Husain Haqqani on the Daily Show
Full disclosure: I know Husain and his wife Farah, who is a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, quite well. Farah is my former colleague. When Farah first introduced me to Husain he was teaching at Boston University, a respected author and regular on the anti-Musharraf lecture circuit.
Having said that, I’m not here to do PR for Husain, the embassy or the government of Pakistan. They have an extensive network of lobbyists and spindoctors who are handsomely compensated to do just that.
Pakistan is in trouble, but it’s necessary to analyze the situation intelligently. I’ve pretty much given up on getting news from American, Indian and Urdu television outlets. With very few exceptions, the American press has fallen into the trap of endlessly flogging the exciting “24″ plotline “the-Taliban-are-going-to-seize-the-nukes”, rather than focusing on the seriousness of what’s happening on the ground in the here-and-now and, just maybe, questioning how likely it is that the Taliban actually could get ahold of the nukes. Urdu TV is embarrassing, rife with defensive hosts and guests, rampant denial, conspiracy mongering and shifty-eyed paranoia. Indian TV (both English and Hindi), when not blathering on endlessly about cricket and the latest Bollywood news, treats news from Pakistan like a made-for-TV drama, featuring television packages with sinister music, biased and grossly inaccurate “reporting”, and a healthy dose of schadenfreude mixed with, yes, conspiracy mongering (one anchor speculated that the aid President Zardari was requesting was earmarked by Pakistan and the United States to attack India). So nobody wins here.
It’s a damn shame that a show meant to be a spoof is the program where the host has actually done some reading and preparation beforehand.