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Sunday, January 15, 2006

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Comments

Ric Locke

The Press have assumed that taking up station on a crag of omniscience, from which they can hurl thunderbolts of denunciation onto whomever they like, is equivalent to Olympian detachment from the situation. In the hypothetical quoted, their ideal is that they should be able to "report" the activity of the terrorist cell, thereby titillating their audience and selling lots of soap, without repercussions from either side.

But Olympian detachment didn't work for the original Olympians, and it sure as Hell isn't going to work for human beings with delusions of grandeur. If they don't choose a side and stick to it, they'll either be assigned one or assumed to be the enemy by all other contenders. The latter process is beginning now, and they find it uncomfortable, thus this sort of railing. It will get worse before it gets better.

Regards,
Ric

PeterUK

Presumably Simpson would demand the right to protect his sources?

Tim

Indeed. And the media wonder why we wonder whose side they are on. Idiots.

tom

In the case of the Al Queda volunteers, run to the police is exactly what they should do. In their minds, it is more important to 'get the story' than to do the right thing. These animals that he would report on, rather than excuse himself, are the same brand that bombed the trains and buses, hijacked the plans and bombed the rails. There is no excuse for pretenting neutrality in this case. It is civilazation versus barbarism. You can't avoid choosing a side. By choosing journalism over turning in these monsters, you've allowed them to kill more innocents.

Patricia

"I and my colleagues will be liable to a fine or imprisonment."

Well, yes, darling, because, you see, they are our enemy!

Jonathan

Would it be so hard to simply grant journalists all the freedoms they desire, after they renounce all ties to their nominal countries of citizenship and apply for green cards as stateless persons? I would have a lot less difficulty with the American Mainstream Media if everyone knew that there was no pretense on anyone's part that they are American citizens and/or serving our nation in any regard.

This would go along way towards cleaning up reportage.

inmypajamas

Why not turn the "resistance" guys in and still do the story? The piece would have the added bonus to those watching that, yeah, these things are happening but these particular baddies were turned in/locked up/whatever. Small comfort, I know, but better than knowing they are still out there.

BTW, since when did al Queda terrorists become the "British resistance"?

jamal

Thatcher made a good point.

gs

More worrisome than John "Resistance Cell" Simpson's ludicrous phrase is that he still has a job at the BBC. The enemy grants no legitimacy to our contorted cultural 'reasoning'; the enemy only cares about whether we are strong or weak and what we are willing to do.

Bureaucracies and governments being what they are, I assume that the Terrorism Bill may contain provisions which, at the expense of individual liberties, give the government more power than is needed to deal with terrorism. Malign fatuities like Simpson's stand in the way of a sane discussion of the legislation.

Provided they're not given diplomatic immunity, commenter Jonathan's idea of giving reporters green cards is intriguing. As usual the devil would be in the details--governments, bureaucracies and ruling parties tend to conflate their institutional interests with national security--, but maybe something equitable could be made to work.

Josh

"The piece would have the added bonus to those watching that, yeah, these things are happening but these particular baddies were turned in/locked up/whatever."

Well the terrorscum might eventually wise up and realize that inviting the press of the country they are trying to harm would just get them all arrested, and the press would lose their exclusive coverage "rights."

NadineSCarroll

Imagine substituting "the local mob" for "Al Qaeda" or ("British resistance cells" as the reporter so charmingly put it). Image your intrepid reporter sitting in on a discussion of arranging the "muscle" in the right places for the next hit in pursuit of the local extortion ring.

Do we think the reporter's tone would remain so decidedly neutral? I don't think so. Let's ask ourselves what moral high ground the BBC is ceding to Al Qaeda that it won't give to mobsters.

Fredex

Lord Haw Haw was hanged.

Conrad

Tom:

Are you mad?!?

Run to the police merely because the resistance cell is plotting murder? What about the peoples' right to know . . . which, as we are all aware, is more important than the peoples' right not to be murdered by fanatics, or the peoples' right not to have limbs blown off while commuting to work?

AST

What indeed?

These people are so full of the ideas and terminology of Marxism and revolution, they don't seem to understand that they'll be put up against the walls along with every other "infidel" if Al Qaeda's goals are met. They view Captitalism at the universal enemy, yet don't realize that it is the main reasona they aren't having to herd swine for a living.

Rob "No War; (in exchange) For Oil" Read

AST,

The BBC is in the extortion funded sector. The BBC is funded by jailing people who refuse to pay 126GBP for the priviledge of own a TV.

Neo

One is left to wonder what the reaction would be if the possible targets of AQ were exclusively the home and work places of journalists.

James Hamilton

Clive, it's obvious that some of your commentators haven't read John Simpson's volumes of autobiography which make his attitude towards anyone who uses violence for political ends quite clear. Neither did they see his report on the BBC Ten O'Clock News where he made it clear how welcome the British troops were in Basra. No, I don't agree with that "resistance cell" phrase, but his essential point is valid, e.g. that if it becomes illegal for journalists to report first hand about terrorist groups, then government becomes the sole source of information on them, which I doubt your commentators - not enthusiasts for state control of news, I'm sure - would cheer for.
There are reporters within the Beeb who regard their reporting as a form of political activism, but Simpson isn't one of them. Unless one thinks that the only independent journalist is the one whose pronouncements never press our own political buttons.

Clive

James,
I agree that many of the commenters were much too hard on Simpson. But after reading his piece again, I'm still not convinced about the threat to press freedom. (Was visiting an IRA camp the only way to break the story about Libya?) As for "resistance cells", well, if he'd used the term in a live broadcast, I'd have assumed it was a slip of the tongue. But it wasn't, so what are we supposed to make of it?

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