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Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani President Musharraf After 9/11
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani President Musharraf After 9/11 14 because nothing in it can escape those influences – from headlines and pictures to the commentaries. In the first phase, four framing devices, as defined by Gamson and Modigliani (1989), were noted on “analytic sheets:” (1) metaphors, (2) exemplars (historic examples used to explain a present example,) (3) catchphrases and (4) depictions. This phase of research produced almost 20 thematic points. In the second phase of research, these thematic points merged into four overarching themes that fulfilled the four functions of framing. Findings Over the first five and a half months of U.S. newsmagazines’ coverage Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was framed as a “strong ally” – a reliable leader who, by deciding to support the United States, took the “right,” Western side. This overall frame was reinforced by four major thematic points that together perform the four functions of a frame, as defined by Entman (1993). The first point constructs Musharraf as a positive dictator, a closet liberal whose rule has a lot of characteristics of a true democracy. The second theme emphasizes those personal and biographical facts about Musharraf that reinforce the image of a modern, “civilized” pro-Western leader. The third thematic point portrays the “Islamic fundamentalists” in an orthodox, canonical way that fits within the broad frame of the West versus Islam. This theme contrasts the “irrationality” and “exoticness” of “Islamic fundamentalists” with the “reasonable” and “pro-Western” stance of the Pakistani president. The fourth thematic point suggests that the present unstable situation in Pakistan demands that Musharraf should stay in power.

Authors: Obad, Orlanda.
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background image
Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani
President Musharraf After 9/11
14
because nothing in it can escape those influences – from headlines and pictures to the
commentaries.
In the first phase, four framing devices, as defined by Gamson and Modigliani
(1989), were noted on “analytic sheets:” (1) metaphors, (2) exemplars (historic examples
used to explain a present example,) (3) catchphrases and (4) depictions. This phase of
research produced almost 20 thematic points. In the second phase of research, these
thematic points merged into four overarching themes that fulfilled the four functions of
framing.
Findings
Over the first five and a half months of U.S. newsmagazines’ coverage Pakistani
President Pervez Musharraf was framed as a “strong ally” – a reliable leader who, by
deciding to support the United States, took the “right,” Western side. This overall frame
was reinforced by four major thematic points that together perform the four functions of a
frame, as defined by Entman (1993).
The first point constructs Musharraf as a positive dictator, a closet liberal whose
rule has a lot of characteristics of a true democracy. The second theme emphasizes those
personal and biographical facts about Musharraf that reinforce the image of a modern,
“civilized” pro-Western leader. The third thematic point portrays the “Islamic
fundamentalists” in an orthodox, canonical way that fits within the broad frame of the
West versus Islam. This theme contrasts the “irrationality” and “exoticness” of “Islamic
fundamentalists” with the “reasonable” and “pro-Western” stance of the Pakistani
president. The fourth thematic point suggests that the present unstable situation in
Pakistan demands that Musharraf should stay in power.


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