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In the line of fire

On February 28, the Election Commission (EC) issued a media advisory regarding the coverage of an ‘important press conference’ that it plans to hold. No dates were given, but one expects the EC to announce the schedule of the general elections this week.

While there’s frenzy in political circles, the temperature appears to be hotting up in newsrooms too. Efforts are being made by channels to do what they are best at.

So, an NDTV has Barkha Dutt interviewing Mani Shankar Aiyar and Swapan Dasgupta. The two are now regular fixtures on the channel, though it’s not that you don’t see them elsewhere.

Headlines Today has Rahul Kanwal, and in him lies the story of that channel. Rahul has improved much over the last few years, but can he match the biggies on other networks? That’s an answer Aroon Purie and other India Today group captains know best.

What does one say about NewsX? From getting D-level spokespersons of parties, it’s now getting the B or C+ brigade. Rahul Shivshankar’s Times Now training has paid off.

The Big Two from amongst the English news channels are undoubtedly CNN-IBN and Arnab Goswami. I key in Arnab’s name by mistake, it ought to have been Times Now, but I think I wouldn't backspace that. He’s the channel. Sadly, in all these years, of Times Now’s existence, there’s no good second-in-command.

We’ll continue with our discussion on channels another day, but I have the honour of presenting an excellent (relatively) new spokesperson of the Congress: Abid Rasool Khan. Last evening, he was being mauled by Arnab and his guests on what was billed as the ‘biggest scam of UPA2’.

There were various political leaders and journalists — including Subramanian Swamy, Smriti Irani and Vinod Mehta.
Abid Rasool Khan was amazing. His party was being damned by all but he countered each of them very, very calmly.

Not so with Smriti Irani who later went after Vinod Mehta for having castigated her for bringing in Robert Vadra in the discussion.

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