For American Media, Spellbinder Indian PM is the New Talk of the Town

Published: 01st October 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2014 08:32 AM   |  A+A-

WASHINGTON: While PM Narendra Modi’s US trip has got wall-to-wall coverage back home, the US media has taken note of the visit so far in a modest way -- with all the big papers carrying one story each day of his sojourn in their land.

On Tuesday, the big front page stories were about the intruder which had managed to penetrate deeper into White House security than previously ascertained.

Over the weekend, USA Today, which describes itself as a national paper, did have a lead on Modi on page 1 - the only paper to do so, so far.

According to observers, this is not surprising - as the main summit was to take place on Tuesday, which could lead to Modi garnering some space on page 1 in the big papers.

In Washington Post’s Tuesday edition, the Confederation of Indian Industry had taken out a full page to mark the first-ever meeting between Modi and the US President. Just opposite the page, the paper carried an article with the headline ‘Obama seeks Modi as ally on Asia policy’. It asserted that while the administration had laid out the red carpet, “but the specter of what many think will be left unspoken - human rights and civil society issues - hangs over the visit”.

Even The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post had always mentioned about Modi’s past and the visa issue. The summons by the New York court on the eve of Modi visit were also carried as reports, plus interviews with Modi’s detractors.

On the very first day he landed in New York -- Friday, The Wall Street Journal and other US papers had all carried articles on the special dietary preference of Modi - a rather unique diplomatic challenge for the Obama administration.

While the diet story got good play because of its exoticness, the rest have gone deeper into the inside pages. On Saturday, The WSJ did an article on possible arms sale of $3 billion by the US to India as result of the visit, which was in page 16. On the same day, it also had a story on the lawsuit filed against Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The glitzy Madison Square Garden speech - attended by 19,000 adoring Indian-Americans - did get covered rather well, but again in the inside pages. On page 9 of its main section, The New York Times carried a large piece titled ‘At Madison Square Garden, Chants, Cheers and Roars for Modi’. “Mr Modi is here to sell a New India, with himself as the man who can be trusted to deliver the promise. But it remains to be see whether he is willing or able to bridge India’s wide differences with the US on tax policies, climate change, outsourcing, intellectual property rights and other issues,” it said.

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