Ranjona Banerji: Those shameless American journalists doubting Trump’s credentials…

07 Feb,2017

By Ranjona Banerji


The response of the international and American media to the new US President Donald Trump remains in stark contrast to a bulk of the Indian media’s response to the BJP-led government at the Centre and to Prime Minister NarendraModi. The German magazine Die Spiegel had a cover illustration where Trump was shown beheading the Statue of Liberty. Yes, there have been cries of outrage from Trump supporters and from Rightwing Coalition of the Permanently Outraged but that does not seem to have stopped the media.


The president himself has continued with his Twitter war with the American media because apparently that is how you run the free world when you are its leader. And shockingly, there are no telecasts of prominent news anchors calling Trump a rock star or a tsunami wave or the greatest invention since tanning lotion.


Where are the photographs of American journalists falling over themselves to take selfies with Trump? Where are the breathlessly excited journalists retweeting every Trump tweet, joyous that no president has ever tweeted before? Where are the senior journalists writing long columns headlined, “20 things Trump will do to make America great again”? Where are the faithful experienced well-known journalists retweeting for us, “Trump woke up today”, because, wow you shameless anti-Trump journalist, you always doubted that Trump did not sleep at night?


Sounds familiar, my dear shameless faithful journalists?

I would have expected by now some very angry tweets and columns from Indian journalists about how terrible the American media has behaved with Trump. And at least a series of tweets on how anti-national the American media is and Breitbart is the only appropriate news medium for Indian journalists to emulate.


I am secretly hoping that they have at least sent loads of agarbatti and aartithalis to the Republican Hindu Coalition, so that they can add their blessings to the Trump presidency. In fact, I would have never heard of the Republican Hindu Coalition if it wasn’t for the Indian media and I am unsure that my life has improved from knowing them. Apart from the humour they provide of course. Though I wonder if that was the reason for highlighting them…


In case you think I am an evil exaggerator, here is the Indian Express reporting on the earthquake in Uttarakhand on Monday night:

“Soon after the quake, which took place at 10.33 pm, Prime Minister NarendraModi said in multiple tweets, “Spoke to officials & took stock of the situation in the wake of the earthquake felt in various parts of North India. PMO is in touch with officials in Uttarakhand, which is the epicentre of the quake. I pray for everyone’s safety & wellbeing.” ”http://indianexpress.com/article/india/5-8-on-richter-quake-rocks-uttarakhand-delhi-4511344/


As any media person in India knows, when the Prime Minister tweets, the world gets validated.




Meanwhile, watching TV news after the earthquake – which was pretty scary for those of us who experienced it – was most amusing. There are several websites where you can get immediate information about earthquakes. The US Geological Survey website is one of the best. The ESMC website is very quick, especially with its tweets. So anyone with access to the internet was able to find out in a short time what had happened and where. The epicentre was near Rudraprayag and Joshimath, some 112 km east of Dehradun. Could our intrepid TVwallahs figure this out? Should I laugh or cry? Some told us about the tremors in Delhi where most of them are based. Wind chimes and light fittings shook in the National Capital Region. Some spoke to people in Pithoragarh. Some told us the epicentre was Pithoragarh. I had a lovely sense of déjà vu. Last year during the forest fires in Uttarakhand, people asked me if I could see fires in Nainital from Dehradun. Ah, well.


I’m not going to insult your intelligence by telling you that Pithoragarh is not 112 km east of Dehradun. Perhaps you could just find a Prime Minister to retweet?


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