India's all-important Obama endorsement

A financial newspaper backs the Democrat, from 11000 kilometers away


Andrew Leonard
November 4, 2008 5:18AM (UTC)

Longtime readers of How the World Works will guess that I have no problem with an Indian newspaper endorsing an American political candidate. Especially when an Irish proverb is supplied in support.

...The past few weeks have clearly shown how interlinked we all are, no matter where one lives. As an Irish proverb says, "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live."

Since we're all in this together, what could possibly be wrong with Mint, a business and finance newspaper that is a joint venture between an Indian media company and the Wall Street Journal, deciding to endorse Barack Obama "as the best person to be elected the next president of the U.S.?" Who cares if Mint, as the editorial acknowledges, is "published some 11,977km away from the White House?"

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Not everyone sees it this way. One sourpuss posted an open letter to the editor of Mint, Raju Narisetti, complaining that "your newspaper does not have that many readers in the United States and your voice is insignificant in the American political discourse."

"...The U.S. presidential election is essentially a matter for the citizens of the United States of America; a serious Indian newspaper shouldn't interfere in their internal affairs.

But not so fast! In a note accompanying the endorsement, Mint observed that "We are also acutely aware that about 40 percent of those who regularly read Mint online at www.livemint.com do so from the U.S."

So really, it's all part of the business model. India's economy is crucially linked to the United States, Indians work and live and vote in the United States, and in the 21st century, any newspaper that publishes on the Internet has a potential constituency anywhere.

Salon, naturally, will publish its endorsements for India's upcoming national elections in due time.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Barack Obama Globalization How The World Works India

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