Adam N Weinstein Profile picture
Research Fellow focusing on transitional justice, trade, Afghanistan, & Pakistan. Afghanistan Vet. KPMG & USMC alum. Bylines in @ForeignPolicy @Lawfare, etc.

Jul 27, 2018, 9 tweets

1. The condescension & lack of depth of US coverage of #ElectionsPakistan2018 w/ clickbait headlines & Tom Friedmanesque "playboy turned extremist" ledes is unfortunate. The issue isn't criticism of IK but the shallowness of the examination of #Pakistan. We can do better.

2. The WaPo Editorial Board's "#Pakistan’s likely next leader is a Taliban sympathizer" raises some valid concerns about Imran Khan's record. But it glosses over the PMLN's own past & at times verges on an outright defense of Sharif. It then cherrypicks IK's platform.

3. NYT's social media team couldn't resist the juxtaposition of sex symbol, Islamic Republic, & nukes. The writers opened w/ "Is Imran Khan, a legendary cricket player and international sex symbol, about to become the leader of #Pakistan, an Islamic republic with nuclear weapons?

4. Many articles did present as much nuance as possible in 800 words. Reputable Pakistani analysts, journalists, & academics were interviewed. Yet one can't help but question the sample when the opinions were so similar in a country as politically divided as #Pakistan?

5. This is a pattern in US coverage of #Pakistan. Consider the 2011 article 'The Ally From Hell': "Pakistan would be an obvious place for a jihadist organization to seek a nuclear weapon or fissile material: it is the only Muslim-majority state, out of the 50 or so in the world."

6. Articles like 'The Ally From Hell' that warn us of nuclear Armageddon cite the extremists in the #Pakistan Army but rarely distinguish between conservative Muslims, pro-state Islamists, & anti-state extremists. Why? Because their authors are casual observers of Pakistan!

7. Consider this diagram from CNN which is supposed to portray a van in #Pakistan being used to transport nuclear weapons and their components. Thankfully, we now know what the inside of a van looks like. Raise the standards of reporting on the Middle East & South Asia...

8. Sources. Too many US articles on #Pakistan rely on Twitter (I realize the irony), cloudy memories of Ahmed Rashid books (great author), & interviews of the same 20 Pakistanis ad nauseam. It isn't enough to include Pakistani voices if they don't reflect Pakistan's diversity.

9. There's great journalism coming out of Pakistan & the Herald offers great longer-form pieces. WaPo's Monkey Cage offers readers nuanced articles written by academics who study #Pakistan. These are the kinds of pieces that should be promoted. Other outlets should emulate them.

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