AUS president who gives a European head of state a shoulder massage. A former Pakistani PM who unsuccessfully tries his charm on a US secretary of state. And most recently, a Pakistani president who flirted brazenly with a US veep hopeful. [The deeply understated and reserved Indian PM effusively professing the love of the Indian people to the American president] Politics seems to be suddenly very personal. (Joshi:2008)
Geo News adds “local” masala to Zardari’s meet with Palin
So is it only dumbing down of news or that the reality show culture has seeped into the global political theatre necessitating such reportage. Headlines like ‘Lovey-dovey parting gift’ in The Telegraph and ‘Singh Song: Love in the time of crisis’ in Times of India would be unprecendented earlier to describe the final leg of meeting between two heads of state.
Political leaders across the world have adopted many strategies to make them appear closer to us commoners. It is interesting to note that now this is also being “globalised” -crossing boundaries. Is it as reassuring to see a Zaradari wanting to hug an attractive Palin or the Australian president offer a shoulder massage as stars vomiting in their cars or being caught without knickers! The hero is dead, long live the hero! The sheer amount of public interest in people ensures that a hero becomes a bore at last (Ralph Waldo Emerson)!
Meanwhile, a CNN report explains the constructed nature of the news and how what we see is carefully scripted and managed by aides.
What is actually behind what the media tells us — chaperoning by aides (via CNN)
Nayar KP, 2008, ‘Lovey-dovey parting gift’, The Telegraph, 27 Sep, Kolkata, Pg 1 (read online here)
Rajghatta Chidanand & Diwakar, 2008, ‘Singh Song: Love in the time of crisis’, Times of India, 27 Sep, Kolkata, Pg 1 (read online here)
Joshi Anubha Sawhney, 2008, ‘Etiquette debate over Zardari’s Sarah quip’, Times of India, 27 Sep, Kolkata, Pg 9