Two Tales of One Story

Jun 16th, 2012 | By | Category: Dawn, The Nation, The News

vase or faces?It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Is the image to the right a picture of a vase? Or is it two faces looking at each other? There are many things that two people may see differently depending on their own expectations and biases, and news stories are the same. Sometimes, the same story will be reported in very different ways depending on who is doing the reporting. A prime example could be seen earlier this week when different media groups reported the same event – a hearing in the US Congress – but in very different ways.

On Wednesday, the US Congress held a hearing during which relations with Pakistan were discussed. Your perception of this hearing – and possibly of America itself – may be coloured by where you get your news. If you read The Nation, you would see a front page story about ‘conditions for aid to Pakistan‘.

Readers of The News would have seen a similar front page story. But readers of Dawn might have a different view of what went on in the hearings. The front page of that newspaper carried the story that a key US Senator urged the White House to apologize to Pakistan.

Which report is right? Actually, both. Just as different officials in Pakistan government have different views on relations with America and debate these views in parliament, different officials in American government have different views on relations with Pakistan and these are debated in their Congress also. None of the reports mentioned are factually wrong, but it is not hard to see how readers of Dawn might take a softer view of America than readers of The Nation based on the headlines they see. Some would argue that readers of The Nation are predisposed to take a harder stance towards America even before they have read these headlines, which then raises a different question: Are the media groups only telling what their readers want to hear? Such practices will only harden existing views and divisions within the society as people can’t understand why someone does not see things the same way.

Whatever your personal opinions, and wherever your are getting your information – check out other sources. You  may discover that you haven’t been getting the whole story.

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