How well is the PM’s media advisor advising him?

Of all the reasons being trotted out for prime minister Manmohan Singh‘s declining equity, his media management skills rank somewhere near the very top. Despite a full-fledged media advisor in his entourage, the bush telegraph is that Manmohan has been poorly served by Harish Khare, the former deputy editor of The Hindu.

Although Manmohan Singh has addressed the Indian media more often in the last nine months than he ever did under four years of his previous advisor Sanjaya Baru (currently editor of Business Standard), Khare is variously seen to be stern, selective, stentorian, staccato.

In other words, just too straight-forward when the job profile demands greater “adjustment” and malleability.

A one-on-one interview with the resident of 7, Race Course Road, is out of the pale of probability, of course. But even background briefings offering an inside view of what’s happening are rare and spinning a story to show the administration in good light is almost non-existent in the former opinion writer’s thesaurus.

In fact, the one story that probably prompted the scam-tarred PM to call the TV “editors” and anchors to come to his residence—the S-band scam which puts the prime minister’s office in the spotlight—was published in Khare’s previous place of work: The Hindu.

At yesterday’s pow-wow, when Arnab Goswami cleared his throat to ask a supplementary question, Khare admonished him on live TV. “Mr Goswami, this is not an interrogation of the prime minister,” Khare reminded the Times Now editor-in-chief.

Result: easy meat. First for reporters and then for cartoonists.

Cartoon: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

Also read: Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—I

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—II

Never believe anything until it’s officially denied


  1. The intervention by Harish Khare was really in bad taste. Arnab was only doing his job on behalf of TV audience, so Khare had no reason to inject himself.

    In any case, our PM is quite capable of answering all kinds of questions. After all, he has been a public figure for a long time, and he knows how to handle the media.

    By injecting himself, Mr. Harish Khare made the PM look weak. It seems that the PM needs an extra layer of security to protect him from questioning journalists. This is really unfortunate.

    The press meet could have been planned in a better way. The media wing of Congress party seems to be slipping big time. They need some fresh talent….

  2. Krishna Kumar

    Harish Khare has inherited the true style of The Hindu. Have you ever seen The Hindu giving space to a writer opposed to its Marxist-Islamist ideology? Even the Letters to Editors undergo censorship in The Hindu. I wonder why the so called independent blogs like Sans Serif drool over The Hindu.

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