The ex-banker who gave a middle-finger salute to Arnab Goswami, tells NDTV’s Vikram Chandra to stop inviting jingoistic demagogues from the ghats of Varanasi

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The role of India’s TV news channels in providing a platform to the lunatic fringe to spout their unhinged bilge, post-2014, is worthy of a serious academic study. Then again, media and studies can’t be uttered in the same sentence since 2014 either.

Night after night, and sometimes during the day too, on panel discussion after panel discussion, a puffed-up face that has consumed more kachoris, pakodas, samosas and jalebis than medically allowed, lurks suspiciously from a corner window.

And, regardless of the topic under “debate”, downloads the most insane, illogical, incendiary nonsense uplinked from Nagpur—mostly in Hindi, or in Hindi the loony thinks is English—and gets away uninterrupted, with that stellar cop-out transition line from the anchor: “Fair enough”.

All this passes in the name of “balance” when it is anything but.

The result of such un-journalism is the unhindered mainstreaming of communal messages, the stereotyping of minorities, the polarising of the masses, the normalisation of the abnormal.

While this is now par for the course for most “approved channels”, even a somewhat slightly journalistically driven enterprise like NDTV has fallen prey to forces from beyond the boundary.

Last night, on the NDTV show ‘The Big Fight’, after one such gent had unloaded his ideological bile on primetime, the anchor played postman.

Vikram Chandra: I am going to throw that to Mahua Moitra.

Mohua Moitra: Even responding is kind of below our dignity. I am very surprised. I know NDTV has to deal with the fact that a lot of official BJP spokespersons don’t come on the show, which is why you have to fall back on sort-of jingoistic demagogues from literally the Ghats of Varanasi, who come here and find they have the national stage.

Obviously, some of the comments he made were so offensive I am not even going to bother to reply to them…. What can one reply to this? This is the worst kind of Hindu preacher possible. I am not even going to reply to this.

I think the next time you should some filtration process. I am surprised you didn’t say anything to the gentleman concerned. I think his kind of communalism is so open and flagrant that it is unacceptable in any kind of civilised debate.

Mahua Moitra, a former J.P. Morgan investment banker, was of course the Congress-turned-Trinamool Congress member who famously showed the middle-finger to Arnab Goswami at Times Now.

Screenshot: courtesy NDTV

Watch the full video: The Big Fight: Road to 2019

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