Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signed op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Sunday packs expert timing and constructive ideas. And the choice of WSJ over, say, The New York Times or Washington Post, hits a sweet spot for a US President who routinely skewers news media.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 26, 2017
WSJ content is one of the few targets Trump does not impale on his lethal midnight tweets. In fact, Trump’s crew takes the trouble of clipping out and mailing it to select, high priority lists as a ‘must read.' (To be fair to arch-rival Financial Times, they did the same for recent piece on how Trump is pushing for US-produced LNG export and why that’s good for America).
But as anecdotal material will confirm, the WSJ lustre remains special.
Back in 2008 when Trump’s daughter Ivanka was dating Jared and they broke up over a messy intra-family issue about Ivanka not being Jewish while Jared cared deeply about religion, how the couple come back together brings in a intensely personal Murdoch angle in Ivanka’s life. Wendi Deng, the glamourous, Chinese-born (ex) wife of Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp publishes WSJ, played cupid version 2.0, inviting Jared for a weekend boat trip and not revealing to him that Ivanka was also invited. The couple got back together, they married in 2009 and Ivanka converted to Judaism.
It’s no secret that the world’s most powerful First Daughter is Trump’s favourite among his many kids from three marriages, Trump makes no secret of his fondness for Ivanka and Jared. It follows from this that people and businesses which matter to Ivanka and Jared would get a soft landing on Planet Trump.
Even if we discount the Ivanka Trump-Jared Kushner-Wendi Deng angle in the appeal of WSJ to Trump as dated - consider the ever growing clout of the Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump association which goes back decades.
The Murdoch-owned Fox News played a crucial role Trump's 2016 election win. The two men came closer as the race got tighter. Trump gave his first foreign newspaper interview to Murdoch’s UK paper The Times with Murdoch sitting in the same room.
The WSJ owner and POTUS also share deep connections with one of America’s most successful defense attorneys Roy Cohn. Both Trump and Murdoch have been Cohn’s clients during choppy seasons in their lives so far.
Murdoch is effusive in his praise of Trump and the US President reciprocates it openly.
“The man I’m about to introduce believes, as I do, in challenging conventional wisdom, because conventional wisdom is often not wise at all,” Murdoch said at a New York event last month event while ushering Trump on stage.
The Trump-Murdoch bromance - and Fox News’ positive view of the President and therefore the channel’s easy access to on-record Trumpian soundbites -swaddles the WSJ too from the slings and arrows of Trump’s “fake news” tweetstorms.
Despite all this background, there are endless ways to pore over a signed piece by India’s PM ahead of an Indo-US summit - experts are drawing parallels between the content of Narendra Modi’s op-ed and K Subrahmanyam’s report on US-India relationship in 2006.
Wall Street Journal has dropped its famed paywall for the Modi copy headlined “For the U.S. and India, a convergence of interests and values” which opens in full on social links and has funneled a fresh spiral of American media interest on the Monday of the Indo-US summit meeting.
For its underlying strategy and closure, the Modi op-ed is to the credit of South Block media strategists.
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Updated Date: Jun 26, 2017 21:03:15 IST