Saturday, November 20, 2010

In defence of Barkha Dutt

I have never admired Barkha dutt. I found no reason to do so. I always see her as someone who has gorged on the self manufactured hype that she has attracted towards her. She went to Kargil and made sure that she along with India emerged as the sole winner. The focus I still remember shifted from the Bofors to her as she reported the war with dramatic effects that were meant to portray a picture of a woman who is risking her life to cover the war.

She made sure that the right visualizations were carried out to the viewers just like the way she did years later when she was reporting the Mumbai attack. She would cover her ears in articulated gestures as to show how near she actually was to the real shooting that was taking place. The intensely scared look on her face made sure that the viewers had to forcibly digest the fact that she was actually doing a very good job.

She did everything good, no pun intended. But when she tried to cash on it and tried to turn into a larger than life situation, she flunked. Exaggeration fetches and catches the ‘ooos’ and the ‘aahhs’ but modesty and humility makes sure that the real admiration stays forever.

And in the case of Barkha Dutt she has never stopped from making sure that the headline shifts from the news to the anchor.

The above justifications were long overdue as my friends would repeatedly ask that why I dislike Barkha Dutt.

And now when I am about to jump in the cauldron of angry noise that are being made after the recent telephonic conversation expose between her and a PR lobbyist , noises that call for a introspection about the way media works, I thought that this was the right moment to speak my mind out that why I dislike her way of reporting.

But in the present situation though hard I try , I am not able to point a finger and say “ See I told you- this lady is everything but a sincere journalist”.

As I read the transcripts of her conversation with the PR lady I couldn’t stop from asking myself what wrong has she done now?

People who have even slightly been exposed to media and politics will laugh in disbelief if you say a media-wallah should not act as a bridge between the various political leaders.

That doesn’t happen. It’s like saying that when you are taking bath your head shouldn’t get wet. That is not impossible, you can cover your head and wet yourself. But then that woudn’t be a proper way of bathing.

By the nature of the job media has to interact with everyone. Be it a Policewallah, a Tadipari or a Lobbyist. And when you are on regular talking terms with someone the sphere of your subject increases. And as is human nature favours are sought and offered.

Let’s just try to forget the whole Dutt issue for a while and try to paint this while scenario in black and white.
Assume that I am a journalist who like every other species of my kind has close contacts with political entities surrounding my professional work-sphere.And I may be more familiar and close with some than with the others. Say that I am friendly with a leader “Mr.X” . Now a situation arises where “Mr.Y “, another leader wants to have some political arrangement with Mr.X and he knows that Mr. X doesn’t trust him. So what he will do is that he will come to me and tell me to act as a bridge between him and Mr.X. And I oblige both of them in a my capacity of someone who is a friend and an acquaintance.

What wrong will I commit if I rang up a particular CM with whom I share a friendly relation and ask him if he is willing to take a particular MLA into the cabinet? and what sin I will be accused of if I ask or 'lobby' with the CM for inducting that MLA?

Simple and period.

So where did I go wrong? And what did I do wrong?

Now put Ms.Dutt in my place and decide where did she made a mistake? What are we making so much noise about? That one journalist and a public relation lady were talking about two leaders and were working on a political arrangement?

Critics would say that media should mind its business and it has no right of working as a bridge between political leaders and parties. My response would be “ Son – the utopian world that you are talking about never existed, not even in a book of fiction”.

It was a normal conversation that took place between a journalist and a PR person but since it was secretly recorded and then revealed in the public arena it came out bigger and larger than what it really was. Sensationalism prevailed over the real content and the intent. The adrenaline rush made the readers and the viewers compare it with the previous such expose' that we have looked at with much awe.

Media and politics have been fraternal twins or more aptly offspring from a same surrogate mother. No one can separate them or join the two. They have always been a “identically separate” entity.

They work in their own different realm, one which is borderless.

Instead of picking out issues of media ethics we should be more concerned with the string of corruption that is mushrooming around. And those who find the current expose as their much awaited chance to take on media they need to get a life.

And Ms.Dutt please for once try to shift the focus from what you say , how you say and why you say to the news and the discussion that’s taking place. Maybe now you have realized that you are not immune to criticism, fictional or real. You are not the only pillar of Indian media but one of the many bricks that have gone into making of that pillar.

And you did nothing wrong this time. Thankfully.


lalala said...

stop being an idiot. make educated statements. your reasons for disliking barkha are frivolous and down right childish. then when a real issue comes along you chose to defend her? what a douche. i think the only thing you want to do is go against the trend to get noticed. read forget barkha. write about the real news.

lalala said...

you are blind if you see no wrong in your X and Y scenario! what a fool you are... i am sure if x wanted to kill y you would give x his whereabouts and say you did no wrong. i can understand why you are defending barkha dutt.. its because the whole concept of journalism is under attack and being a journalist you have to defend your kind. well do your job and talk about what really needs to be reported. dont waste space on this barkha story. she will be made the fall girl while the real story goes by. read

roverinhell said...

from when did yous started working for the media and the netas? learnt this trade where? school,college of the on the streets of patna?

Indian said...

