Arnab Goswami’s departure from Times Now has brought a smile to the faces of sports lovers
The sports community in India won't miss Arnab's presence on the screen.
Like Arnab Goswami or not, he was that argumentative and opinionated journo who was the daily fix of post-office refreshment over dinner and drinks. He redefined the talk show, transitioning it from the well-bred to the noisy and ill-mannered. But you still thought he was worth getting into a give-me-the-remote fight with your wife, didn’t you?
Arnab’s debates were preferred over the saas-bahu sagas. On most occasions, it was a one-man show, but News Hour was one hour of pure enjoyment nevertheless. Even if its host’s decibels outdid those of the wailing babies’ in your neighborhood. The show was Indian, full of colorful characters and noise.
Every time atrocities on women took place, or a leading comedian made fun of another leading sportsperson/singer, or a group of Muslim women expressed their wish to end the Triple Talaq custom, thousands of Indians enjoyed a thrill out of the thought that that night, Mr. Goswami’s mic would scream bloody murder. And even though the show would not conclude with a definite conclusion on most occasions, it was the “ek-ghanta-vasool” kind.
Arnab belittled Team India’s World Cup 2015 efforts
Not many people in India take interest in politics, current affairs, or corporate intelligence. But cricket binds this 1.3 billion strong nation.
After a brilliant World Cup performance, where they won seven games on a trot and got the better of arch rivals Pakistan and the mighty South Africans, India lost to Australia in the semi-finals of World Cup 2015, returning the cup from 2011 back. One bad match was always around the corner; it came on a wrong day, unfortunately. But this was not the last World Cup in cricket, and Arnab was in no position to belittle their effors considering he had never played professional cricket.
This time though, News Hour called for its own death when its editor-in-chief questioned the commitment level and integrity of the Indian Cricket Team, and also Dhoni’s leadership. He was literally seen laughing on his show while explaining how the men who promised to bleed blue deteriorated like a house of cards when it mattered the most. He spoke with utter malice, and to many discerning viewers that was an unseemly and bruising sight.
It may be a pill hard to swallow, but every loss on the cricket pitch is accompanied by despicable comments from fans who always have high expectations from their team. Dhoni’s, Kohli’s and even Anushka Sharma’s effigies were burnt, stones were pelted and post-match post-mortems were done by those who watched the game, because it was a semi-final. But then these are common people, who love to indulge in the mindless blame-game. An educated man like Arnab is expected to be less ugly in his conduct.
Arnab was questioning the commitment of the same man who went more than a month without visiting his newborn baby girl back home, because that was apparently less significant an event than playing for his country. This was the man who won us the 2011 World Cup, the 2007 World Cup and the Champions Trophy.
Arnab was questioning the commitment of the same team whose bowlers got the opposition all out in all seven matches they played. Maybe he could have brushed up on his observation skills before using words like ‘humiliation’ and ‘disgrace’ to describe India’s hurtful exit. And all this coming from a man who has no farting idea about the sport, comfortably snug in his chair in his air-conditioned studio, suddenly trying to do a Ravi Shastri.
His ‘#ShameInSydney’ campaign turned into a ‘ShameOnTimesNow’ campaign on Twitter. Arnab received a dose of his own medicine on the social media platform from the sane fans who knew he was out of line. Driven by guilt, he had to take down all his blithering tweets.
It was thus no surprise when Virender Sehwag flatly refused to appear on Arnab’s show when the latter invited him. Observing the Sehwag-Morgan words of war on Twitter, Arnab wanted to summon the former Indian opener on his show to talk it out loud and live. But the Nawab of Safdarjung tweeted saying, “Arnab Goswami wants me to speak on that British guys views on India on NewsHour, but that man doesn't deserve any airtime, hence I have denied.”
Seems like the witty man was trying to pull off two shots off the same delivery, this time with his words. Clearly, Arnab’s image among the cricket fraternity was strained.
Biased coverage of the OP Jaisha case
This time around, the bad boy of Indian journalism was seen drag kicking and screaming on the OP Jaisha case. For starters, here is a brief summary of what happened as per the athlete and Arnab –
OP Jaisha, the Indian runner who participated in the Rio Olympics, fainted during her run. This was because she ran in scorching heat (42 degrees), and there was no water or recovery drinks for her due to the absence of India’s liquid providing stalls at every 2 km. The Athletics Federation of India was blamed for Jaisha’s collapse.
But the indisputable facts of the story were this – OP Jaisha finished 89th at the women’s marathon event at the Rio Olympics. She fainted on crossing the finish line and was taken to the hospital for dehydration. Jaisha finished with a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes and 19 seconds, 13 minutes below her personal best.
But she did not collapse because of lack of refreshment facilities. The organizers provided her with the liquids, which, according to the AFI, were refused by Jaisha and her coach. Kavita Tungar, who also participated in the same race, was a witness to this and concurred with AFI’s statement.
But for Arnab and his show, all those facts were disregarded. The lead visual on Times Now was an image of the runner lying on the ground, with nobody coming forward to help. The picture was not from the Rio Olympics but from the Asian Games that were held two years ago.
Arnab kept emphasizing on the 'fact’ that Jaisha ran in 43 degrees heat, whereas the temperature in Rio fluctuated between 20 to 26 degrees. The lack of substantial evidence was a glaring blot on Arnab’s TRP-driven sensationalism.
Whether the athlete signed a deal with Arnab before making fabricated claims is best known to the two alone. But the facts spoke for themselves.
Arnab was and is a master at dealing with cunning diplomats. It is difficult to imagine someone else screaming on the mic loud, ‘The Nation Wants to Know!’ But to say the least, he was a disgrace to sports journalism.
In an industry which lacks knowledge outside cricket, Arnab Goswami added to the confusion by sensationalizing issues which didn't require as much attention. The topics he brought up deviated from the actual point: the growth of sports in India.
His shows on sports till date have been an insult to the fans’ intelligence, and the nation that always needs to know can do without him.
Arnab Goswami was an Indian Piers Morgan, as Sehwag would have said.