US embassy in Islamabad losing battle to counter hate America Pak media campaign

      The US Embassy in Islamabad is having a tough time countering the continuous anti-American campaign being carried out by the Pakistani media. Embassy officials have been engaged in a herculean task of countering every major attack on US strategy in the country, as the Obama administration views Pakistan as a crucial partner in the fight against Islamist terrorism. In the past eight months, Embassy officials have described Pakistani media reports against the US' policies as "false and malicious". Officials said that nowhere else in the world U.S. policies face such disdain and misrepresentation, The Washington Post reports. "The United States, which is expanding its footprint here, often features as an all-powerful schemer, a depiction embassy officials complain is exacerbated when Pakistani journalists do not seek the American side of the story," the paper added. However, it is hard to determine whether the counter statements issued by the US embassy succeed in what they actually intend to do. Pakistani journalists also believe that the official embassy denials carry little weight. "Our government does not have a history of giving out information. If the U.S. pulls another Pakistan on the Pakistani media . . . it's only natural they would be hostile. The hostility stems from this space where secrecy is the norm," said media analyst Adnan Rehmat. Officials mainly concentrate on reports published in English dailies, but the market for English-language newspapers is small. Television, where 70 percent of Pakistanis get their news and anti-Western venom flows, is the biggest arbiter of public opinion, and the embassy rarely issues corrections about television reports, which are too numerous to monitor, the paper said. Rehmat pointed out that the embassy, instead of corrections, should focus on getting more American scholars, scientists, artists and athletes into Pakistan to mingle with journalists. "For us, America is either Obama or Bush, or it's 50 Cent and Michael Jackson.We're missing all the other amazing spectrum," he said. Huma Yusuf, a columnist for Dawn newspaper, highlighted that the generation of journalists, in their bid to earn publicity for them and their organisation, mint sensational stories, and its nothing better than lashing out the US in a country where only 8 percent of people have faith in President Obama's policies. "If you can take even the slightest thing and turn it into a story that proves the U.S. is the evil demon . . . it's going to sell papers," Yusuf added.

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