Be afraid. Be very very afraid! For Republic is coming, and along with it is coming Arnab Goswami with his vocal chords even louder and news coverage even shriller than when he was anchoring Newshour on Times Now. The indications are already out, but see them first before you believe me.
Goswami has already pushed for the social media presence of Republic, with the channel already putting out content that may look tantalising to the common man or the idealistic journalist who just wants his or her freedom to do what he or she wants with a story. Republic may just let these people do that, but will it?
Here is a quick analysis of where Republic is headed, and I would be more than happy to eat crow — even celebrate it — if Republic manages to give the news behemoths a run for their money after it has sorted out its teething problems.
Raised voices doth not raise points
"We are on the brink of shaking up the system all over again," promises Goswami in a tweet. There is no denying that he did raise a number of issues, backed by credible research from his team, when he was with Times Now.
However, not for nothing do they say "absolute power corrupts," and that is the kind of power Goswami will be wielding with Republic. And that is never a good sign for organisations. Personal checks and balances can only work so much. Once hagiography sets in, the rot is not far.
Thus, if and when Goswami continues to raise his voice — both literally and figuratively — there may be a good chance that he is raising an issue that affects his ratings more than it affects the common man.
Young, hot blood, but whither cool head?
The demographic Goswami is targeting as his viewership — and also possibly as employees in his firm — is from a much younger age group. One generally associates that age group with hot blood, which generally gets things done. But with hot blood comes a hot head — one that can be easily swayed with idealistic rhetoric.
I shudder to think what will happen when the next Jasleen Kaur — the young woman who falsely accused a random biker of sexual harassment — comes along. The pitchforks were already out against the accused when Goswami covered the event on Newshour. The next time such a case surfaces, the accused should be very afraid.
Guilty until proven innocent?
So, corporate media houses have "dirty tricks departments?" And young journalists' independence is being impeached upon? Some might argue that Goswami is talking about his former employer, where he himself was accused of some of the things he is attributing to others.
But what is more important here is the manner in which these students are supporting Goswami, as seen in the video. Clearly, they are enamoured by the ideas — and cleverly-hidden stereotypes — being presented to them. Objectivity does not seem to have any place here. If that is how Republic will run, instead of the independent unafraid voice that many expect it to be, I repeat the warning I had started with: Be afraid. Be very afraid!