Pakistan's Super Anchors

By Bilal Qureshi

                         با دوستان هایی از این دشمنان ما نیاز ندارد.

The meeting between Pakistan’s ‘super anchors’ and Hillary Clinton was, well, disastrous, not for America or Clinton, but for these talk show hosts.

Hillary was calm, controlled, measured and she answered all sorts of questions thoroughly and intelligently.

And unlike most of the panel, she was gracious, too.

First of all, Clinton should never have met these nut jobs in the first place. And if it was absolutely necessary to have a meeting, than, senior, sober, seasoned and established journalists should have been on the panel, i.e. Najam Sethi, Ijaz Ahmed (Daily Times) Ayesha Alam (Dawn TV) Beena Sarwar, and Ghazi Salahuddin etc for an interview that would have been substantive and mutually beneficial

But, what we witnessed was a text book case of ideologues disguised as journalists trying to defame and attack their subject instead of engaging her in an intellectual exercise, otherwise known as an interview. Too bad for these buffoons, Hillary come out of the interview with her sanity and her reputation intact, and these ‘anchors’ emerged as what we suspected them to be all along – clowns.

Journalism is one of the most sacred and respected profession in the world. But in Pakistan, especially the electronic journalism has sunk to a low never before imagined or witnessed anywhere in the world. What we have in Pakistan is, for the most part, Taliban apologists and Osama admirers working to scare people in submission. That is, people of Pakistan must follow the advice and the argument made by these anchors on TV instead of using their own judgment. These so-called anchors want Islamic power (whatever that means) to come together, ideally in Pakistan (because Pakistan HAS THE BOMB) and lead a jihad in which India, America and Israel are defeated and Muslims run the world with their headquarter in Turkey, just like the good old days! Isn’t that simple?

Of course not being able to ask anything important, significant or even intelligent during an interview is not a crime. And, sadly, people in Pakistan are used to not been able to hear anything positive or constructive when they turn on their television. The men and the women who occupy anchor chairs in Pakistan these days have really lowered the bar on what is acceptable.

Nonetheless, when these anchors preach day after day that they have all the answers and America is the enemy and then, these super anchors are given an opportunity that is the mother of all opportunities – interview America’s Foreign Minister, Hillary Clinton, the public does have the right to expect a superb show, and the country does expect to find answers to the all the problem that these super anchors raise day after day, night after night on their shows. Also important to remember, especially for these anchors is  that failure on this occasion is not even option – these super anchors must step up to the plate. And that is precisely why when Hillary sat in front of Pakistan’s super anchors; everyone in Pakistan expected it to be a showdown that these super anchors have been begging for and preparing for a long time. But as expected, these super anchors tanked and tanked big time.

Wow, talk about humiliation and embarrassment. 

Pakistanis finally got a chance to see that these people know nothing, they are wrong about everything, and all their claims about pretty much anything they discuss can’t be taken seriously.  These people, the super anchors had Clinton, alone, in front of them, cornered and they had the awesome opportunity to openly and publicly confront Clinton (because Zardari and Gillani are not capable of doing it, of course). So, did these super anchors confront Clinton? Of course not. Did these people ask her anything that merits a serious answer? No, not a single word that was worth her time. But forget that, they couldn’t even get her to admit that Drone attacks are wrong or they would be stopped. Clinton did say to these people that if you don’t want our money, i.e. Kerry Lugar, please, by all means, don’t, Pakistan doesn’t have to take the money if it hurts Pakistan’s ego. This as for as I know is called a slap in the face, and it was well deserved by these super anchors.  Also worth mentioning is the much talked about issue of one of the anchors failed attempt to exaggerate the amount of money that a former Soviet State charges the United States. And he didn’t exaggerate this number by 10/20 percent – he went for the kill, and he exaggerated the number from $50 million to like $500 billion or something similar, but this is why it is critical to be accurate. Hillary stopped him, rather amusingly that the money that the United States pays is not $500 billion, but $50 million a year. Aha, this is what you’d call a slap in the face, métaphoriquement parlant!

So, if you look at it, it was not an interview. There were hardly any questions, but long speeches and incorrect analysis by the anchors and Clinton sat there, enjoying herself. It reminded me of a conversation with an Indian businessman I had while flying to DC from Qatar recently. He said, “we don’t have to do anything to hurt or harm Pakistan because Pakistanis are doing a great of job of destroying their own country.” Sadly, after watching the Hillary’s interview with Pakistan’s super anchors, I instantly understood what he meant.

With friends like these anchors, Pakistan doesn’t need enemies.

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