Arnab Goswami’s interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has caused a war of sorts on social media with many slamming the Times Now’s editor-in-chief of doing away with the basic editorial standards in journalism in his alleged desperation to appease the BJP.
There were also silent conversations in the newsrooms of rival channels, where editors and owners reportedly appeared extremely angry with Modi for giving them a miss for his first TV interview since becoming the prime minister.
But the criticism for Arnab took an incredibly ugly turn on Tuesday when the Hindi news channel Aaj Tak’s Twitter handle accidentally posted a personal tweet of a staff calling Arnab a chamcha of Modi through their official Twitter handle.
Aaj Tak’s tweet sought to draw a parallel with the interview Karan Thapar (now with India Today, Aaj Tak’s parent group) had done with Modi during his stint with CNN-IBN. It sought to establish that his hard-hitting questions had left Modi nervous prompting him to drink plenty of water on several occasions. In that famous interview, Modi had walked away midway through the conversation because of Thapar’s insistence on eliciting a firm response from his guest on Gujarat riots.
Aaj Tak’s tweet described Thapar’s interview as an act of a real journalist while interviewing Modi. It also juxtaposed an informal photo of Arnab and Modi highlighting the friendly atmosphere ‘when interviewed by chamcha.’
— Jaini (@manichejain) June 28, 2016
The post along with photos said, “Ahem Ahem! Yuki yeh maine nahi bola.’
The channel issued a clarification stating that the post was meant to have been published by a member of staff from his/her personal handle. But it accidentally got posted through the channel’s official handle.
It said, “Our apologies. this was to go from someone’s personal handle. Since we have humans behind the machines, please do omit.”
The channel later also tweeted requesting a user to delete the negative tweet about the channel.
It said, ‘Agree. Sorry for this. Could you be kind enough to delete your tweet if that is not too much to ask for.”
This was in response to the user asking the channel to ‘tweet responsibly.’
@manichejain Agree. Sorry for this. Could you be kind enough to delete your tweet if that is not too much to ask for.
— आज तक (@aajtak) June 28, 2016
But the clarification was not enough to pacify the visibly enraged BJP supporters, who took to Twitter to launch new hashtag #ShameAajTak. Such was the Twitteratis’ anger that the hashtag #ShameAajTak remained a top national trend all throughout Tuesday.
However, in a twist, the owner of Subramanian Swamy’s Facebook accounted said that the ‘meme’ posted by Aaj Tak was lifted from his social media page.
He wrote, “aajtak.in posts our meme on twitter and later deletes it. But Thanks to Bhakts for selflessly promoting.”
Here are some reactions:
— Suvie Ritu Chandra (@SuvalagnaC) June 28, 2016
Aaj Tak reporter offered Alcohol as bribe to poor child to say scripted lines on camera n they calling others 'Script chamcha' #ShameAajTak
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) June 28, 2016
— ❅ Keep Smiling (@upma23) June 28, 2016
— Namrata (@dixitnamrata) June 28, 2016
— Ramrao Kulkarni (@RamraoKP_) June 28, 2016
— Devika (@Dayweekaa) June 28, 2016
— Smriti… (@SimmiShine) June 28, 2016
— Pari Chawla (@MumbaiDiKudi) June 28, 2016
They try to troll Dr Patra once, said Sorry. But d leftist love current is always there. Now they do it with PM, again Sorry.
— manisha jain (@iBackModi) June 28, 2016
— Suresh Nakhua (@sureshnakhua) June 28, 2016
This is exactly the reason why your channel could not get an interview with the PM, because u are low class presstitutes #ShameAajTak
— Archie (@Archu243) June 28, 2016
— Dr Shobha (@DrShobha) June 28, 2016