Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Agenda-Based Journalism

Let’s say that you are an editor at a major newspaper and have an agenda you’d like to push, an agenda that includes promoting the PML-N at the cost of every other party. If you are dedicated enough, you won’t let anything get in the way, not even the stories you are ostensibly supposed to edit.

So we get this headline from a story about the Punjab budget:
People welcome focus on social uplift
If you read the first friggin sentence of the story, you might get a slightly more nuanced approach.
Public has shown a mixed reaction over announcement of annual budget …
The other story on the budget actively seeks out the one constituency the PML-N has impressed:
Businessmen hail budget
But the Punjab wasn’t the only province to announce its budget. The NWFP, which isn’t governed by the PML-N was covered in a slightly different manner. Note that in the case of the Punjab, it wasn’t considered appropriate to quote what the opposition thought of the budget. The same rules don’t apply to the NWFP:
Opposition sees no respite for the poor
And the main story on the NWFP is simply titled ‘NWFP budget has no relief for the common man’, a headline that isn’t borne out by the piece in question:
Free books will be distributed to the government-run schools students from primary to secondary level; Rs200 monthly scholarship will be provided to each girl student from class 6th to 10th across the province, which was earlier limited to seven districts…Rs1b has been allocated for poverty alleviation under Chief Minster’s Program for Poverty Alleviation. However, spending mode was not specified. An insurance scheme was also announced for poor families of the province as well

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