Anil Thakraney: The Obama Drama

09 Nov,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Some observations on the media coverage of the US Prez elections, and a couple of notes on the politics of it.


Obamaji’s biggest strength is his public speaking skill, his charisma on stage. This not only keeps the Americans enthralled, it must have prompted many to press the button on his name inside the polling booth. Wish Maun Maun Singh had a millionth of the guy’s charisma, we might have tolerated the assorted political scams with a slightly cooler head.


I watched only NDTV and Times Now for the election coverage. No, I didn’t skip the other channels because I don’t approve of them, it’s just that there’s only that much I can handle on an election that doesn’t affect my life even remotely. In fact, all the excitement in India over Romney versus Obama reminded of that lovely proverb: Begaani Shaadi Mein Abdullah Deewana.


Abdullah reminds me of J&K CM Omar Abdullah analyzing the elections for us on NDTV. Bichare se Kashmir sambhalta nahin, and he’s got the gall to discuss American politics.


Watching Dr Prannoy Roy on air is always a delight. Not just for the sense of proportion he brings to the table, but because of his innate calmness and neutrality. Really wish his protégées (including those who’ve left him), learn something in television journalism from the man. As for NDTV’s coverage itself, it got a trifle boring as they went too deep into the US micro politics. Dr Roy can’t help it, I guess, since he’s a passionate psephologist. But I’m quite certain his audiences felt a tad restless.


Arnab Goswami, on the other hand, had the right idea. He chose to focus only on the relevance of the election to the sub-continent (and he kept reminding us of this super cool angle). But then he went ahead and invited the same thakela faces on his show, the same gents who indulge in the usual Indo-Pak tug of war. Therefore this show became dull as well.


I did try out CNN International for a bit, but the reporters appeared too excited and too busy exchanging friendly banter with one other. Never a good idea this, because this mutual bonhomie can, and often does, alienate the viewer.


As for the big picture, sadly, the American politicians are making the same deadly mistake their counterparts make in India. They have totally polarized the nation, and have divided it into different vote bank communities. This lethal strategy will come back to haunt them one day. We Indians know the sort of suffering political fracturing brings to the nation.




PS: PETA has decided it’s time for real ‘shock and awe’ to make you go vegan. They have used veggies in their latest ad as a phallic symbol, with absolutely absurd results. If this doesn’t prompt all the size-obsessed hunks to opt for sabzi tarkari, nothing will.






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