Fisk on Syria and Stenography “Journalism” (Democracy Now! Video)

Veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk is interviewed by Amy Goodman on his experiences in Syria. In the course of the interview, he denounces the increasingly common stenography approach in Western journalism, where articles are written citing unnamed government intelligence analysts and security officials, with no fact-checking and no reporting from the ground:

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4 Responses

  1. A bit much for Robert Fisk to complain about:

    “citing unnamed government intelligence analysts and security officials, with no fact-checking and no reporting from the ground”

  2. This was a good interview. Always like(d) Fisk and his writings. That he would go where (apparently) no other ‘Westerners’ would go demonstrates a search for The Truth instead of a variation of what the powers-that-be (“Hearstians?”) would pass off as an accepted/acceptable ‘truth.’ You’d think that after so many years, people would “remember the Maine.”

  3. Fisk bungles quite a few facts in this interview.

    The West isn’t trying to support al Qaeda or other jihadist groups in Syria. The US is working to steer the Gulf states’ arms shipments away from jihadist groups, towards more moderate groups. This not-entirely-effective strategy has been the core of American policy towards the conflict for two years.

    The US didn’t supply Osama bin Laden in the Afghan War. Bin Laden set up his organization to be a parallel to the American/Pakistani organizations supporting the mujahadeen, for the specific purpose of allowing the war to be fought without the taint of working with the Americans. This is a beloved narrative, but there’s never been anything but wishful thinking to support it, and Fisk should know better.

    Comparing the Israeli strike to a theoretical Syrian strike against Israeli nuclear facilities is misleading. Israel didn’t strike the government’s stockpiles of missiles, and hasn’t done so as this war has gone on for more than two years, but struck a shipment that was, allegedly, being sent to Hezbollah. An accurate comparison would be not a Syrian Air Force strike on Israeli nuclear warheads, but on a weapons convoy the Israelis were sending to the rebels in Syria.

    As for the question of why the Syrian government would ship missiles out of the country, there is a very obvious answer: because the government has a massive advantage over the rebels when it comes to hardware, but not when it comes to personnel and foreign support, so they are using their weapons surplus to buy Hezbollah’s support – either their political support (remember that Assad’s old friends Hamas jumped ship on him), or to bring Hezbollah fighters into the fight.

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