As you already might have guessed, I am a regular viewer of the Newshour by Arnab Goswami and a big fan. It is a ‘complete’ show. There are multiple reasons why I choose to watch him. The show provides good entertainment, in comparison, the alternatives are poorly scripted; also in a weird sense, this is a kind of adventure sport, for panellists.
Surprisingly though, there is not even a single guide available on how to survive his show. I expected at least a book in the market, something like “Arnab for dummies”, nope! So I thought I’ll write one, not book, a post. If you happened to be invited to his show, please feel free to use any of these.
BTW, if you do not know Arnab Goswami, please go back into your cave and close the rock door properly. I heard spiders are adequate protein. For others, let’s start.
Right, the Thumb rule is, there is no correct way of doing it. However, there are several wrong ways.
- You can never win an argument, you can only survive it. So stop trying to convince and embrace the inevitable.
- Do not practice! In fact, you don’t even need to know what the discussion is all about. He will set the premise, then he will ask what “nation needs to know”.
- Never ever ask for proof. If it exists, Arnab has seen it. As it was famously described before by media crooks – every piece of document, including your bus ticket, will have to go through his desk. Stamped and signed.
- Use the words he uses, he may show mercy on you. ‘National’ television, you’re ‘exclusive’, etc. While there, don’t use the words ‘paid’ and ‘media’, or ‘you’ and ‘PR agent’ in the same sentence. Prostate exams seem better than what follows.
- Use this as a final resort, only if you are cornered. Close your ears and eyes and sing a song, need not be a patriotic song, even Sheela Ki Jawani should work.
- If that doesn’t work, use your rugby skills.
I will update the list as and when I find more, but as of now above should help you through half an hour of his show.
On a different note, below are some rhetological fallacies I noted. This is in general, rather than Arnab’s show. These are real fallacies, I did not make any of these.
- The burden of proof – It’s not my job to find evidence, it’s yours. E.g. Give me a piece of evidence for something I claimed
- Special pleading – pleading for exemption without justifying the exemption. E.g. Give them time, they will prove eventually, so don’t scrutinize.
- Insufficient sample – broad conclusion on a tiny piece, E.g. The latest ‘ground-breaking’ survey had “..about 2000 people – was small and was concentrated on the 18-45 age group.”
- Relative privation – argument on the existence of severe, but unrelated, problems. E.g. How can Madhuri Dikshit and Salman Khan can attend a show while people don’t have a blanket in a refugee camp.
- Appeal to accomplishment – because of his credentials! E.g. have you ever read Arvind Kejriwal’s Resume?
- Nazi card – simple branding. e.g. we are liberals, by definition, we are open to all ideas except anything remotely right.
- Appeal to ridicule – E.g. Idea of abolishing income tax is ridiculous, we don’t even need to talk about it.
- Appeal to nature – argument solely dependent on the topic being ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’. E.g. Homosexuality is unnatural.
- Appeal to novelty – better because it is modern. E.g. since it is written in books before
- Appeal to fear – fear towards the opposing idea, e.g. FDI in retail will bring a devastating impact in the economic fabric
- Appeal to the majority – Since the majority seems to think so, must be true, E.g.majority is gullible.
- Cherry-picking. Celebrating on a few features of achievement, while ignoring important information of related cases or data that may contradict that position. For example, Delhi water problem solved!
- Appeal to ignorance – because it is not proven false; so right. e.g. You did not give him a chance yet, he can do wonders.
- Appeal to common sense – I cannot imagine how this could be true. Therefore it must be false. E.g. I can’t imagine how such a big actor can drive over people sleeping on the footpath.
- Hedging – using words with ambiguous meanings, then changing the meaning of them later. E.g. we said we will live like common man alright, we also agreed to end VIP culture. But that simply means we won’t use beacons, but gas-guzzling SUVs stay. Apparently practising austerity is not for the common man.
- More will be added here.