The News sinks to a new low with report on Zardari's nationality

Jun 14th, 2010 | By | Category: The News

The News has sunk to a new low in yellow journalism today by publishing an article that titled, ‘Website declares Zardari US citizen.’ Rather than conduct any actual research, The News appears to have simply repeated a rumour. Based on the content of the article, one has to wonder if the author, Azim M Mian, even looked at the website in question.

For the record, below is a screenshot of the profile of Asif Ali Zardari on the website in question, “Notable Names Database,” taken on 14 June 2010.

Screnshot from website

Screnshot from website

It very clearly says that Asif Ali Zardari nationality is Pakistan. Even if it said something else when Azim M Mian first saw the website, why would he believe it without investigating? Also it raises the question of who sent this website link to the reporter and what was their motive?

The individual who sent Mr Azim the link could have been a political operative who submitted a change to the website (anyone can email in a change to someone’s profile) and then sent the link to the reporter thinking that he is so foolish that he will accept it as fact without doing any actual investigating. Mr Azim should reveal who his source was so that it can be known.

But compare what the website actually says to how Azim M Mian reported the information in The News. He wrote:

A well-known US website, which contains the record of 36,000 prominent figures of the world, has declared President Asif Ali Zardari a US citizen, and said that he suffers from depression and is a diabetes patient.

First, one must ask why the reporter calls this a ‘well known US website.’ What is his reason for saying it is well known? The ‘Notable Names Database’is not a ‘well known US website’ like Facebook or Wikipedia, so if the reporter is going to claim that it is well-known, he should be able to provide some evidence to back it up. I checked how this website compares to actual well-known websites and look at what I found: compared to Facebook and WikipediaObviously, this is not a ‘well-known’ website by the usual definition. So why did Azim M Mian write this?

Second, the article does not say that Zardari “suffers from depression and is a diabetes patient.” Both of these are misleading to the point of being outright lies. What the website claims is that Zardari has ‘Risk Factors’ for depression and diabetes. But even this claim is supported by absolutely no evidence.

This brings me to the reliability of the website on which Azim M Mian bases his entire report. He says, “The website says it collects such information about famous personalities through general sources, besides its own intelligence and other sources that are not known to the common man.”

The reporter’s claim is ridiculous. The profile of Asif Ali Zardari includes a bibliography of sources that include three sources of information. One is Wikipedia, the other is a website called “Public Information Research Namebase” which is only a blank page with a few links to other news stories. The third is the “Notable Names Database” itself! Looking at the website, it is laughable to know that someone to be so foolish as to believe that this website has “sources that are not known to the common man.” Does Azim M Mian believe anything that is written on the Internet?

Actually, there is no evidence for anything posted on this website’s profile of Asif Ali Zardari, and the reporter appears to have done absolutely no actual investigating of his own. Rather, it appears that this was a blatant attempt to use the media to smear a political office holder with complete disregard for the truth.

Azim M Mian goes on completely recklessly to imply that the Zardari could have taken an oath to “keeping US oath and interests supreme to all other loyalties and oaths.” Not only does the reporter fail to do any actual research to confirm a very public piece of information as a person’s nationality, but he then goes on to make libelous insinuations that the person is possibly not loyal to his country. This is a new low for The News, which should be ashamed.

This is a shameful example of failure on the part of both a reporter and the editorial staff who never should have let such a poor example of yellow journalism as this see the light of day. It does not matter that it is Zardari or someone else who is the target of such irresponsible and incompetent acts. The News and Mr Azim M Mian owe a public apology to their readers and to Asif Ali Zardari for such a failure. In the meantime, they may want to speak to a lawyer about their exposure to a legal case for libel. Truly shameful.

UPDATE: There is a website that says the White House in the US for sale! I wonder if Azim M Mian is going to try to buy it. Perhaps The News will publish an article about how Barack Obama is selling the White House. Because, of course, if it is on the Internet, The News thinks it must be true!

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  1. Immediately after reading Daily Jang online today, I check Zardari’s profile on NNDB and it clearly said Nationality: United States.

    Now after a few hours this information is changed to “Pakistan”. I took snapshot of the info provided by this website earlier.

    See this snapshot of earlier info on NNDB

  2. For your information thiss Alexa rating for this website is very good if you compare it with very much visited social networking website like facebook and encyclopedia like wikipedia.

  3. You d**kheads will never approve such comments …look at your own rating of website..and get a life.

  4. Jawad, do you talk to your mother with that sort of language? How embarrassing for her. Grow up, please.

  5. Read an interesting article in this regard.

    Jang doesn’t even spare Islam to get some quick political benefits. Heretic [Zindeeq] shamelessly passing satire on Islam and Allah and praising Satan’s disobedience just to score some point against Zardari. Have you even read what the author is trying top convey.
    Satan had defied Allah when he was ordered to prostrate before Adam [PBUH] and Jang Group [often Aamir Liaquat lecture everybody on Islam]’s columnist comparing it with present day politicians.

  6. Credibility of Jang Group: Hamid Mir/Jang Group’s Mess & Credibility of JANG/GEO TV.

  7. Credibility of Jang Group Journalists: A minor glimpse! Dr Shahid Masood joins ARY Network Updated:Thursday June 3, 2010 8:48:25 PM

  8. If the news is Correct then what’s this? Jang Group VS Dr. Shahid Masood & ARY ONE World.

  9. pakistani esatblishment have adopted since long time earliar , a policy of target killing of the political leaders starting from Liaqat to Benazir. This compaign is a continuation of the same , against president zardari but now target killng of his image if not his person directly, so far.

  10. […] Azim Mian has a chequered history of ridiculous smears leveled against the president including an article of June 2010 that tried to claim a ‘well-known’ website listed Asif Zardari as a US Citizen. The […]

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