Triumph of hype and hyperbole over honest reporting. ABCNews has a report titled “India Rising: One Billion Reasons to Care,” a study in scare mongering. I am sure that some Indians will misinterpret the report as high praise, instead of the scare mongering it really is.
Take for instance their claim that if your job requires you to sit in front of a computer, then “there is an Indian, perfectly qualified, who would do your job at one-tenth your salary and who’ll work six days a week, twelve hours a day and there are more English-speaking Indians then there are Americans, and most are wired in more ways than one …” That is just the beginning and it gets better as we go along.
The grand marshal of the “Flat World” movement is predictably present to add to the hyperbole, of course. I speak of none other than our very own Tom Friedman. But more about him later.
Crouching by the entrance of a hut in a slum in Mumbai, the reporter asks the woman how long they have lived there. She answers in Hindi, “For many years,” which he reports as “25 years they have lived here.”
Why, the reporter wonders, if Indians are so successful in being clerks for the Americans, is India so impoverished over video footage of what looks like slums along the Mumbai local train tracks, and answers his own question by stating it is because it is diverse and is a democracy.
Talking about diversity and democracy, the reporter is amazed that India is “home to 150 million peaceful Moslems.” Subtext: “Home to 800 million warring Hindus?” What exactly is he insinuating? That the rest of the world has blood-thirsty Muslims? What was the need for inserting that gratuitous adjective? Memo to ABC: Indian Muslims are no different than Muslims anywhere in the world. People are people.
Anyway, going along we are told that there is a method that evolves from all the madness in India. It is a miracle, Tom gushes. And the reporter declares that it is “a sort of a self-organizing system that scientist tell us occurs in ant-hills and beehives.” He drags in CK Prahalad who is reported as saying that “we should look at [India] not with pity but with respect and fear because this is where the next wave of global Titans will arise.”
Did I say the underlying theme is fear mongering?
The clichés come fast and thick in the 7 minute video. “I met Fareed while stepping over rats in a Bombay neighborhood,” starts a segment with a kid sending a SMS on a cell phone. The presence of malls and McDonalds in India is why the 700 million under the age of 35 no longer want to leave home and go to America since 9/11, explains the reporter.
I have an extremely low opinion of commercial American TV. Watching the report once again justified my ill opinion. The average American cannot but be more than a little confused about what India is all about, and more than a little resentful that the filthy Indians are out to steal American jobs and their American way of life. It would appear to me that America is under siege not from Islamic terrorism alone but Hindu office workers as well.
Thanks for the help, Tom. Much appreciated.