So I should be forgiven that when I read a particular “news bit”, I automatically assumed that what I was reading was a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun.
It was when I realized that it was a true story, that my chuckles wouldn’t stop. See, I’m chuckling now, just thinking about it. 🙂
Some background and context first:
The President of the Republic of China Xi Jinping (the anglicized pronunciation is “Shee Chin-Ping”) had a state visit to India a week ago. When you think of it, considering that we are talking about the massive nations of China and India (sometimes friends, most times foes) this was really quite remarkable and rare. No surprise then that this significant event resulted in considerable media coverage.
According to the Economist, Jinping is the most powerful and popular leader in China in several decades. To quote –
He has become the most powerful Chinese ruler certainly since Deng, and possibly since Mao. Whether this is good or bad for China depends on how Mr Xi uses his power. Mao pushed China to the brink of social and economic collapse, and Deng steered it on the right economic path but squandered a chance to reform it politically. If Mr Xi used his power to reform the way power works in China, he could do his country great good. So far, the signs are mixed.
More context –
Doordharshan (DD) is the government run television channel in India, like PBS but nowhere near as good. When it was the only channel available, it was quite the star but today with the explosion of hundreds of commercial channels in India, this one has gone off into the background, neither able to attract an audience or high quality talent.
Who knew that putting these two together would result in such a colossal faux pas?
The news story in question was really very short; in fact, the headline said it all:
“DD anchor sacked for calling Chinese President Xi JinPing ‘Eleven‘ “
Turns out that this was no joke!
Instead, when covering the state visit (which I have not been able to find on youtube – great job obfuscating it, DD!), the unnamed DD news anchor* referred to the Chinese President as Eleven JinPing, mistaking his name for a Roman numeral.
It really happened! Here’s one of many links to the story.
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. And LOL-funny, to boot. 🙂
* As funny as this incident is, it is not so funny that the news reader was sacked. The saving grace for both DD and her is that she was not a permanent staff member but a substitute news reader (who will likely learn a lot because of this blooper). Plus DD has done a great job of keeping her name out of the media spotlight. Perhaps she will look back on this several years from now and have a laugh too. Let’s hope.
Photo Credit: By Narendra Modi [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons