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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 18 and particularly his participation in several India-Pakistan border wars, were not mentioned in the articles. Similarly, his failed Kargil plan in 1999, which caused many casualties and ended in the international condemnation of Pakistan, was either omitted from the frame or portrayed as a “daring incursion” (Time, Jan. 14, The Poet and the Soldier). Following facts from Musharraf’s biography that depict him as a person pertaining to the Western cultural experience were also present: his studies in the United Kingdom, his fluency in English, his cricket games, and the fact that his mother is educated, while his younger brother lives in the United States. Islam as the ultimate source of evil Since the violent protests against Musharraf’s support to the United States began at the end of September 2001, the newsmagazines started dedicating more space to the coverage of “Islamic fundamentalism” in Pakistan. Islam was presented in an orthodox, canonical way: the label “Islamic” was used instead of any economic, historical or political explanation of the cause of crisis in the country. The West versus Islam frame that is often present in the Western media’s coverage of Islamic countries emphasized the difference between the “civilized” Musharraf and his “uncivilized” nation. All of the three newsmagazines contrasted the framing of Musharraf as a pro- Western leader, who is striving to pull the country out of the chaos, with the framing of “Islamic fundamentalists” as a “rifle-wielding,” “angry Muslim mob” in the streets that threatens the stability of the country. While the “Islamic fundamentalists” were constantly talked about, they were rarely quoted as sources. The few quotes from the Pakistani “fundamentalists” reveal them as pertaining to a deviant and violent culture

Authors: Obad, Orlanda.
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Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani
President Musharraf After 9/11
18
and particularly his participation in several India-Pakistan border wars, were not
mentioned in the articles. Similarly, his failed Kargil plan in 1999, which caused many
casualties and ended in the international condemnation of Pakistan, was either omitted
from the frame or portrayed as a “daring incursion” (Time, Jan. 14, The Poet and the
Soldier).
Following facts from Musharraf’s biography that depict him as a person
pertaining to the Western cultural experience were also present: his studies in the United
Kingdom, his fluency in English, his cricket games, and the fact that his mother is
educated, while his younger brother lives in the United States.
Islam as the ultimate source of evil
Since the violent protests against Musharraf’s support to the United States began
at the end of September 2001, the newsmagazines started dedicating more space to the
coverage of “Islamic fundamentalism” in Pakistan. Islam was presented in an orthodox,
canonical way: the label “Islamic” was used instead of any economic, historical or
political explanation of the cause of crisis in the country. The West versus Islam frame
that is often present in the Western media’s coverage of Islamic countries emphasized the
difference between the “civilized” Musharraf and his “uncivilized” nation.
All of the three newsmagazines contrasted the framing of Musharraf as a pro-
Western leader, who is striving to pull the country out of the chaos, with the framing of
“Islamic fundamentalists” as a “rifle-wielding,” “angry Muslim mob” in the streets that
threatens the stability of the country. While the “Islamic fundamentalists” were
constantly talked about, they were rarely quoted as sources. The few quotes from the
Pakistani “fundamentalists” reveal them as pertaining to a deviant and violent culture


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