I fully agree with you Abhinandan. There's no substance in those tapes. Those who have released it, chose the time so as ordered by higher ups so as to add more din to the ongoing controversy. This made some people to jump to conclusions regarding tapes as they were already in surcharged atmosphere. They'll realise later when they think about it with a calm mind.

And there is an online cadre which is used by some pol parties to spread rumor,tarnish people's image and even poll in some online polls to twist the results.Its like mob like behavior. I can't comment on them.

Those criticizing barkha , I think have never watched her channel. I think the channel hasn't taken sides with any political party. Has teared apart ShashiTharoor, kalmadi or be it Advani & his rathyatras.I dont think for that matter any national channel can afford to take sides as people will reject them.

And it's foolish to think any govt. will take decisions what journos say.

Anil said...

This is all fine buddy. Lets say there is not substance in the tape or maybe she was part of it. What surprises people, none of the TV channels have opened up!
Remember this is the same media which turned words like "cattle class" into breaking news!!
There is something to it that news channels don't want majority population to know.

Anonymous said...

if you wanna know the actual losses of her kargil broadcast ask the army men...
there will be many who would exclaim they want to kill her...
you never take cameras in a warzone and that too during night time!!!
cameras have indicators u know..lil lights that can be seen through night vision devices...

Niira Radia...she has to be commeded for the job shez done...
these media guys know shez rotten...and they still patronize her since they will get newsbites!!!
it's all about TRPs...fuck the nation...tht's what u meant to say ryt..

Srinivasan Narayan said...

Well your argument does not hold water....If you say that what she did was natural as this is NOT an utopian world then the same argument holds true for all the exaggerated media hype she created to garner attention during Kargil..If what she did now is part of her job then you should also approve of all the media hype she created for herself during Kargil ...Take a clear stand please...

Anonymous said...

The magazines have not claimed that there was quid pro quo.magazines just exposed what was in the tape.To the common man like me it exposed how the journos act as political pimps.And I think it does not fit into the high moral heights they assume themselves when they give lecture(news is turned into a lecture by the likes of barkha) on issues from a manishankar aiyar statement to Arundathi Roy statement.The sanctimonious likes of barkha and sardesai rajdeep cannot escape by babbling that there was no quid pro quo.lobbyists work for intangible benefits and it is a moral low.

Anonymous said...

The magazines have not claimed that there was quid pro quo.magazines just exposed what was in the tape.To the common man like me it exposed how the journos act as political pimps.And I think it does not fit into the high moral heights they assume themselves when they give lecture(news is turned into a lecture by the likes of barkha) on issues from a manishankar aiyar statement to Arundathi Roy statement.The sanctimonious likes of barkha and sardesai rajdeep cannot escape by babbling that there was no quid pro quo.lobbyists work for intangible benefits and it is a moral low.

Anamika, Delhi said...

The nonsense that you have written shows your moral character. You too must go into these business of lobbying or have you already started? By lobbying for this lady?

Dont try to fool people around here. She was acting like a pimp.

Dravidesque said... have a look at this

Vikas said...

Nice attempt, but you need to learn how to write a good blog post. Your arguments don't cut ice. You should read this awesome analysis of the whole issue - very rational and very balanced - neither gives clean chit to Barkha as you nor does it maligns her like others. Do read -

Anonymous said...

Hey man! Wake up! You seem like "a guy with a good heart" please don't defend the indefensible by philosophizing the issue. About what's wrong in "recommending a friend"?- everything! If you think you are a journalist, don't put power before principles, at least on paper.

Sudehshna Sharma. @ blogger said...

you are one of those highly educated intellectuals who have gone idiot as you have progressed. How can you justify what she did? What business she had to act as an interlocutor?

What she did can be rightly called as pimping. But like every thing this news too would become stale. Thanks to people like you who place yourself at a high pedestal and watch the country getting fucked.

Dravidesque said...

For all those who sees no wrong in the tapes"

Aruna said...

The insanity of sensationalism is sweeping everyone right now.

Later when things will be calm will we understand that it was not a grotesque crime that she committed.

I agree with you Abhinandan. Sanity prevails somewhere.

veeresh said...

Hi nice article. I do agree in part with it. The conversations are unethical. But they are not outright wrong. What is wrong/right depends a lot on individuals. BUT my anger is on the cover up made by these news channels (particularly the ones with which these journalists are connected to). They run LIVE & EXCLUSIVE on all unimportant and stupid matters. But why cant they honestly put out all the facts in public's face and let "THE PEOPLE" decide.

Broadway said...

The conversation is right there and it is very explicit. What is so arbitrary about at?

The conversations are sometime after the 2009 elections and before the formation of the UPA coalition. Radia has good contacts who update her about every little thing.

Tape 1: Radia and barkha are talking about a fresh rift between DMK and UPA. This rift was caused by DMK member baalu who revealed to the media that DMK has withdrawn support to the UPA. This has angered manmohan singh. Barka asks radia for some suggestions to proceed further wrt congress. Radia tells barkha to convince the congress to talk to karunanidhi directly but in private because she claims that k-nidhi is intimidated by his partymen like baalu and maran. She suggests expulsion of baalu. The two then talk about cabinet seats. In the side, congress has said something about maran which radia points out. Barkha tells radia that NDTV has stopped airing that particular footage.

