She could have avoided it. It was not really worth the effort. But it was dramatic in its own way. The four men who were invited to question her looked stern prelates of the medieval Roman Catholic Church frowning and castigating Joan of Arc, who in this case happens to be Barkha. Manu Joseph was ranting about missing the story of the decade which even a cub reporter would have known, and Barkha was fighting back her tears and saying that this was a judgment call. Of course, Barkha was right. And she should have also asked who leaked the tapes to him. Manu Joseph was barking up the wrong tree. Novelists do not make for good inquisitors. If you turn sources into stories journalists would get no stories. That is the Faustian pact. The question to be asked was whether Barkha talked to Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel and got back to Niira Radia. That was what would have compromised Barkha. She was of course trying all the wrong tactics. She wanted to make it a general debate over media ethics, and Sanjay Baru pulled back the discussion back to Barkha's role. But that was of no help either. Barkha said there were 13 other journalists on the tapes. She should have avoided that. This was great cinema. Sonia Singh was trying to be fair, holding the balance between Barkha, her colleague and the panel of inquisitors.
NDTV did the thing that it knows best -- the silly liberal thing. To make it all appear transparent. The truth is that the media, NDTV cannot escape the onus, is caught in the Serbian bogs as it were. Everyone is smirched. There are no reputations to be saved. The media have overreached and it has to be penitent. There is no other way. Barkha is not the issue. She is much too young and inexperienced to be swimming in this cesspool of power politics. She does not understand but NDTV the channel understands as does every other other channel and every other paper and magazine.
It was stupid of the other journalists to have taken the moral high ground and question Barkha. The best thing would have been to cry 'Peccavi' whether you are directly involved or not. The media have become a power player and no one has a leg to stand on.
It is sad that Barkha should be made the example of the media's countless sins accumulated over years.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Barkha Dutt's self-flaggelation on NDTV, she is the Joan of Arc, and her questioners heartless prelates
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