Certain emails by Hilary Clinton suggest that Pakistani media is closely examined by the United States. On February 2010, Judith McHale, former US Undersecretary of State, emailed to Hilary Clinton saying,
I get these reports every morning. They are somewhat painful to read since, as you know, in Pakistan, the media can be particularly outrageous. However, we can’t ignore the fact that these talk shows are the most watched programming.
It would appear that a certain team goes through certain talk shows that aired on Pakistani media, and a report is then sent to the authorities detailing the content.
Authorities in Pakistan have always been aware of the fact that exhaustive details on daily primetime talk shows in Pakistani media were compiled and then sent to US embassy employees and State Department officials in Washington. According to Michael Kugelman from the Woodrow Wilson Centre, US placed so much importance on the Pakistani media that the embassy in Islamabad started issuing official statements that were meant to correct the record if any false or misleading claims were made regarding Washington and its policies. He said,
It’s an initiative that didn’t last long – and at any rate I’m not sure how effective it was given that many Pakistanis, including those most likely to believe the media assertions that the US was trying to reject, probably were not aware of these US counter-statements.
As per a former embassy official, Pakistani media is so keenly observed to pick up hints on anything that may be against the interests of the United States or otherwise to understand what is going on within the country. It would also help the authorities to rank individuals in terms of importance which would come in handy while investigating a terrorism case, or otherwise handling a negotiation. The former embassy official state,
This helps the officials understand who should be given importance and who should be ignored. There are certain columnists or hosts who are opinion leaders, who are widely watched and followed; they are the ones who are approached. Not everyone deserves to be taken as seriously.
The following email scan was recently declassified by the US government itself from the mailbox of Hilary Clinton. The email was sent by Jacob Sullivan, Hilary Clinton’s Chief of Staff during her time as the Secretary of State. It would appear that the email is set in the week of 11th January when the Supreme Court of Pakistan was reviewing a petition on the Memogate case and contempt case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. However, it is unclear which particular case the email refers to. The email critically analyses the then current situation, and offers outcomes and specific responses.
While it would make sense for any foreigner living within Pakistan to keep themselves updated on the current events within the country, the fact that Pakistani media was so carefully looked into, perhaps even more so than the locals, was previously unheard of. The United States also keeps a sharp eye on the social sphere, particular the tech-savy, English-speaking, upper and middle class.