Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fisky beat-ups detract from the real deal

IT'S remarkable how a non-story refuted by a couple of throwaway lines by British foreign correspondent Robert Fisk over a non-meeting with accused members of the so-called Tuhoe 16 became a beat-up in two media outlets at the expense of hard news this week. In an hour-long AUT University dialogue (mostly monologue - but riveting, inspiring and entertaining), Fisk only spent 31 seconds on the topic - and this was in response to a question from a student about a posting on David Cohen's notorious (non)blog at the National Business Review claiming he was going to meet Tame Iti and others at Te Tirahou marae.

Fisk dismissed it out of hand, saying nobody had discussed it with him. He said he had no time to be involved in local stories: "I'm 62, have 22 countries and four wars to cover, I don’t have time for anything that does not involve the Middle East". While he did talk to Ahmed Zaoui when in NZ three years ago, it was "clearly an Algerian story". The beat-ups (following the original mischievous Cohen beat-up) were in Scoop, who was asking for the "real leak" to stand up (not a bad idea, but it won't happen), and NZ Herald Online. Fisk launched into an attack on the internet, saying the medium was out of control and lacked the integrity of the printed paper. As far as he is concerned, the internet is a "system of hate" and fuels the risk of an extreme act by a nutter against outspoken journalists such as him.

Here's a story that came out of the seminar that does have some substance - the transformation of the US Soldier's Creed to the Warrior's Ethos ... war without end! Of course, little was reported about that. This video clip is thanks to the Pacific Media Centre team of Kate Morse, Joe Rixon, Naveena Baratharaj and Jim Marbrook on the PMC YouTube channel - and there are a couple of other good ones '50/50 journalism' and 'weapons of mass destruction'.

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