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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 23 The second thematic point portrayed Musharraf as a leader whose personal experience somewhat pertains to the Western culture. His pets, his mother’s education and even his clothes became the metaphors of his underlying “Westernness.” While the economic and political benefits, such as financial aid, debt relief and improved international status, were often repeated as rational causes of Musharraf’s support to the United States, the allusions to his “Westernness” appeared sporadically, but consistently. This thematic could be contextualized within an overall West versus Islam frame, as explained in the works of Said (1997) and Karim (1999). When opposed to the “Islamic” characteristics of the “militants” and “fundamentalists,” Musharraf’s pro- Western features made him different from his “dangerous” and “militant” Islamic surrounding, less “alien” to the Western culture and, eventually, more acceptable as a dictatorial ally of the United States. The third thematic point constructed the “Islamic fundamentalists” in a canonic way that is often present in the Western media coverage of Muslim countries. The protesters against Musharraf’s partnership with the United States were portrayed in a depersonalized manner, as an “angry Muslim mob.” The descriptions of their “rifle- wielding,” “opium-high,” irrational behavior reinforced their “otherness.” The U.S. newsmagazines offered only one explanation for protests of the Pakistanis against the partnership between Pakistan and the United States: they were “Islamic fundamentalists.” This theme confirmed the existence of the West versus Islam frame, which, according to the works of Said (1997) and Karim (1999,) replaced the Cold War frame in the Western media. The stereotypical portrayals of Islam performed two functions. They emphasized the difference between Islam and the West and widened the gap between the

Authors: Obad, Orlanda.
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background image
Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani
President Musharraf After 9/11
23
The second thematic point portrayed Musharraf as a leader whose personal
experience somewhat pertains to the Western culture. His pets, his mother’s education
and even his clothes became the metaphors of his underlying “Westernness.” While the
economic and political benefits, such as financial aid, debt relief and improved
international status, were often repeated as rational causes of Musharraf’s support to the
United States, the allusions to his “Westernness” appeared sporadically, but consistently.
This thematic could be contextualized within an overall West versus Islam frame,
as explained in the works of Said (1997) and Karim (1999). When opposed to the
“Islamic” characteristics of the “militants” and “fundamentalists,” Musharraf’s pro-
Western features made him different from his “dangerous” and “militant” Islamic
surrounding, less “alien” to the Western culture and, eventually, more acceptable as a
dictatorial ally of the United States.
The third thematic point constructed the “Islamic fundamentalists” in a canonic
way that is often present in the Western media coverage of Muslim countries. The
protesters against Musharraf’s partnership with the United States were portrayed in a
depersonalized manner, as an “angry Muslim mob.” The descriptions of their “rifle-
wielding,” “opium-high,” irrational behavior reinforced their “otherness.” The U.S.
newsmagazines offered only one explanation for protests of the Pakistanis against the
partnership between Pakistan and the United States: they were “Islamic fundamentalists.”
This theme confirmed the existence of the West versus Islam frame, which,
according to the works of Said (1997) and Karim (1999,) replaced the Cold War frame in
the Western media. The stereotypical portrayals of Islam performed two functions. They
emphasized the difference between Islam and the West and widened the gap between the


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