13 May, 2021

Prime Time Chatgate

Arnab Goswami, the voluble field marshal of TV news who’d say ‘We have you surrounded’, finds himself ringed by controversy. For starters, did he know in advance about the Balakot airstrike?

TRP Trap
Arnab Goswami
Prime Time Chatgate

He painted a fantasy world in office, starring himself. In this world, he did things bigger, louder, more boldly than all who came before him—gaslighting people to question their own perceptions, memories or even sanity. It worked for him, but not at the moment. For all his hounding, Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami is now the hunted. A purported exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between him and the former head of a TV rating company has triggered accusations that Goswami had prior knowledge of the 2019 Indian airstrike on Balakot inside Pakistan three days before it happened, that the attack was designed to drum up support for the BJP’s re-election in parliamentary elections, and he allegedly used the information to crank up his TV ratings.

Transcripts of the text exchange between Goswami and Partha Dasgupta, the former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) head, were filed by Mumbai police as part of a supplementary charge sheet in a different case relating to manipulation of TV ratings. The Chatgate—as hyperbolic as his prime...

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