#BadNewsBears: A Media Fail List

Jul 2014

As the military assault on North Waziristan has stretched into weeks, Tanqeed has been analyzing the reporting with our Media Watch special. We’ve run across some excellent reporting, some of which we highlighted in our last analysis. The gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson once said, “I can’t think in terms of journalism without thinking in terms of political ends.” Much of the press today, unfortunately, hides its political ends in the guise of “objective” journalism. This is bad news bears for the future of the press, and it’s time those of us who care about our collective future, called out some of the the media fails.


1. Dawn

“The North Waziristan operation is being viewed as a blessing in disguise for vulnerable children who would now easily be administered polio….”

Yes, it’s a kind of a two-for-one deal.


Jun 27. 2014 – Children to get polio drops in Khyber, under army watch 


2. The News

“Contrary to the impression being created by militants’ spokesmen or their sympathisers that there will be a tit for tat response to Pak forces’ operation, the action launched after in-depth study of all aspects won’t lead to any failures or losses to peace-loving Pakistani people, sources close to defence circles told The News in quite an assuring manner.”

Either this writer is doing some deadpan parody, or this is literally the worst sample of propaganda ever written. Like when you go to propaganda class, the teacher hands this to you and says, “This is literally the worst sample of propaganda ever written.” Why? It’s the completely unbelievable phrases.

First rule of propaganda club: it has to believable. Second rule of propaganda club: it has to be believable. Third rule of propaganda club: don’t use “tit-for-tat”. That term died circa beginning of time.



Jun 18.2014 – Forces dispel misconceptions about operation


3. Express Tribune

The headline of this Jun 20th article is: Security plans: Govt yet to implement border checks as IDPs arrive

Shorter headline: “The Muslims are coming!”


4. New York Times

“But long before Al Qaeda and the Taliban found shelter in the forbidding mountains of the tribal region, Waziristan was a wellspring of guerrilla insurgency and resistance to whatever power had tried to bring it in line. The Pashtun tribes of Waziristan have never been truly conquered, and courting them as allies has almost always ended up backfiring on whoever has tried — ask the British, Pakistanis, Afghans and, for that matter, the Americans.”

Not even a trick question: Why do you think trying to ally with them whilst trying to occupy them might’ve backfired?

Jun 19. 2014 – A Long History of Rebellion in the Mountains of Pakistan 

Omg, please read Edward Said’s Orientalism, INSTANTLY. We, at TQ, are taking up a collection to buy you a copy. See below. In the meantime, you guys, here is a great blog to help you along.



Donate a $1. Help the New York Times get an education. Click on the collection jar to the right. There are thousands of New York Times reporters out there who haven’t had the basic chance to read Edward Said’s Orientalism. The moment we collect $11.17, the price of this classic work, we will mail a copy to the office. Help an NYT reporter become marginally more competent. There are hundreds of reporters in need. But, TQ Charitable Causes is on it. We’re holding up the other half of the sky. One reporter at a time.



5. The Telegraph

After years of pressure from the US, troops move into North Waziristan as part of an operation to clear al-Qaeda-linked outfits from along the border with Afghanistan

This is a neat little trick used by a lot of the press. Keep talking about how (devious) Pakistan has to be reined in by the (wise) US without once mentioning how the US has helped establish these Islamist groups, or how the US thwarts democratic rule in Pakistan, or how the US’ main ally in Pakistan, the army, is also busily killing farmers in Punjab while it kills Waziris in Waziristan — and presto! Empire disappears in a puff of seemingly banal sentences.

We suggest you read a little bit of history, (but not the one written by your colleagues at the New York Times).


Jun 15. 2014 – Pakistan’s army begins offensive against militants

It’s #BadNewsBears out there.

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