The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Arnab Goswami must realise that journalism is about questioning, not blind acceptance

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: Democracy and dissent

The rabble-rousing tendencies of Times Now anchor Arnab Goswami have been written about copiously. As is obvious to even casual viewers, Goswami's prime time show often descends to the level of a kangaroo court, as the anchor condemns and harangues his targets in a tone that betrays near-hysteria.

Examples of this include the instance in May when Goswami went so far as to accuse a Muslim participant on his show of being a cover for the Indian Mujahideen terror group after the man disagreed with the anchor. On Tuesday, Goswami crossed the line again by calling for the arrest of journalists who do not toe the official line on the Kashmir conflict. The anchor labelled these journalists the “pro-Pak lobby”.

For someone who is among the most visible journalists in the country, it is baffling that Goswami has failed to understand one of the primary roles of journalism: to question power and hold the powerful to account. All liberal democracies acknowledge that the state poses a potential threat to freedom, and attempt to counter this danger by encouraging an independent media and strong civil society voices.

But the Times Now anchor on Tuesday seemed to have forgotten that, as he nodded in agreement with every word of the ruling party’s spokesperson, Sambit Patra, about gagging voices that challenged the Union government’s position on Kashmir. As if to reiterate the official line, a Union government-controlled Twitter handle on Tuesday went so far as to retweet a message that asked the Indian Army to “take care of these pro Pak presstitutes”.

This is a sad illustration of the state of the India media. Goswami and other sections of the media are giving currency to the notion that opposing the Indian government is immoral. By doing so, they are actually undermining Indian democracy. As the scientist Albert Einstein once noted, “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

The Big Scroll

If you care about press freedom, perhaps it’s time to boycott Arnab Goswami?

Make sure to check out Scroll.in’s new sports section, The Field.

Political Picks
1. Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila will end her 16-year old fast to repel the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – which gives security forces immunity from the judiciary – and will contest elections.
2. The Delhi Police has filed a first information report against Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal for allegedly mentioning the name of the victim in a notice to the police. This comes as the Aam Aadmi Party alleges political vendetta on the part of the Modi government, with the as many as 11 of its MLAs now arrested in various cases.
3. Like with the Aadhar bill, it seems the Union government will also declare the bill seeking special category status for Andhra Pradesh a money bill in order for it to not be voted on in the Rajya Sabha.
4. Mohammad Akhlaq’s son, murdered for by a gau rakshak mob in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, alleged that the meat sample had been tampered with in order for it to be categorised as beef.

Giggle

Punditry

1. There are signs that Trump is bereft of any new ideas on India, says KP Nayar in the Telegraph.
2. Qandeel Baloch’s murder is yet another reminder that men craft, interpret and adjudicate over family laws in the subcontinent, writes Mrinal Pande.
3. Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative, asks George Monbiot in the Guardian.
4. Ambedkar-inspired Kabali is a film for our times, says Dhrubo Jyoti in the Hindustan Times.

Don’t Miss

Ajaz Ashraf explains how vote bank politics is keeping Prime Minister Modi silent on the attacks on Dalits in Gujarat:

For Modi, to condemn Una unequivocally, on the day it began to grab media headlines, would have also meant severely reprimanding cow-protectionists. They – and people like them – are both Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s core supporters. He cannot alienate them to mollify the angry but floating Dalit voters, whose allegiance to him might not even be durable. “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” is a profound adage.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.