The Nation's Response to Shahbaz Sharif Is Bizarre

Mar 17th, 2010 | By | Category: The Nation

One can often tell much about a media group not only by how they approach broadly reported topics. Take, for example, the recent case of Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif’s statements about TTP ‘sparing’ Punjab. The way that The Nation responded to Shahbaz Sharif’s controversial statements was completely bizarre, and speaks volumes about the newspaper’s editorial staff.

Many  media organizations have reported on the various developments – from Shahbaz’s original statements, to his dressing down by Gen. Kiyani, to his complaints that he was misinterpreted – with some attempt at being neutral and trying to get the facts for their readers.

The Nation, on the other hand, took a completely different, and somewhat bizarre, approach. Shahbaz Sharif made some controversial statements about Punjab and Taliban, and Shireen Mazari and her crew wrote that it was about…America?

Most bizarrely, however, is The Nation‘s statement that, “As a leader of national standing, he should have known that the entire country thinks on the same line and should be safe from the curse.” What does the entire country agree with? That we are tired of terrorism and the Taliban attacks, surely. But this is not the controversial part of the Punjab Chief Minister’s statement.

Even the right-wing newspaper The News (Jang) has published an editorial saying that Shahbaz Sharif spoke “thoughtlessly and insensitively,” but going on to ask the country to take it as a lesson for building unity. In this way, The News was able to balance their political ideology with a constructive message.

But for The Nation to suggest that the entire country agrees with Shahbaz Sharif is very, very strange.

As a contrast, the next day, statements by Interior Minister Rehman Malik about the recovery of a Pakistani ID card from the possession of Abdolmalik Rigi were called by The Nation, Verbal Recklessness.” Obviously The Nation will not write something positive or forgiving about Rehman Malik, and nor do they need to. But it is instructive to see how differently these two events are described by the same newspaper.

Shahbaz Sharif has complained that media are twisting his words. But the biggest twisting has to be from The Nation who, despite being sympathetic to the Punjab Chief Minister, twisted his words in a way that befuddles any amount of logic. The response by The Nation was bizarre, but in it’s strangeness it actually represents the newspaper’s ideology pretty well.

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