Friday, June 25, 2010

Yet another arrogant and devious journalist

A recent article (, published in the Pakistani newspaper The News is an exercise in propaganda, whilst ostensibly decrying it.

> To quote my article titled "Media strategy failure" (June 1, 2002),
> "If one can orchestrate a barrage of lies to the media long enough,
> it will eventually be broadcast to the world as the truth."

Rather touching, this, how the journalist feels compelled to quote himself. Does he truly believe that he came up with an original idea in the summer of 2002? Compare this quote attributed to Lenin, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth", and to the Big Lie propaganda technique attributed to Hitler.

> There could be individual Taliban sympathisers in the ranks
> of Pakistan's intelligence agencies and other official circles,
> but to say that Pakistan provides concerted institutional support
> as claimed in the report is nonsense. It demeans not only the
> blood that our soldiers have shed fighting the Taliban but that
> of our innocent civilians also.

This is a common propaganda technique, "It is not comfortable, and lacks taste; therefore, it cannot be true".

The writer dismisses claims by a certain source, and reinforces claims made by another source, without himself providing any third source to support his thesis.

The article does not lack in banality either, as evinced by:

> any study based on views and observations of one party,
> in what is primarily a two-sided affair, cannot be said
> to be truly balanced.

And now for some more crude propaganda:

> Was the omission in not getting any input from Pakistanis
> deliberate? Waldman's close links with the Afghan intelligence,
> staffed for the most part by Tajiks and trained by India's RAW,
> give credence to this fact.

The writer starts with asking a question (this is certainly part of a journalist's brief), suggesting that something is a possibility. In the very next sentence, the writer refers to a "fact", suggesting that the very same thing is now (suddenly) accepted fact.

The petty racism (staffed for the most part by Tajiks) we shall overlook.

> Are we to believe that Pakistan's army chief
> has given his approval for the Taliban to attack,
> kill and kidnap Pakistani soldiers?

Another touching appeal to sentiment (surely an aspiring journalist should be taught the rules of debate, the basic aspects of rhetoric, apart from a command of the language?). This is especially indefensible, given that the Pakistani army has, in the past, moved against Pakistani citizens (Bangladesh, 1971; not to mention the regular coups against elected governments).

> What has been achieved through the blood of our martyrs
> certainly did not need any great PR effort.

Here the writer loses all pretence at keeping a critical distance from his subject. Martyrs? The dictionary entries do not fit the context; this must be some sort of appeal to religion or petty patriotism.

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