In searching for an alternative to America’s heavily-partisan news coverage, Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones discovered that in India, he could make news as well as cover it — for the right price.
For a cool $2500, Jones said, he was able to get one of India’s more respected newspapers, the Millenium Post, to publish a fawning self-penned profile describing him as a “six-time Mr. Canada entrant” who had 97 percent of the country raving his election coverage.
“I’m actually not interested in your politics,” Jones told reporter Puja Gupta. “But can you make it seem like I am?”
The practice of “paid news,” former national election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi told Jones, has become commonplace in the country’s thriving newspaper industry, which currently counts more than 93,000 registered publications.
Meanwhile, India’s TV news circuit was “even worse than ours,” Jones observed, with talking heads, confusing graphics and an outright embrace of gimmicks dominating the airwaves. After searching for the country’s biggest “news douche,” Jones chatted with CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai, who gushed about America’s news-talk format, and his network’s rush to adapt it.
For example, Jones said, CNN-IBN “rounded up” the number of voters in the country from 815 million to 1 billion.
“If I said 815 million, you won’t remember it,” Sardesai explained. “Say a billion, you’ll remember it.”
“Right,” Jones agreed. “I’ll remember that it’s wrong.”
“It’s a good American way of doing things,” Sardesai said.
“What, the wrong way?” Jones asked.
“No, the brand recall,” Sardesai told a flummoxed Jones. “The Americans love brand recall.”
After telling Jones that “people like noise” in their news and confessing to being a fan of Twitter hashtags, though, Sardesai did say he envied one common U.S. news tactic.
“I’d love to have more anchors who look like some of your American anchors,” he said.
“You want prettier anchors,” Jones replied.
“Yeah, I’d love to have prettier anchors,” Sardesai confirmed.
“But you’d be out of a job,” Jones said.
“That’s okay,” Sardesai reassured him. “I love them. I love them.”
Watch Jones’ sojourn to India posted online by Hulu: