He writes on the latest hoo-ha, courtesy the Slimes/Crimes Group whose publication, the Economic Times (ET), recently carried a so-called smooch between Kiran Majumdar Shaw (of Biocon) and Vasundhara Raje Scindia (Rajasthan Chief Minister) on their front page. Needless to say, that photo created the required controversy.
If that photo wasn't stupid enough, they've stooped even lower by the apoplectic fit of self-righteousness they raised in this column carried on their yellow rags today.
Over to Mishti who, also angry at the ET, has written this piece below. Comments welcome.
The Times of India group every day sets lower and lower standards in journalism (if you call it that for the lack of any other more appropriate word) and never tires of its sick holier than thou attitude. One example was recently pointed out by Amelia Gentleman, a columnist at the International Herald Tribune.
The ToI group has this smartly designed logo (I must give credit where it is due - ToI groups ads and logos etc are smart; after all it is a marketing juggernaut and nothing about journalism) called " The Global Indian Takeover", which in a celebratory mood it appends to any and every article. Do not know which moron decided which article it should get appended to, but apparently last week it got appended to an article on a girl of Indian origin winning the Miss UK title (pointed out by the IHT columnist) . Someone out there is in a desperate need to have his/ her head examined.
Economic Times believes it is a financial newspaper just because it aped the colors of Financial Times many years back (called it salmon pink, I remember, although I am yet to see a salmon on my plate of that color. I have a suggestion - they should change the color to yellow). In recent times ETs budget coverage has been especially deplorable especially for the visuals that they use. It suffers from an identity crisis as it tries to ape its sister publication Bombay Times.
But I am digressing. What takes the cake is today's article "Much ado about...." on page 3 of The Economic times. This is on the picture of Rajasthan's CM and Biocon's CMD air-kissing each other, with the camera angle being such which invited a lot of comment and some called it obscene.
ET felt that the politicians and Hindi TV channels are bereft of ideas (true for once, but it forgets that it itself false into the same category) and hence, debated on what was just another picture. Fair enough. But ET with all its sagacity and wisdom, decided to devote a couple of columns to it, after having published the picture the previous day. It castigated the TV channels and the politicians for starting a debate on the photograph.
And in its holier than thou attitude, ET went on to say "At ET, we had carried the picture in good faith, without any intention of hurting the sentiments of both Ms Raje and Ms Shaw. In our wall-to-wall coverage of the World Economic Forum, this is one of the few pictures we felt deserved to be carried." Good faith, ha, ha, ha.
Will the ET editor (if there is one, because the Jain's do not believe in editorial content or freedom or how can a newspaper have two viewpoints on an editorial subject matter on the same day) please clarify why "this one is one of the few pictures" that deserved to be carried? Were they the two most important personalities gracing the occasion at WEF on that day? Did they make some major news by what they had to say on that day? I do not remember ET mentioning anything about what they said in ETs "wall to wall" coverage!
ETs stooping does not end there. It also says, "As readers of ET know, air-kissing is a common phenomenon at corporate dos and high-society parties." ETs readers are indeed a wise lot. Other poor souls who do not have the benefit of reading ET do not know such social niceties.
Unfortunately (I believe) the ABP group (erstwhile owners of Business Standard) did not show its marketing acumen with Business Standard the way they showed with The Telegraph in Kolkata and T N Ninan unfortunately never had the backing of the financial muscle power of the Bennet Coleman group. BS would have punched ET if only FDI in newspapers and journals was allowed.
Guess which votary and champion of reforms puts out editorials against FDI in newspapers? No prizes for guessing - it is the venerable publications from the ToI group, which are so keen to protect their turf. Of course, their editorials are full of righteous indignation against Bombay Club and any whiff of protectionism in any other sector. Hopefully HT in association with WSJ will launch a paper which will tell us something more about business, companies and sectors rather than tell us what kind of kissing is a common phenomena at what dos. That I must admit can be safely left to ET, Bombay Times, Mumbai Mirror and of course, the one and only Times of India.