“I live in a total news hole, so the only paper I have regular access to is the Times of India. It’s a God-awful rag. There’s also something called DNA which basically just picks up wire stories, so, you know, it’s like the Sun Times.
“Anyway, this week I have been in Mysore and Bangalore and have had access to some better press. One thing that is consistent across all papers is a definite trend in American political coverage. I don’t want to call it a slant one way or the other because it’s more subtle than that. Stories concerning Barack Obama are invariably newsy; they concern some foreign policy talk he gave or some poll data that shows a gain or fall. Coverage of Sarah Palin is invariably gossipy; it revolves around her appearance, her dress sense, what Hugo Chavez has said to insult her. It’s not concerned at all with her current legal issues, just her Hollywood pedigree. You’ll notice I have not mentioned coverage of John McCain. That is because there is none. Seriously. He’s pretty much non-existent. Every so often a photo cap will identify someone as being at a McCain rally, but if you don’t already know what that means you’re unlikely to find out from context.
“This reflects a widely-held belief that Obama is strongly pro-India. I don’t know if this is accurate as no reporting has mentioned any specifics concerning his stance. All in all, it’s a lot like being in Chicago; everyone loves, loves, loves the Barack but no one can really tell you why.
“I can also report that, anecdotally anyway, the general public seems strongly prObama. I mean, those who are aware that there is an election in America really love them some Barack. Once people find out I am American, they frequently mention that Obama will be our next president soon and that the rest of the world will thank us for it.
“It’s pretty remarkable. Of course, many of them seem to think he’s running unopposed, so they view this as more of a coronation than a campaign. Again, it’s like I haven’t even left home. I think that, should McCain manage what now looks like a bit of an upset, a lot of people here will be very confused and possibly quite upset. I’m interested to see just what will happen if Obama hangs on for the win. My impression is that people will be pleased and will generally go about their business, but it’s possible this could be a bigger deal than that. The financial crisis in the States has had an immediate impact here, with the rupee dropping like a rock and the domestic tourism industry taking a pounding during what is traditionally a very busy holiday season. There’s also growing unrest in several states.
“For better or for worse, a strong America is still viewed as the best way to ensure stability here and so many people may see this as a sign that the tough times are a blip rather than a sustained trend.”
You can read more about Natasha’s excellent adventure on her excellent travel blog, NJ in India.