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« Guardian: The 'So-Called Threat from Iran' | Main | Tear-Jerking Journalism, Part 2 »

Wednesday, June 10 2009

Tear-Jerking Journalism


This video in The Guardian is probably the shallowest piece of journalism I’ve seen come out of Gaza. The strip isn’t short on destitution. But how can anyone call Inigo Gilmore’s dispatch responsible journalism?

Every Palestinian interviewed in this 7-minute dispatch is simply given a soapbox to talk about their woes without any context for the images of destruction and stories of despair.

Even if Gilmore asked hard questions, what could Gazans possibly say? Palestinians aren't brave enough -- or stupid enough – to tell a Western reporter about the homes used as cover for rocket fire, the mosques used as weapons dumps, or the hospitals commandeered by Hamas leaders.

Palestinian stringers employed by the Western papers are subject to the same intimidation. After all, they have to make a living and take care of their families after Gilmore leaves.

Which brings me to Mustafa Khalili, one of the people the video credits. Earlier this year, HonestReporting debunked a package of Guardian videos and articles he helped produce. Khalili made a name for himself by emailing bloggers to sensationally promote the issue of Israeli war crimes. This video is just another example of why to be wary of some Palestinian stringers.

Unfortunately, intimidation doesn't only pull wool over the eyes of The Guardian. AP reports that Hamas minders are also strangling the UN’s own Gaza war crimes investigation:

And Hamas security often accompanied his team during their five-day trip to Gaza last week, raising questions about the ability of witnesses to freely describe the militant group's actions.

There have been exceedingly rare instances of Palestinians talking frankly – Der Spiegel comes to mind as a stark contrast to The Guardian. Reporters and the people they interview are certainly under the constraints of Hamas. This reality calls for a journalist’s disclosure, which isn't forthcoming from Gilmore and Khalili. That’s what really makes The Guardian's video a tear-jerker.



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An old boss of mine used to say that "context is everything"; it's interesting that the Guardian removes all relevant context from its presentations.

Nice SUV at 1:47 into the film

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