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Elections on TV: Thumbs up or down?

On the field and not in the studios is how Barkha Dutt described her campaign trail aired at primetime on NDTV 24x7.

I am not very sure if it’s a jibe at Arnab Goswami who you seldom see on the roads doing an on-the-spot report.

Rajdeep Sardesai does step out, but not as often as some of the top brass of NDTV.

Being in the studio helped Arnab majorly when he led the coverage of the 2008 terror siege coverage in Mumbai, but for an election there’s nothing like being there on the road.

So I did exactly that yesterday when I tried to find out what people think of the election coverage on television. I know speaking to people, which wasn’t a scientifically selected sample wasn’t the best way to do it, but, heck, isn’t this what the TVwallahs subject to us every election?

The views I got bordered from the angry to the inane, pertinent to the pontificating. The women and kids I spoke with said they weren’t interested in the news, and one of them even remarked that the noise was off-putting.

A B-school graduate who was interning with an IT firm said he was dismayed by people who represent political parties.

He pointed out — and I noticed this in a debate last night, that the Congress and BJP seem to be revelling in the discomfiture of the other. “Look at Sanjay Jha and Nirmala Sitaraman, they just stopped short at doing a jig.”

Indeed that’s how it was last night when an agitated Arnab put Jha in the dock for his party’s decision to grant a Lok Sabha ticket to tainted former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan. There’s already a fair deal of outrage, but I don’t think there’s going to be a reversal of the decision a la Pramod Muthalik on Sunday.

If the Congress deserved bouquets for not fielding Suresh Kalmadi from Pune, it’s done the impossible by giving a ticket to Chavan.

Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it. Twitter: @pmahesh E: noose@pman.in

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