NYTimes Censors Pakistan By-Elections

NYTimes Censor Pakistan by-elections

For all their shortcomings, NYTimes’ reporting is generally accurate to the best of their knowledge, though, Op-Eds are a different story.

The way NYTimes functions in the propaganda network is by choosing what not to report. But leaving out importing news is not enough, the important news must be buried under useless trivialities.

This is what Bertram Gross called ‘information overload’ in his book ‘The Managing of Organisations’. The term refers to the difficulty we face when making an informed decision due to the abundance of information available.

Nature of Reporting on Pakistani General Elections

Pakistan held general elections in July that led Imran Khan to form a third successive civilian government for the first time in nation’s history. Leading up to the elections was a corruption trial against one of Khan’s rivals, Nawaz Sharif. Just weeks before the elections, Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Polls conducted weeks before the general elections showed Khan closing up on Sharif’s party. Among the youth, Khan was far ahead of everyone else. With indications that Khan might clinch the victory, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post among many other publications ran Op-Eds from critics of Khan.

In nearly each of those Op-Eds, the writers said that the military was in cahoots with Khan without citing any evidence.

Even the Editorial board at the New York Times expressed concern about the undermining of democracy in Pakistan. Unsurprisingly, the same intensity to protect the sanctity of Pakistani elections was missing in 2013, when Sharif won a 2/3rd majority in the Parliament.

Pakistani By-elections

Less than three months after the general elections of 2018, by-elections were held in Pakistan. Khan’s government during its’ first 2 months has come under fire due to ceasing subsidies for the public’s electric and gas bills. There was a general feeling as expressed in local surveys that Khan’s party wouldn’t carry the momentum of general elections into the by-elections.

There was only one another alternative for Pakistani voters; Khan’s chief rival Sharif. Although the Supreme Court barred him from contesting a public office, he is still the de facto party leader. So it was inevitable that any political damage to Khan would help him, which it did.

Rather than just perform well, Sharif’s party got better results than most expected. It outperformed Khan’s PTI in the Provincial Assembly of Punjab and matched their 4 Parliamentary seat gains with 4 of their own.

This ran contrary to the historical election precedents in Pakistan when the sitting government won most of the contested seats. It was the first time when a sitting government had won fewer seats than the opposition in by-elections.

So naturally, the New York Times wouldn’t report the news. The by-elections took place on Sunday, it’s Tuesday today. They did not report it in their Monday print edition or the Tuesday’s.

The obvious reason for the censorship is that by-elections shred NYT’s narrative of Khan and the military being in cahoots. Since as reason dictates, if Khan as an opposition had enough power to use the military to win a general election, he would have even greater power to use the military to sweep the by-elections as the Prime Minister.

As is the culture in Pakistani politics, the losing parties always allege rigging even in the absence of evidence. Even though election monitors concluded that Pakistani general elections of 2018 were free and fair, to address the concerns of his opposition, Khan has set up a Parliamentary committee of 30 members, 15 from Government benches and 15 from the opposition to investigate the claims of rigging.

This is not a defense or endorsement of Imran Khan. I don’t like his energy policy, it doesn’t address the rampant use of fossil fuels in Pakistan. I don’t like his banking policies that foster the use of non-banking channels in a country already rife with corruption and illicit practices. I hate with passion his education policy that could rise theological fundamentalism in a nation still reeling from extremist attacks of the past.

The main theme of this post is to highlight the unscrupulous nature of NYTimes when it comes to building a narrative about a foreign issue and concealing vital information that could change the way Americans think about it.

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