28 October, 2020

The Tellygenetic Fallacy

TV’s mass hypnosis: handsome is what Modi does

Illustration by Saahil
The Tellygenetic Fallacy

Nothing succeeds like excess; indeed, moderation is fatal. The electronic media in India seems to have taken that Wilde observation to heart in its coverage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US. CNN-IBN led with the aperitifs. Seeking an American channel to share his thoughts with the public there, Modi chose CNN International for his first international interview. CNN-IBN sought to make most of it, though the content was unspectacular. This was to be expected of a namesake of sorts. But it rebroadcast the interview the same day, the next, and the next till it began to spill out of my ears. More amazing was its elevation of Fareed Zaka­ria, now an American citizen, to the status of the greatest expert on India and Modi. He was asked about his impressions of Modi the man; he was also asked to make a long-term assessment. Evidently someone of new American vintage was more important than any number of domestic experts. So it was with a sense of shock that one watched Headlines Today, in which Karan Thapar (previously of CNN-IBN) giving the Modi visit some...



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