After having read the book I just read and reviewed and given my ideologies in general, I am now fully convinced that a democratic government based on universal adult suffrage, a free and open market, a capitalistic society with some government control and a free press is the best combination you can have in a country. Even if this means the country is slow to change, ends up with some form or shape of crony capitalism — it is better than having great success stories in extractive institutions. There are plenty of examples why this makes sense and where alternatives have failed.
TIME magazine recently called Manmohan Singh an under-achiever on its cover page and India reacted violently to it — or to be more specific, the babus reacted so. In a free media, the media has no obligation to be accurate, though it makes good business and editorial sense to do so. They are entitled to their views, opinions, speculations and observations — even if they are inaccurate. So the fact that the babus repudiated it the way they did is a matter of humor. TIME could have done the exact same thing about one of their own — and people will either accept it or not — they never rally up against the publisher. And that to me is the very meaning of free media.
Outlook India today photocopied the exact same cover and called Obama an under-achiever. No creativity, no improv, no cunningness to the mockery — just plain photocopy. If Outlook India did this to capitalize and make the most of the recent controversy and boost stand-sales, this is a great marketing move and I like that. But if they did it to retaliate and give it back, oh boy, who are they kidding? First of all, who were they giving back to? Obama? US? TIMES? Do they actually think TIME cares about what Outlook India thinks about Obama and/or get apologetic about what they did? Why would they do that?
I sincerely hope I am just reading too much into this — but Indian media — especially if this move is motivated by the ruling government and babus — has to man up to criticism. But denial is just a way of life for these politicians — they reacted the same way when India was downgraded by S&P. India is actually a good example of functioning free press, but sometimes this drama is pretty irritating.