The Desi News Network

There’s an old saying that on Christmas day, the only biz going are Chinese restaurants packed with Jewish patrons. When the other 80-90% of the country is distracted by holidays, superbowls, and the like, some interesting, if otherwise overlooked, ethnic combos rise above the fold.

I’m a news / TV junkie and usually keep the feed on in the background when I’m working from home. The last 30 min may have been a milestone for desi’s on TV news.

Today’s CNN Situation Room was anchored by the dapper Ali Velshi standing in for Wolf Blitzer who was undoubtedly enjoying time at home with his family. Relative to CNN’s usual fare, Sit Room is a more “raw” up to the minute format featuring a heavier mix of live reports on the big stories.

So, instead of the same Iraq update loop that gets run on Headline News, for ex., the update goes straight to the on-the-scene reporter – in this case, Raman Aneesh – posing with mic in hand in front of a row of Hummers. And, for an update from the international desk, he turned to Zain Verjee.

20 minutes of namebrand news, an unbroken string of Desi reporting talent. Pretty cool.

A quick check on Fox News revealed anchor John Gibson interviewing Fox’s Baghdad reporter, Ms. Reena Ninan.

Now, at least when I did the quick check, MSNBC chose to deal with reporters on vacation by doing something different – they ran a documentary on the life and times of Michael Jackson

24 thoughts on “The Desi News Network

  1. Yea go Zain!!! (she’s Kenyan) I was initially quite selfishly peeved that they picked her off our local KTN and put her on CNN International…I was happy for her, but sad that we lost her…and dammit I don’t get CNN International here, so I can’t see her on that either :)

  2. Very cool having three desis in a row. Back when I had access to cable, I remember seeing Rudi Bakhtiar and another desi anchor, but unfortunately, I can’t remember her name. Perhaps America is now ready to have some TV shows with more desis with prominent roles – the Bend it Like Beckham girl on ER or the desi male psychiatry resident on Grey’s Anatomy don’t count in my opinion.

  3. the Bend it Like Beckham girl on ER or the desi male psychiatry resident on Grey’s Anatomy don’t count in my opinion.

    why not? parminder nagra is awesome on ER

  4. I agree that she’s awesome on ER. Plus, I never realized how beautiful she was until she cut her hair! (which is unusual b/c I’m usually mortified when a girl with beautiful long hair chops it off).

  5. Yea. I was actually sitting down watching t.v. at that exact moment and noticed it myself. Barrage of reporting by brown individuals.

    “babu, there are a lot of desi people on CNN.”

    “yea, i’m not sure what’s going on here…”

    i wasn’t sure if that comment warranted a laugh, but I chuckled on the inside.

  6. The drool-worthy Rudabeh Bakhtiar is Irani.

    HEY, NO FAIR! If you’re gonna go outside the desi network, so am I. My newest boyfriend is Demetri Martin, newest correspondent for the daily show…. He ain’t a looker, but he’s pretty cute.

    Favourite Demetri joke: Leather vest – not cool. Leather jacket – very cool. Key to being cool – leather sleeves.

  7. and i think Zain is HOTTTTTT !!!

    I agree man, And the coolest thing is she’s African Desi!!! Woot woot for all the smart African born Desi’s. I see her all the time on CNN international.

    Hey Kenyan Desi, get DSTV and you’ll be able to watch CNN.

  8. yeah she’s Ismaili…hence the fluent gujrati…I miss home all of a sudden, more than the usual dull ache. I really really miss it :(

  9. i am quite sure that both Velshi and Verjee are khoja ismaili. verjee def is a khoja name. (i am also an east african khoja so i am familiar w/ the names within the community).

  10. i am quite sure that both Velshi and Verjee are khoja ismaili

    Correct- went to see Velshi at a mini-seminar last year where he talked about his program “the Bottom line” and was most impressed with his manners and his perspective on life in general …..very down to earth type of guy- someone you would not mind to have as your brother-in-law……

  11. Even if we put the origin aside and assume they all were desis, its hard to think that they will be given better exposure even after CNN’s beloved anchors are back? They are just proxies.

  12. “drool-worthy Rudabeh Bakhtiar is actually Irani.”

    Sorry – I spent a lot of time in Iran as a child, and I consider them “desi” as well.

    “why not? parminder nagra is awesome on ER”

    Well, granted I haven’t watched ER this season or last, but in the previous seasons when her character was present, I always got the impression she was a “supporting” cast member, never a real “main” character. Personally, I’d like to see more desis (born here or moved here at an early age, so sans any accent) in the main character roles in medical shows b/c it would actually represent reality (I’m in the med world and see it firsthand…)

  13. All these brown folks sort of balance out the unbelievable whiteness of Lou Dobbs.

    Nice to see and good for CNN to not limiting their diversity to tokenism.

  14. i like aneesh raman. He is so nice and intelligent. I learn english watching him on CNN. So thank you aneesh for being so sweet and for teaching me english. Sorry if there are mistakes in my english. I LOVE CNN! I LOVE ANEESH RAMAN! I LOVE AMERICANS. delphine, a french girl.