Turn on TimesNow at almost any time of the day and you're likely to be seeing a promo from the channel about how it is the most-watched English channel in India by a mile. It destroys the competition, the promos will insist, at tough journalism but also, more importantly, when it comes to ratings. Of late, TimesNow has gone so far in discussing its own successes that its tickers now announce its ability to get hashtags trending on twitter. It's impossible to switch to TimesNow without being told how TimesNow is simply better than everyone else in the history of television news.

This week, when Outlook magazine called TimesNow editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for his comments on a piece about the channel and his show, the Newshour, in particular, the anchor simply said: "Journalists are not the story."

That is simply not true this month, and not just because TimesNow spent the last evening touting its "unbroken Twitter run or because yet another of Arnab's debates had been given a dubstep remix." No, Goswami has turned up in all sorts of other news outlets over the last few days (including this one), following a particularly controversial run of topics and editorial positions that to many have made it seem like Newshour has jumped the nationalist shark.

Sharp polemic

Earlier in the week for example, just as an amended Land Acquisition Bill was being voted on in the Lok Sabha, Goswami's channel devoted much of an hour-long program to outraging about the Karnataka governor walking off a stage while the national anthem was playing. In the video, the governor appeared to have realised his mistake and returned to the stage but TimesNow had already made a decision. Its ticker insisted: "This Governor must resign now!"

And that's peanuts compare to the stand Goswami took on India's Daughter, a BBC documentary that he felt was illegal and would dent India's image (a cardinal sin in Goswami's book), which, incidentally, was set to play on a rival news channel.

The Newshour anchor has also spent the month fulminating about the legal release of a separatist leader who had been kept in jail for too long – Goswami decided this Indian citizen's liberties should be curtailed pronto – and just before that, he insisted that Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai would be betraying the country by speaking the truth while abroad.

TimesNow's approach to India's Daughter got a fair bit of flak after DNA reported that, despite carrying out an entire campaign against the documentary, the channel only attempted to contact the director much later. These positions and Goswami's conduct has inspired a fair amount of commentary and reportage over the past week, some of which is collected below.

Shahjahan Madampat in Gulf News, describes the nightly tyranny on Indian screens:
"the most hilarious and profound moments on the News Hour are those when the cacophony of the panellists and the caterwauling of the anchor continue at their crescendo for minutes on end, relieving the viewer from the unbearable burden of comprehension; it is visual democracy at its best."

Newslaundry's Abhinandan Sekhri lauds Goswami for having kicked Lutyens' Delhi journalists out of their slumber, but says Arnab has almost wiped out a career of credible work by demanding the ban of a documentary on a rival channel.
"So Arnab bro, you do what you do night after night, and often I love your circus, but you just shot yourself in the foot big time. Just so you remember, if and when the authorities come after you and some show on your channel (which is inevitable) no matter how stupid your rants, I will stand up for you. And I hope others do too, not because you’re worth it, but because the cause of free speech is."

Anuradha Raman in Outlook reports on the impact Newshour has on journalism and how the rest of the industry sees Goswami.
"Clearly, the numbers for Newshour suggest that in a market saturated with information, there is an impatient audience out there, which doesn’t quite believe in layers and nuance; which wants someone to distil the key news of the day and spin it into sharp polemic in clear simple terms, just black or white, with no shades of grey."

Kavita Krishnan writes in Scroll.in about Goswami's irresponsible approach to sensitive topics.
"When channels and newspapers brand terror accused as "terrorists", or rape-accused as "rapists" and orchestrate the chant for the death penalty for them; when they act as stenos or loudspeakers for the police or investigative agencies in terror cases; are they not doing grievous harm and endangering people’s lives and safety? Are they not conveying allegations as guilt?"

Hartosh Singh Bal, also in Outlook, says all of it is scripted drama and he's often happy to a play a role.
"In this theatre, journalists like me have a prescribed role: to endorse Arnab’s opinion. Journalists perceived to be affiliated with a political party can’t carry this off with any conviction. Those who remain are likely to endorse Arnab only when they genuin­ely agree with him, forcing the channel to cherry pick. "

And finally, Sandip Roy in FirstPost says that Arnab has lost the plot while pointing out that the anchor – who wrote a heartfelt piece earlier in the week about idolising Vinod Mehta, whose magazine put him on the over this week – has another side to him.
"But a caricature is self-parody, which bares the emptiness behind the larger than life bluster. It takes itself, as opposed to the issues, way too seriously. It becomes not just judge but also a tone-deaf executioner demanding that a government crack down on another television station."

Also, for anyone who isn't well acquainted with Goswami, there's always Rahul Bhatia's profile of the anchor and editor in the Caravan.