Tag Archives: Howard Beale

It happened one night on the day of the eclipse

250px-Arnab-new roy

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: Chalk and cheese can never taste the same. Bill O’Reilly can never be confused for Walter Cronkite. But, on the night of the longest solar eclipse in the 21st century, probably because of it, something close happened on Indian TV.

Prannoy Roy (right), the calm and cultivated voice of assurance of India’s original private broadcaster New Delhi Television (NDTV), was confused by a talking head for Arnab Goswami, the shrieking, shouting, hectoring, haranguing face of its competitor, Times Now.

Not on a rival channel but on Roy’s own NDTV, the channel where Goswami cut his television teeth before jumping ship to launch the news channel for The Times of India group as its “Howard Beale“.

On “India Decides @ 9”, NDTV’s primetime show which now sees Roy making an increasing number of appearances, possibly to counter Goswami’s 9 pm appearance on the Newshour, the BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad was asked a question on the topic of the day: the government’s alleged capitulation to the United States on the nuclear deal.

Little realising which channel he was on, Prasad proceeded to deliver his setpiece answer:

“Let me tell you, Arnab Goswami….”

“Arnab Goswami?” Roy tried to intervene.

But Prasad went on merrily as Roy, 60, buried his face on screen. After Prasad finished, Roy said it was in the fitness of things that he read out his bio-data—that he was Prannoy Roy, not Arnab Goswami.

When Prasad tried to apologise for the goof-up, Roy was graciousness personified.

“It’s OK if you call me Arnab Goswami. He’s part of the NDTV family. He’s one of us. He was born and brought up here.”

The confusion was probably caused because the Outdoor Broadcasting (OB) vans of different channels line up before the offices and residences of the spokesmen of the various political parties, who appear on different stations one after the other, with barely enough time to catch their breath.

Doubtless, Ravi Shankar Prasad was on Times Now immediately after his NDTV appearance, where, mercifully, he did not confuse Arnab Goswami for his bete noire Rajdeep Sardesai, who co-hosts “India at Nine”. Sardesai, like Goswami, left Roy’s NDTV to launch CNN-IBN.

Roy can only hope that, like the solar eclipse, this eclipse will only last a short while, and that not many may have seen it due to the inclement weather.


MUST WATCH: Business interview of the year

Question: How did the mighty American media miss the financial meltdown?

Answer: The same way the mighty American media missed George W. Bush‘s lies on Saddam Hussein‘s weapons of mass destruction.

That’s not a Q&A from Jon Stewart‘s grilling of Jim Cramer, host of CNBC ‘s revealingly titled show, Mad Money, but it could well have been.

Cramer, “the Howard Beale of business journalism”, popped up on The Daily Show on Thursday night, obviously to defend the business channel which had been roasted by America’s #1 comedian for not  being alert, for not doing its job, for being reckless in its advice and analysis.

What Cramer got was not the chance to clear the channel’s name but the kind of lashing that should remind journalists in general and business journalists in particular that, in the end, our profession is really about the people, the man on the street, the aam admi, the average Joe.

# “I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it’s not a fucking game.”

# “Instead of being a very powerful tool of illumination, it feels like we [the people] are capitalizing your [CNBC’s] adventure by our pensions.”

# “It is a game that you know is going on, but you go on television as a financial network and pretend it isn’t happening.”

# “Isn’t there a problem selling snake oil as vitamin tonic? What is the responsibility of the people who cover Wall Street? Who are you responsible to?”

Watch the full episode: The Daily Show

Also read: How come the media didn’t spot Satyam fraud

Biggest corporate fraud is now biggest coverup

Romenesko: ‘An entertainment show on business’

Businessweek: Stewart thrashes Cramer

Associated Press: Stewart hammers Cramer