Tape 2: Radia tells barkha that congress(particularly, the PM) doesn't plan to give infrastructure portfolio to maran or baalu and that those two have been informed about it. But the two have withheld that particular info from k-nidhi. Radia tells barkha to instruct the congress to convey this withheld info to k-nidhi through kanimozhi. Barkha assures radia that she will meet gulam nabi azad(congress leader) at the PM's residence and tell him about what needs to be done. Kanimozhi tells radia that DMK partymen are no longer updating k-nidhi on the day to day events.

Tape 3: Barka has had long chats with unknown congress leaders. She tells radia that the congress is now ready to take maran, raja or whoever. The congress has promised barkha that they will send ghulam nabi azad to talk to the DMK men. Meanwhile, the DMK men are undermining k-nidhi orders again. K-nidhi's daughter, kanimozhi is the only one that follow his orders. She has been isntructed to leave the city @ 5pm. In tape 2, ghulam nabi azad is supposed to meet kanimozhi. Barkha calls azad and informs kanimozhis plans to leave the city.

Tape 4: Navika kumar on timesnow thinks that congress will not give anything to maran, raja and baalu. Barkha asks radia whether navika's assertions are true. Radia tells barkha that navika is wrong. They then talk about maran, raja and baalu on which cabinets they demand.

Tape 5: K-nidhi previously instructed dayanidhi not to attend the swearing in ceremony. Dayanidhi claims that congress leader ahmed patel had specially requested him to attend. Barkha privately enquires with patel about it but patel says that he never forwarded such a request. K-nidhi tells dayanidhi in his face to join congress. Dayanidhi does not attend.

Anonymous said...

how much they are paying you? for this social service? Go for Congress cheque rather than ndtv...they are in a much better position to pay after gulping 1.76 crore.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you sir, to be able to complete a full circle of stupidity. You have reached greater heights than all of us put together. You have hated Barkha Dutt for being excited and shrill while reporting the biggest terrorist story and then you have been able to absolve her completely for being a political pimp and manipulate news to complete specific political objectives.

For Barkha Dutt to be putting your blog URL in her tweet must be a high for an obscure, irrelevant nobody like you.

sakshi said...

The high and the mighty will fall soon...for the meek shall inherit the earth. We both have read this some years back.

Expecting you to defend BDs action defies all my logic. After reading the comments I seriously think that you are acting as one of her manager.

Keep fooling around Abhinandan Mishra.

Anonymous said...

BURKHA BUTT is a PIMP of congress and ur PIMPING her cause so it makes u a PIMP too :D

Anonymous said...

Sakshi dont worry such idiotic blogs wont do anything to change the opinions of sane people who can see black from white. deception is the name of the game for these leftist retard bloggers. we know better than to be sucked into their vortex of lies lolz
the world had known burkha butt - the jamia educated jihadi was a pimp of congress aka sonia maino and outlook tapes have proven that!

Anonymous said...

WTF...... now who is barkha dutt, so many dutts comes and goes .... get a life guys... she made it wht she waned to ... either do something different or dont do anything .who gives a shit abt miss dutt save your own hole . badnami main bhi naam hai ...;)

I-Ore Trading said...

We Punjabis are known for our rustic sense of humor which often perceived as offensive to those unfamiliar with Punjabi way of life.

Let me narrate a case to you.

A man in his mid 40's was sat upstream and wailing that his wife had drowned & her body had not been found. A large crowd gathered around and started a lively discussion as what should be done to assist the man. I happened along and could not contain my curiosity,joined the crowd to know what was going on.

After hearing the people around for sometime, could not resist but employ logic so posed this Question "If the wife has drowned and body is to retrieved then why is the man sitting upstream?" Logic says he should down stream that is where the body would be. Promptly came the answer from the wailing man. You do not know my wife "she always does the opposite. So even now she will come upstream instead of down stream." In Punjabi we call this as "Kaabi Runh"

You being from the media, wading upstream will ensure more publicity.

I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

If everything is right, why this censoring of news by indian media?

Neha , Delhi said...

All those who have spoken against the blog and used filthy language have doen that by using anonymous ids. If they had guts they should have used a verifiable id.

I agree with what he has written simply for the reason that a journalist sometimes has to sit on a fence and a cursory look may give an impression that he is about to choose his side...where infact he is just toying here and there to look for answers. Three days after the tapes were revealed I only find this writeup which has not walked with the crowd and that doesn't necessarily makes him an offender.

Go on Abhinandan,ignore the rubbish,walk away with the wise words. Best of Luck.

lalala said...

You people keep adjusting your definitions of morality and ethics so that you can do no wrong. There is no point arguing about Barkha Dutt, the principle players in the scam are Ratan Tata, Ambani, Mittal and Radia who got the telecom ministry for Raja to get the spectrum cheap.

The media have blacked out the tapes to protect the corporates not Barkha Dutt.

You have a vested interest in protecting your profession but do so without degrading it with a frivolous defence of an offender. Report the 'Radia Tapes'. People need to know how their government is run.

And read . Should teach you how to report news.


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