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Tag Archives: Journalism

Here’s what I found out when I spent the day with Israel’s most controversial journalist, Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy is a bit of a philosopher king although, sitting in his postage stamp garden in a suburb of Tel Aviv, straw hat shading mischievous dark eyes, there’s a touch of a Graham Greene character about Haaretz’s most provocative and infamous writer. Brave, subversive, sorrowful – in a harsh, uncompromising way – he’s the kind of journalist you either worship or loathe. Philosopher kings of the Plato kind are necessary for our moral health, perhaps, but not good for our blood pressure. So Levy’s life has been threatened by his fellow Israelis for telling the truth; and that’s the best journalism award one can get.

He loves journalism but is appalled by its decline. His English is flawless but it sometimes breaks up in fury. Here’s an angry Levy on the effect of newspaper stories: “In the year of ’86, I wrote about a Palestinian Bedouin woman who lost her baby after giving birth at a checkpoint. She tried at three different [Israeli] checkpoints, she couldn’t make it and she gave birth in the car. They [the Israelis] didn’t let her bring the baby to the hospital. She carried him by foot two kilometres to the Augusta Victoria [Hospital in east Jerusalem]. The baby died. When I published this story – I don’t want to say that Israel ‘held its breath’, but it was a huge scandal, the cabinet was dealing with it, two officers were brought to court…”

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gideon-levy-robert-fisk-haaretz-israel-palestine-gaza-a8557691.html

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Posted by on September 28, 2018 in Middle East

 

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HOLD THE FRONT PAGE. THE REPORTERS ARE MISSING

The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.

Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.

http://johnpilger.com/articles/hold-the-front-page-the-reporters-are-missing

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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The media exaggerates negative news. This distortion has consequences

Every day the news is filled with stories about war, terrorism, crime, pollution, inequality, drug abuse and oppression. And it’s not just the headlines we’re talking about; it’s the op-eds and long-form stories as well. Magazine covers warn us of coming anarchies, plagues, epidemics, collapses, and so many “crises” (farm, health, retirement, welfare, energy, deficit) that copywriters have had to escalate to the redundant “serious crisis.”

Whether or not the world really is getting worse, the nature of news will interact with the nature of cognition to make us think that it is.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/17/steven-pinker-media-negative-news

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2018 in Reportages

 

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Louder than bombs: my journey in war and music

Sarajevo, August 1993

The day before my 39th birthday, I was reporting on what came to be called the Dobrinja water-queue massacre in the besieged city of Sarajevo – people killed while waiting in line for drinking water from an outdoor tap. I had arrived on the scene just as bodies were being removed, leaving a trail of plastic water containers neatly curved in a row, surrounded by pools of blood that men were hosing away, occasionally scurrying from the sniper fire coming at them.

On my birthday itself I felt like doing something else, in counterpoint to the killings: listening to a performance of Joseph Haydn’s String Trio Op 8 No 6 in the city’s blacked-out National Theatre. This was part of a Summer in the Chamber series of lunchtime concerts – the kind of thing the citizens organised and attended not so as to belittle what was happening but to remind themselves they were still alive. The programme that day had been intended for the Sarajevo String Quartet, but they had been reduced to a trio after the second violinist, Momir Vlačić, was killed by a mortar shell that hit a flight of steps behind the Conservatoire as he arrived for rehearsal.

The two movements in the key of C Minor – which Mozart and Beethoven would later associate with struggle and intensity – were written as a piano trio, transposed this afternoon for violin, viola and cello. Outside the theatre, another brutal day: five civilians, one of them a child, were killed as mortars, one aimed at the main hospital, pounded the city. But here behind the blackened windows, a mesmerised audience gathered around some residual hearth of defiant civilisation.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/aug/26/louder-than-bombs-my-journey-in-war-and-music-ed-vulliamy

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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The Biggest Secret

Bundled against the freezing wind, my lawyers and I were about to reach the courthouse door when two news photographers launched into a perp-walk shoot. As a reporter, I had witnessed this classic scene dozens of times, watching in bemusement from the sidelines while frenetic photographers and TV crews did their business. I never thought I would be the perp, facing those whirring cameras.

As I walked past the photographers into the courthouse that morning in January 2015, I saw a group of reporters, some of whom I knew personally. They were here to cover my case, and now they were waiting and watching me. I felt isolated and alone.

