, the Indian media’s biggest crisis of credibility.”
* Disclosures apply
Scrrenshots: courtesy NDTV
Read the full story: A too-argumentative Barkha squanders chance
Also read: Indian media’s credibility crisis