It is extremely disturbing when television comperes become the center of the action in the programs they preside over. The job of a compere or presenter is to ask questions and leave his guests to answer those questions. He can interrupt his guests for clarifications.
He can step in when guests lose themselves in slanging matches with one another. But a presenter will never, as part of etiquette or professionalism, keep on listening to himself even as he berates or intimidates his guests on some issue or the other.
But that is a rule which has never been followed by India's Arnab Goswami. His loud denunciations of his guests, whether they are politicians or people from other walks of life, have certainly given his television shows high ratings. But at what cost?
There are other presenters in India --- Karan Thapar, Rajdeep Sardesai, Nidhi Razdan, Barkha Dutt, Ravish Kumar and so many others --- whose professionalism in the talk shows they have organized have been a positive lesson for people to emulate. Goswami, however, has been notoriously different.
The other day, Goswami's language was not only offensive but also dangerous. His subject was the recent NRC list in India's Assam state. With surveys being carried out to identify illegal immigrants in the state --- and the surveys have clearly been faulty, seeing that they have not included the names of a former chief minister of the state as well as a high court judge --- Goswami felt it was his hour.
He fulminated against 'Bangladeshi illegal immigrants' and on more than one occasion during his show, used the uncivilized term, 'Kick out the Bangladeshis'. His rage and hate became clearly blurred as he went on haranguing his guests, who could not put in a word, on the issue.
Should one dignify such television programs by calling them discussions or talk shows? They are a shame.
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