More Media Moronity

1 Nov

A few days ago the Pakistani blogosphere was up in arms about the article written by Talat Hussain in the Urdu paper The Daily Express. Another article, equally moronic, though less vitriolic and lewd in its language but equally inane, misguided and misleading in its discourse is one written by Javed Chaudhry for the same publication. The article was written in Urdu and later translated for the English language publication of the Express. And this was a case of a journalist, misleading his readers and deliberately feuling hatred for the West by twisting mundane facts and making due process sound like a violation of his fundamental rights.

Mr. Javed Chaudhry recently traveled to the US to cover the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue where he was “humiliated.” When I read the title, I felt maybe JC had been subjected to a strip search, maybe someone had abused him or maybe someone had wrestled him to the floor or maybe he had been booted off a flight for appearing threatening to other passengers. But that was not the case. Instead, humiliation in JC’ book consists of being treated like all the other passengers and not being given the celebrity status that he obviously deserves for being an orchestrator of political drama  He had been made to wait in line for half an hour to get to the immigration officer (How dare they make this Pakistani Media celebrity wait in line like a mere mortal!) And then he was asked a most offensive question….”What is the purpose of your visit!?” How dare the authorities not know the purpose of his visit!!? Do they not recognize who he is? Why did they ask him the one question reserved for all common entrants into the United States? That clearly is humiliation!

Mr. Chaudhry was made to go through what everyone is made to go through who enters the United States. Yet he believes this was some kind of dire humiliation heaped on him due to the color of his passport.

First of all – lines at major US airports are always long. Especially engineered herds of human like androids were NOT placed before JC in line to make him wait longer and humiliate him.

Secondly, questions like, purpose of visit – are standard procedure whenever entering a country that you are not a citizen of. These are not questions especially designed to humiliate holders of the green passport. This particular question has been in place long before 9/11 and has been asked with unfailing frequency of all foreigners entering the united states. Proof of your stay and host are also common questions asked of all visitors entering a country. This is standard procedure not special discrimination. It’s just that Pakistani celebrities, are not used to being subjected to standard procedure since they are anything but common or standard! (The chubbiness of Hamid Mir’s Cheeks or the magnetism of Talat Hussain’s mojo are anything but common!)

That said; the immigration policies and the visa regime of the US government are anything but kind to Pakistanis. But then can you blame them when the majority of terrorists and would-be terrorists seem to have some kind of link to Pakistan? The law of numbers would make anyone suspicious of a country producing so many of them and it would only make sense to screen citizens of that country with extra rigour? But these matters of logic are of little concern to us. And while we, and people like JC are constantly screaming for our government to show some more backbone and protect its sovereignty and integrity and territory – we are not ok with other countries doing it for themselves.

Could that be hypocrisy?

But who cares! Let the reader of the Urdu papers – who on average does not have the same amount of exposure as the readers of the English language press – be exposed to this one-sided view of the world. Let the poor reader remain in darkness about standard immigration practices and let’s build up the american immigration system to be designed to humiliate Pakistanis – because hating on America is popular and that sells – and all we want is sales – who cares about trivial and unexciting things like objectivity?  Not JC and not the Express!

The media becoming an unabashed commercial enterprise in Pakistan is problematic because it means that media persons are out to get ratings and are willing to go to all extremes to get them – including publishing biased, uncorroborated and hypocritical pieces as fact. Currently, Express – the newest addition to the media landscape seems to be leading the pack in publishing really questionable material. And while ratings this might make – good journalism or responsible citizenship – it does not!

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6 Responses to “More Media Moronity”

  1. aftab November 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    Cool:)

  2. Jalal HB November 2, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    I think it is the mindset. Anyone who is somebody in Pakistan always wants him to stand taller than the rest and be respected. Well in one’s own country it may be possible, but not outside. And we already know what treatment is meted out to visitors from Pakistan in foreign lands, so we should be better prepared for it. And ordinary procedures should not be taken as humiliation. Unfortunately, the newly freed mediamen in Pakistan consider them above everything.
    I agree with the writer.

  3. Fatima November 5, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    wow,grreat article… i want more details!

  4. Mackers November 7, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    Sehar, Beautiful template. Now stick to it

  5. abdul Majid November 9, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    May be we should try equal treatment in our own country too, no celebrities,vips,vvips or vvvips

  6. Khabardar December 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Media give us both edge.. However people can recognize the reality…

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