Immediately after I came to know of the shocking remarks made by Shri Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, on Mrs.Sunanda Tharoor, wife of Shri Shashi Tharoor, the re-inducted member of the Council of Ministers of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, I had tweeted that I considered his remarks uncultured for any audience and were unworthy of someone who sees himself as a possible future Prime Minister. I stand by these views.
2.Both Shri Tharoor and his wife had every right to counter the unworthy remarks of Shri Modi in strong language. Shri Tharoor did so the same day and the TV channels rightly gave due prominence to what he said in their coverage.
3.At the same time, I would be failing in my sense of propriety and rectitude if I did not admit my disgust at the manner in which an unseen influence mobilised some TV anchors of our private channels on October 31 to interview Mrs.Tharoor and to give her an opportunity to project her views relating to the controversy in general and Shri Modi in particular.
4. There were five newsworthy items on October 31--- the brave manner in which the Tamil Nadu people and Administration were facing the Nilam cyclone, the allegations made by Shri Arvind Kejriwal of India Against Corruption (IAC) against Shri Mukesh Ambani and the Government, the aftermath of the Sandy hurricane in the US, the likely impact of Sandy on the US Presidential elections and the anniversary of the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The TV channels correctly gave prominence to their coverage some of these items.
5.The time and prominence that were given to the interview of Mrs.Tharoor were definitely uncalled for and uncouth. One had an impression that more time was devoted to her interview than to the sufferings and fortitude of the people of Tamil Nadu because of the cyclone. The TV channels seemed to consider interviewing Mrs. Tharoor and projecting her views more important than projecting the traumatic moments faced by the people of Tamil Nadu as they awaited the cyclone.
6. Every time you switched on the TV to get the latest on the cyclone, you had visuals of Mrs.Tharoor being interviewed by obliging and fawning anchors. Some of our TV anchors are known for their propensity to fawn, but I had an impression that I had rarely seen such fawning as I saw during the interview of Mrs.Tharoor on October 31.
7. Where was their professionalism? Where was their sense of dignity? Where was their news sense? Was the orchestrated projection of Mrs. Tharoor that we saw more important than recalling the painful moments after the assassination of Mrs.Indira Gandhi by two of her security guards?
8. It was a day of infamy for our TV channels. Whose is that unseen and unfelt influence that organised and orchestrated all this? ( 1-11-12)