So, now that Arnab Goswami has quit Times Now and his popular shoutiing programme ‘Newshour’ set to miss its controversy chasing anchor, what does his incomparable stint leave behind? Arnab has been a divisive figure in the media sector, taking up a stance that the best editors who ever rose up in India shunned and he took pleasure in bringing the old school down. He has also been hard-hitting on each story that he chooses to chase, belabouring his panelists into submission or forcing them into making statements and indulging in behaviour they would regret later. But considering the popularity of the show, all were drawn as if by magic to appear on it time after time – publicity, good or bad, on Arnab Goswami’s show, was invaluable for all concerned. Arnab has steadfastly maintained one line though and that is that he speaks for the ‘nation’ – he loosely translates that into an extremely nationalistic stance. However, he also espouses the aam aadmi’s cause and whenever he has done so, he has moved the public into spontaneous applause. Unfortunately, these have been few and far between.
Many have sought to take advantage of it, but Arnab got his pound of flesh every time. He is popular, and how! And he even jumped over the language barrier by increasingly using Hindi with his special mannerisms and turn of phrase. And this public reach got Arnab into corridors of power where very few, if any journalists have got access to. These have been triumphs that have burnished his star. Among them have been interviews with Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and PM nominee Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and other corporate czars who are otherwise extremely reticent about their public image, sporting icons and many, many others.
However, at the end of the day, when the Newshour concluded, the feeling that he left behind was one of total dissatisfaction, of there being no closure. The shouting matches deteriorated, no one won, but all were besmirched as the accusations flew fast and furious. Debates were for, till Arnab came along, bringing out the truth in any happening, in any political, sporting or other upheaval. It was meant to bring clarity of thought about various positions. Sadly, that is not what Arnab Goswami brought to the table. He had a much better opportunity than others to do so, but he snubbed it and chose to chase the TRPs and famously succeed like no one else ever had. Perhaps, in his new avatar, reportedly, he will be back at the head of his own venture, he may well change the script. WIll the real Arnab Goswami please stand up?