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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 22 Summary/Discussion The study analyzed the U.S. newsmagazines’ framing of the role of Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf from September 11, 2001, to the end of February 2002. The U.S. newsmagazines framed Musharraf as a “strong Western ally.” The four thematic points that the U.S. newsmagazines constructed in order to “fix” the frame of Musharraf may be attributed to two major determinants: the overall frame of the West versus Islam that is often used in the Western media when covering Islamic countries and the political stance of the U.S. government toward Pakistan after the September 11 attacks. Both of these two determinants can be traced in the first thematic point that portrayed Musharraf’s regime as a “mild dictatorship” that performs a lot of functions of a true democracy. Titles such as “military ruler” or “general” were used instead of the more negative, yet accurate term “dictator.” The newsmagazines emphasized the importance of those Musharraf’s political moves that yielded to the U.S. interest in the region, while the issues of human rights in Pakistan were completely omitted from the frame. Dictatorship was presented as a normal and even desirable state for a chaotic country such as Pakistan. Unstated yet understood was the notion that at a time of crisis, such as the War on Terror, the partnership with Pakistan was an indispensable solution, although it clearly contradicted the rhetoric division of the democratic versus the undemocratic regimes created in the speeches of the U.S. President George Bush. These findings are compatible with the earlier research on the U.S. media coverage of the “friendly” undemocratic regimes during the Cold War era, as explained in the works of Herman and Chomsky (1988) and Parenti (1993.)

Authors: Obad, Orlanda.
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Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani
President Musharraf After 9/11
22
Summary/Discussion
The study analyzed the U.S. newsmagazines’ framing of the role of Pakistani
leader Pervez Musharraf from September 11, 2001, to the end of February 2002. The
U.S. newsmagazines framed Musharraf as a “strong Western ally.” The four thematic
points that the U.S. newsmagazines constructed in order to “fix” the frame of Musharraf
may be attributed to two major determinants: the overall frame of the West versus Islam
that is often used in the Western media when covering Islamic countries and the political
stance of the U.S. government toward Pakistan after the September 11 attacks.
Both of these two determinants can be traced in the first thematic point that
portrayed Musharraf’s regime as a “mild dictatorship” that performs a lot of functions of
a true democracy. Titles such as “military ruler” or “general” were used instead of the
more negative, yet accurate term “dictator.” The newsmagazines emphasized the
importance of those Musharraf’s political moves that yielded to the U.S. interest in the
region, while the issues of human rights in Pakistan were completely omitted from the
frame. Dictatorship was presented as a normal and even desirable state for a chaotic
country such as Pakistan.
Unstated yet understood was the notion that at a time of crisis, such as the War on
Terror, the partnership with Pakistan was an indispensable solution, although it clearly
contradicted the rhetoric division of the democratic versus the undemocratic regimes
created in the speeches of the U.S. President George Bush. These findings are compatible
with the earlier research on the U.S. media coverage of the “friendly” undemocratic
regimes during the Cold War era, as explained in the works of Herman and Chomsky
(1988) and Parenti (1993.)


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