My lawyers and I took over a cramped conference room just outside the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, where we waited for her to begin the pretrial hearing that would determine my fate. My lawyers had been working with me on this case for so many years that they now felt more like friends. We often engaged in gallows humor about what it was going to be like for me once I went to jail. But they had used all their skills to make sure that didn’t happen and had even managed to keep me out of a courtroom and away from any questioning by federal prosecutors.

Until now.

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/03/my-life-as-a-new-york-times-reporter-in-the-shadow-of-the-war-on-terror/

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in North America

 

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Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has published two exclusives whose import is far greater than may be immediately apparent. They concern Israel’s bombing in 2007 of a supposed nuclear plant secretly built, according to a self-serving US and Israeli narrative, by Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Although the attack on the “nuclear reactor” occurred a decade ago, there are pressing lessons to be learnt for those analysing current events in Syria.

Porter’s research indicates very strongly that the building that was bombed could not have been a nuclear reactor – and that was clear to experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) even as the story was being promoted uncritically across the western media.

But – and this is the critical information Porter conveys – the IAEA failed to disclose the fact that it was certain the building was not a nuclear plant, allowing the fabricated narrative to be spread unchallenged. It abandoned science to bow instead to political expediency.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/22/syria-experts-and-george-monbiot/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Middle East

 

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A lesson from Syria: it’s crucial not to fuel far-right conspiracy theories

What do we believe? This is the crucial democratic question. Without informed choice, democracy is meaningless. This is why dictators and billionaires invest so heavily in fake news. Our only defence is constant vigilance, rigour and scepticism. But when some of the world’s most famous crusaders against propaganda appear to give credence to conspiracy theories, you wonder where to turn.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/15/lesson-from-syria-chemical-weapons-conspiracy-theories-alt-right

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Stanley Greene, a War Photographer Who Stayed When Others Left 

Being a war photographer requires, first of all, bravery, or at least the ability to stay calm in situations of extreme danger. The other necessary qualities, beyond technical skill, include dedication, energy, ambition, a sense of curiosity and adventure, and, of course, luck. Most photographers make their names, and survive, thanks to a combination of these traits, while a handful possess the kind of soaring talent that makes their work uniquely memorable. Stanley Greene had all of this, as well as a depth of feeling; it imbued everything he did, and is the indefinable thing permeating the pictures he took.Greene died last week, at age sixty-eight, after a long battle with cancer. I met him in Iraq, where we were both covering the wake of the United States military invasion of 2003. In the small international tribe of photographers who regularly cover war, Stanley stood out. A black man in a largely white group, he was tall and handsome, and effected his own piratical sense of style, typically wearing a beret or a bandanna on his head, a hoop in each earlobe, a scarf coiled around his neck, and cool John Lennon shades. He had a wonderfully mellifluous, clear drawl of a voice, and a storyteller’s instinct for timing, humor, and suspense.

Source: Stanley Greene, a War Photographer Who Stayed When Others Left – The New Yorker

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Fake news sells because people want it to be true

When is a lie not a lie? Recently, the Daily Telegraph reported that university students had demanded that “philosophers such as Plato and Kant” be “removed from [the] syllabus because they are white”. Other outlets followed suit, wringing their hands over the censoriousness of today’s uninquiring young minds. The article generated an extraordinary amount of consternation click bait. Angry responses were written and hot takes were quick-fried and served up by outlets anxious  to join the dinner rush of  ad-friendly disapproval.

It’s a story that could have been designed to press every outrage button of the political-correctness-gone-mad brigade. It has students trying to ban things, an apparent lack of respect for independent thought and reverse racism. It seemed too good to be true.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2017/01/fake-news-sells-because-people-want-it-be-true

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Reportages

 

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Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies

Sixteen years ago, I sat in court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London and felt the ground crumble beneath my feet. I was following the libel trial brought by David Irving, the Holocaust denier and “pro-Nazi polemicist” – to quote the judge’s eventual verdict – against Penguin Books, which had dared publish a text which told the truth about him.I watched as Irving discarded the usual rules of evidence. The eyewitness testimony of survivors was dismissed as lies. Confessions by the guilty were waved away as fake. Inconvenient documents were written off as forgeries. All that was left was what he wanted to believe.At the time, it struck me that Irving was threatening something greater even than the memory of the Holocaust: he was undermining the very idea of facts, history and truth. If every item of evidence could be rubbished as bogus, then how could anyone ever prove anything? How would we know that Henry VIII had six wives or that Napoleon fought at Waterloo?

Source: Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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