The ‘Arnab Goswami bubble’ has burst. The WhatsApp chats that are in the public domain are a part of the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police in a case related to the alleged TRP scam being investigated by them.
What emerges from these chats has less to do with the man seemingly at the centre of the controversy; Arnab Goswami is only incidental to the story. But this is not about an individual; it’s about the levels to which some of our institutions have been corroded.
The story uncovers the levels of ‘match-fixing’ that have been indulged in, in order to immortalise certain ‘bubbles’.
What Arnab’s Chats ‘Reveal’: A Case Of ‘Quid Pro Quo’?
When you close your eyes and visualise Arnab Goswami, the image that comes to mind is that of a man going over the top to proclaim himself as the greatest living patriot on earth.
Arnab Goswami, through his brand of media (I am sorry, I cannot bring myself to calling it journalism) ‘became the ruling regime’s mouthpiece’ in a sense.
From the chats it seems apparent that Arnab ‘manipulated’ TRPs; if Noam Chomsky wants to see a textbook example of ‘manufacturing consent’ by a regime, he should consider looking at today’s India.
Peddling ‘alternative facts’ to secure and consolidate the support of the majority community by transmitting hateful half-truths is what the TV news anchor used to do.
Arnab’s now-revealed WhatsApp conversations were with Partho Dasgupta, the then head of BARC. The fact that a particular minister was instrumental in pushing a complaint against Republic under the carpet, shows how deep Goswami’s influence was.
‘Quid pro quo’ is writ large over all the conversations that are in the public domain. That Arnab Goswami was being ‘used’ to shape public opinion, to peddle polarising narratives and ultimately to subvert democracy, can be seen clearly even through the January fog of Delhi.
Arnab’s ‘Access’ To Sensitive Information
Arnab got exposed by Arnab. On boringly predictable lines he seeks to hide behind the fig leaf of Pakistan. But it seems that Pakistan now seeks to ‘hide behind Arnab Goswami’. Did he perhaps give Pakistan an escape route?
There will be entertainment for those seeking salacious gossip through these chats. There will be some red faces in the government.
There will be theories galore. But the larger and more serious questions remain unanswered.
All that we know are the chats that Arnab Goswami had with Partho Dasgupta, because the Mumbai Police is investigating the latter’s involvement in an alleged scam.
We also know that Arnab had prior access to certain sensitive information, but we do not from where he got this and other sensitive information, and more importantly, who all he perhaps shared the information with. And we owe it to the nation, in whose name Arnab peddled his ‘anti-national’ agenda.
(The writer is former political secretary to Sheila Dikshit, and is with the Congress party. He tweets @Pawankhera .This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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