Friday, February 17, 2012

Trysts with MSM - Part 19: Debate and participation!

MSM stands from Main Stream Media. 

CEO of NDTV, Vikram Chandra tweets this in the morning

On Big Fight this week -- the SIT report and what that means for Narendra Modi. Send in your comments!

And follows it up with

Also, would any of you tweeple who consider Modi the greatest ever like to come to the studio to speak about him?

I ask him back -

But do you have the report? If not, what SIT report will you discuss? @vikramchandra Simple Question. 

He replies back

@ssudhirkumar the various versions of what the report apparently contains?? Come - fly to delhi today!

He asks me to fly to Delhi "today"! 

I decline, saying this

@vikramchandra thanks for the invite. I find the debate patterns on english TV very distracting. thanks, but no thanks!

And I thought that settled the issue. Some well meaning folks have advised to me saying this might be a good chance to put a point across, but since this is a format, against which I wrote a detailed blog just last week, I was not too much inclined. 

Things changed by evening. At 4:06pm and 4:10 pm, Vikram Chandra asks me:

@ssudhirkumar Sudhir? Tell me? can you come to sudio in hyderabad if not in delhi? 5.30 pm today?? 

I was still not keen, plus less than 90 minutes to prepare for a debate is too short a time for me. He further taunts me asking

@ssudhirkumar why do you need to "think and prepare" on the SIT and Narendra Modi? I thought you normally have LOTS to say??

The taunting continued after I said that I do have lots to say, but need to organize thoughts coherently to speak in 1-2 minutes:

@ssudhirkumar so normally your thoughts are NOT coherently organized? Disappointed. Will miss you.

Again some well meaning folks advised it would be a good idea to put a point across, and even I thought that if this opportunity is let go, the taunting of "we gave you an opportunity, you didn't utilise it" will continue. So despite my strong thoughts on the format of the debate, I agreed to part of the debate. 

But since the notice was too short, I couldn't make it to the studio. I am in office, and was willing to be connected through skype etc. 

Here, Vikram Chandra insisted that I have to come to studio. I told him that I am at work and cannot possibly make it to the studio. But he insisted. 

@ssudhirkumar has to be studio! how can i do it on the phone? someone will give you the address

And so I let go. However, he continues

@ssudhirkumar btw, you have put out 57 tweets in the last 3 hours! While at work! Surely you could have found time for the debate?!

I did not expect that he will resort to such cheap shots. I was ready to debate, but not from the studio given the short time. I was willing to participate, but NDTV did not have the technical know-how of organising one other than their studio - how on earth was it my fault? I was told to fly to Delhi in the morning, and in the evening to drive to a studio? 

Upon hindsight - the debate had the following participants: 

@ssudhirkumar format is big fight.. you have to come to studio.. panellists are manish, nirmala, sanjiv bhatt, teesta, ashok malik etc

Maybe it is a good thing, I couldn't get onto the debate :D 

On a more serious note, some folks have accused me of chickening out, running away etc. I do not get the logic at all ! Twitter interactions are as direct as they get - why is participating in a TV debate the sole barrier of "daring"ness? 

We never shied away from any debate, only that we wanted a meaningful format for it. Despite strong thoughts, I did intend to participate given the fact that we live with what we have! Such short time to discuss modalities, and yet somehow I am at fault? 

Anyways, I asked Vikram Chandra to organise a debate on media and told him I will fly down to Delhi then! 

Also, he asked some other folks also to join in - but insisted that it had to be in the studio... so this discussion is not exclusive to me alone! Somehow though, he did find the time to count my tweets! 


Anonymous said...

So, was it really 57 tweets

uberschizo said...

debating on TV is not for everyone sudhir, and as with every war, you win some, you lose some battles. this one, he wins. you had enough time, but did not make up your mind till the end, you cant expect him to concede to your request after he has been tweeting at you the whole day. fair is fair.

I say, stay away from TV debates till you have enough practice being unreasonable and loud. what you do very well is dissect things in a calm manner, that is not the TV style.



Sudhir said...

@Anon - maybe! i didn't count.. plus majority of them would have come in the one hour I was debating with him and many others! Either way, how does it reflect whether I am "free" or not?

Sudhir said...

@Anand - yeah, you are right - TV not for all :) Surely for me, 90 minutes was not enough. I needed time to collate thoughts, prepare info about panelists etc.

He didn't tell me in the morning that the debate was in the evening. If he did so, I agree that this round was won by him :). However, his insinuations at my work etc were disappointing!


Roberto el Sandriano said...

" normally your thoughts are NOT coherent" - utter lack of journalistic ethos. Shades of street fighter rather than a moderator.

Shiva Ram Reddy said...

Lol. "why do you need to "think and prepare" on the SIT and Narendra Modi? I thought you normally have LOTS to say??"

Probably he thought u were just another news anchor with lots to say over lot of time.

Anonymous said...

If he thinks 57 tweets is a lot of time, he hasn't really been on twitter!

Anonymous said...

Certainly feels like bullying to me. Also a perpetuation of the sound bite culture where you don't reflect, reason or argue just vandalize

I am not sure it is loss for you considering that the conversation exposes the shoddy manner in which panelists are assembled, bullied and paraded

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