The Piyush Goyal Theory of Journalism: the farther a newspaper is from New Delhi, the greater its chance of taking the pants off politicians*


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Piyush Goyal‘s theory of Albert Einstein‘s theory of Isaac Newton‘s theory of gravity is a cute case study for headline management in Indian newspapers.

The loud railway and commerce minister—who is a chartered accountant and BJP treasurer in touch with corporates—is widely known for his “phone calls”.

The coverage in today’s papers of his faux pas reveals how (many) media owners rever him—and (some) editors live in dread.

Of course, it’s a slip of the tongue, and even motormouths are entitled to make errors—and to forgive is divine and all that—but where, say, a Rahul Gandhi would have been taken to the cleaners, the softball treatment Goyal gets is revealing.


The four English newspapers which feature the “Pappu“-level gaffe, which Goyal compounded with a convoluted explanation in which he put both his feet in his glib mouth, are all based away from the National Capital Region.

The Telegraph, Calcutta: lead story on page 1

Deccan Herald, Bangalore: single-column, below the fold, page 1

The New Indian Express, Chennai: second lead, page 1

Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad: 2-column, below the fold, page 1


Thankfully, in Piyush Goyal’s hometown, Bombay, the world’s most circulated English newspaper was closed for a festival holiday and did not have to make the difficult choice.

But The Times of India was open in Delhi, where, not surprisingly, the news doesn’t feature at all.

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The Times of India, Delhi: no mention

Hindustan Times, Delhi: 3-column story, page 23

The Hindu: 6-column, nation page, page 10

The Indian Express: single column, business page, page 19

The Tribune, Chandigarh: single column brief, page 16


*Conditions Apply



  1. Rina

    It was no ‘slip of the tongue’, but a classic display of his ignorance. His ‘clarification’ was even worse than the original gaffe! He has royally tied himself into knots that he can’t get out of. Apparently, he never heard of Newton. This is what happens when you try to be too smart.

  2. Rishi

    Mint, once a good business daily, put everyone to shame when it tried to defend the indefensible. In its edit yesterday, it questioned why people on social media trivialise arguments. The edit was apparently written by the paper’s managing editor.

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