Pliable Isn’t Offensive, it’s State of Indian Journalism Today: Congress Tweets Hilarious Compilation of Modi’s Interviews
In all examples, one can easily observe the fanboyism of interviewers, both in mannerisms and in the questions asked.
Journalists and members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for commenting upon a recent interview given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi termed the television interview as “staged” and alleged that a “pliable journalist” conducted it.
Rahul Gandhi’s comment earned the wrath of the Editors Guild of India; the usually leaden guild was quick to condemn it. While “pliable” isn’t a compliment, it cannot be put in the same category as abuses such as “presstitute”. The difference between criticism and censorship was also lost in the outrage — members of the BJP conflated Gandhi’s remark with the Emergency.
But the Opposition party seems to be in no mood to back down.
On December 3, the official twitter handle of the Indian National Congress released a video collage of the handful of interviews Modi has granted during his tenure as prime minister. It has been widely noted and accepted that in all of these previous interviews, not a single hardball was lobbed at Modi. Not just that, in all of them, one can easily observe the fanboyism of interviewers, both in mannerisms and in the kind of questions asked.
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 3, 2019
The video begins with lyricist, screenwriter, poet, marketing professional, and chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Prasoon Joshi interviewing the prime minister in April. From soft, leading questions such as, “Modi ji, everyone accepts you’re doing the best you can, but can you change the nation alone?” to sycophantic comments like, “It is quite visible that you don’t want anything for yourself, you possess qualities of an ascetic (fakir),” Joshi’s conversation with the PM was less an interview and more an exercise in praising the him.
And while one can argue that Joshi is not a journalist, the rest of the video montage contains excerpts of interviews conducted by prime-time news anchors such as Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar of Times Now and Sudhir Choudhary of Zee News. While Goswami made multiple attempts to flatter the PM by complimenting his “humour”, Choudhary made a meal of describing the seemingly close friendship of Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The video ends with the iconic footage of journalist Karan Thapar interviewing then-Gujarat CM Narendra Modi — the famous interview in which Narendra Modi did not answer questions, lost his cool, and walked out of, saying, “Dosti bani rahey“.
The Congress party’s claim, “Pliable isn’t offensive, it’s the state of Indian journalism today,” one has to admit in light of all of these interviews, has some truth to it.