Dear Rajdeep, Thanks For Making Me Great Again. Cheers, Arnab

“You devoted an entire show to demand an apology from me. I am the news now. That’s just AMAZE”.

3 min read
Arnab’s open letter to Rajdeep.

Dear Rajdeep old chap,

How is the yoga going?

You must forgive my tardiness; I did mean to write earlier, but unfortunately my schedule as a nationalist news anchor leaves me with very little time for social niceties.

However, the slight delay does not take away from the gratitude that I want to express (on record) for your unparalleled act of generosity. Never in the history of primetime news in India has a news channel given 26 minutes of primetime to a rival news host. Totally free.

I know, of course, that your ad rates on primetime probably don’t compare with what I get for my primetime slot – but I am not into slot shaming.

I do think that I am – at most given times and contrary to popular perception – a humble man; but my humility doesn’t hold before your magnanimity. An entire show on my ‘transgressions’, complete with a high-profile panel and that excitable cherub, Rahul Kanwal. (I see a bit of me in him sometimes – he is like the Sneha Ullal to my Aishwarya Rai).

But I digress – I no longer report to you, but you generously promoted me from being someone who reports the news, to being the NEWS. I am the NEWS – and you are reporting on me. That’s just AMAZE (my social media team said to use that – you know, for the millennial connect).

You know, you could have just left it at the two tweets you put out. Twitter would have done the rest. I can see how the narrative would have unfolded there – Rajdeep Sardesai stumbles upon a four-year-old video, instantly loses his sh*t, and posts two angry tweets. Libtards, Sickulars and Bhakts jump in, and it is an orgasmic troll for all.

That is where it could have begun and ended. Instead, you decided to make the personal public. You decided to make Arnab great again. By discarding spontaneity in favour of a well-orchestrated campaign.

You had the video clip for three months – and then presumably worked yourself into a slow rage, co-opted your current and overly-cooperative employer into this haze of righteous anger and devoted an entire show demanding an apology from me.

Not to harp on it again, but I must, in all humility, point out that I do have a fanbase equally devoted to the nation and me (For them – the two are often synonymous). For my fans, your slow burn surgical strike on my integrity was just a show of jealousy.

A testament to how my BARC is better than your bite. (I have a terrible feeling I have messed this proverb up). Or as a Facebook comment on your video put it: “You behave like a child whose lollipop was snatched. Grow up”. Ouch. Look what they are saying about the “most important debate on media ethics”

As for the others – the clever meme makers, the hashtag warriors – I thank you for #ArnabDidit. Let me explain why. I enjoy the odd chuckle and the satirical flourish. Self deprecation is rather overrated, but in this case, I think I’ve had the last laugh.

In 2011, a study from scholars at Ohio State University examined how satire like The Colbert Report “registered differently among liberals and conservatives – how humor is filtered through certain predispositions”.

The end result was that satire often reinforced existing beliefs – you saw only what you wanted to see. So the Lutyens brigade can laugh themselves silly at various attempts to parody me – to my followers, it just adds to my mythology.

The more you satirise me, the more power you give me. That is my superpower.

Do forgive my aberrant lapse into this rather academic analysis – I usually abhor intellectual activity of any kind. Thinking never got anything done. This has been fun, but I have far more pressing matters to attend to. Pakistan must be scolded, Modi must be lauded… I must return to matters of the nation.

Thank you yet again. It is a large-hearted man who publicly acknowledges that his former subordinate has totally outranked him. In a 26-minute primetime show. For the world to see.

Keep the yoga going, buddy. Try Simhasana. It removes negativity.


(The writer who chose to remain anonymous is an avid media watcher. The views expressed above are of the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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