Flix Saturday, June 20, 2015 - 05:30
  In the 10-year history of Times Now, #LalitGate has perhaps received the most consistent, continuous hysterical coverage after #AnnaKiAugustKranti. At last count, there have been 60 newsbreaks, and 50 reporters who have had a role in chasing this story according to the channel. This could very well be true, not that we have any doubts about the numbers being inflated. The channel informs us that their campaign against Modi has been on for 14 days starting with the first report on Keith Vaz, although the high-decibel and exclusive coverage on the channel has been on for just a week now. Lest we be accused of lack of research, we concede that we have not researched this enough, but we are pretty certain now that there has not been a single news channel in the history of world television which has had 50 reporters following a single news story and delivered 60 newsbreaks in a matter of few days. This is a news revolution. These newsbreaks, mind you, were truly earth-shattering. They included enlightening ones like “Raje sacking certain?”, “PM-Shah discuss row”, “Save Sushma Effort” and “Monsoon session fix”. There was a newsbreak for Lalu asking for a probe, one for Yechury’s reaction, and (this is the most hilarious one) even one for Arnab asking for a resignation. Phew. As this is being written, Times Now is running promos for their special show on ‘the story behind’ #LalitGate. From the promo, it seems Arnab and Navika have been interviewed by their channel to tell us viewers how it is that they chased the biggest political story of the century. If it wasn’t so disappointingly close to the truth, FakingNews’s satirical article on Times Group launching ‘Lalit Now’ would have been extremely funny. To be fair to the good folks at Times Now and their boss, this is not about one megalomaniacal ego-driven personality targeting another. There is serious rating business behind all the 'gates'. As Arnab shouted and ranted through extended 4-hour editions of The Newshour, their sales executives had “$$$$$$” flashing before their eyes. By Week 23, which is between June 6 and June 12, Times Now had already beaten other channels hollow, garnering nearly three times the TRPs of their closest competitor. With the #LalitGate hyperbole, expect TRPs to see a delightful spike. We can already hear the champagne bottles being popped open by the end of this quarter. What is even funnier is how other channels chose to react to this. When Times Now started its ‘exclusive newsbreaks’, Rahul Kanwal and Rajdeep Sardesai of India Today Group went overboard accusing Times Now of stealing the story from Sunday Times and sensationalizing it. Sushma is being accused unfairly, they said. A couple of days later, all of them fell in line. Rajdeep went all the way to Montenegro to interview Lalit Modi, and also blogged about it. Soon, the 'newsbreak' fever too caught on.   EXCLUSIVE NEWS BREAK ON @LalitKModi security shortly on CNN-IBN @ibnlive @CNNIBNBreaking — AbhishekPatniCNN-IBN (@Abhishek_Patni) June 20, 2015   Expectedly, Arnab is one happy man. Angry on the outside, happy on the inside. Speaking to TNM, he said, “Four smaller channels don’t match up to TIMES NOW. I think it is time for the smaller channels to realise that aping the leader, or spending a lot of money mocking the leader is futile. My experience has been that leadership is built by doing the news, not by negative marketing campaigns. Each time someone mocks or apes us, our viewership grows. There is a big lesson in this fact. Besides, the massive public response to our Lalitgate expose matches the growing number of our viewers. I am delighted. ”    
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