The media never had a thing for the ruling party. Dominated by the urban middle and upper classes, the fourth estate isnt quite under the spell of the countrys largest voting persuasion. Part of this is the conservative, knee-jerk, jingoistic ideology of the hacks, part of it is plain and simple reporting of the not insignificant failings of the party. But when Senior Minister Punjab Raja Riaz turned up the heat by several notches, there were several other ways he could have done it. Calling a section of the media agents of India should have been off limits. Ironically, for a party that takes pride in fighting the establishment, one of its members has used the same tired, caricatured slur that the establishment considers the worst thing one can say about someone: an Indian agent.
Words like these are clearly red rags. And they were met with a matching response. The government cant find out the perpetrators of the Karachi target killings, quipped one anchor, but it has found a ring of Indian agents. To effectively fight the war of ideas, the government needs to improve its media management, play on the front foot and take a proactive, rather than reactive approach to the media; swearing and slurring an aggressive and effective media strategy does not make.
Not a good time for relations with the medias darling to be on the rocks either. The MQM has always been threatening to quit the coalition because of one thing or the other throughout the tenure of the current government but this time things are serious, now that Karachi violence finally doesnt seem to be domain of one party alone.
The above two are not welcome additions to the agenda items of the PPP core committees meeting, which is already splitting at the seams. Though the case about the possible denotification of the judges now seems to be a thing of the past, the one about the 18th amendment and, particularly, the NRO are still very much around. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.