• Al-Qaeda,  Journalism,  Syria

    At Fisk

    Guest post by Sackcloth & Ashes When The Independent went entirely online in late March, its readers (or what were left of them) received solemn undertakings that it would keep its high standards of reporting and analysis, even if it was no longer in print. An op-ed by none other than Robert Fisk written on 10th May gives us some idea of how impressive these standards are. Fisk gives his readers a breathless account of how with the rise of IS in Syria, propagandists are at work to whitewash the reputation of the Al-Nusra Front, the al Qaeda-affiliated insurgent group fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime, so as to clear the way…

  • Journalism,  Media

    The Indie and the art of forgetfulness

    Guest post by Sackcloth & Ashes After selling The Independent and The Independent on Sunday to Johnston Press last week, Yevgeny Lebedev announced that the paper would cease its print run in March, but would continue as a digital newspaper. Part of me is saddened by the news, but not quite as sad as the former Deputy Editor, Ian Birrell. Birrell tells us that this is the inevitable result of the digital revolution and its effect on print media, and ends by asking ‘how do we fund quality journalism in the digital age’? The implication seems to be that ‘quality journalism’ was something The Indie was consistently producing from its…

  • Islamophobia,  Journalism,  Muslim Brotherhood

    Peter Oborne and the Daily Telegraph

    Peter Oborne has resigned from his post of chief political commentator at the Daily Telegraph.  Reasons given:- that out of deference to its advertisers the Telegraph did not cover the HSBC tax evasion scandal and also because the old conservative (small and big “C”) newspaper has been losing its direction and its traditional readership. I had some sympathy with him because Private Eye has been reporting passim the way the Daily Telegraph has been dumbing down for the new digital age.  I’m happy to harrumph along with Peter Oborne that the editor has now been replaced by three “Heads of Content” and that they have lost touch with their conservative…

  • Journalism,  Latin America

    Journalist who broke Nisman story tells of fleeing Argentina

    Damian Pachter, the Argentine journalist who first reported the death of AMIA bombing prosecutor Alberto Nisman, writes for Haaretz about the threats that convinced him to flee for his life and go to Israel. I have no idea when I’ll be back in Argentina; I don’t even know if I want to. What I do know is that the country where I was born is not the happy place my Jewish grandparents used to tell me stories about. After I left Argentina I found out that the government was still publishing wrong information about me on social media. The Twitter feed of Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace, posted the…

  • Journalism,  Stateside,  The Left

    The sad implosion of The New Republic

    I’ve been a longtime reader of The New Republic, a small-circulation but venerable magazine of journalism and opinion. Although staunchly liberal in its political orientation, the magazine has regularly challenged conventional wisdom on the Left– while sometimes, it seemed, being contrarian for the sake of being contrary. Although the quality of the articles varies, it has produced enough excellent writing to make TNR one of the few publications I subscribe to in dead-tree form. It’s been a regular source for my posts (and those of others) at Harry’s Place– as you can see here. Now most of the magazine’s senior staff and a long list of contributing editors (including Paul…

  • Iraq,  Journalism


    Business Insider reports: ISIS has tried to send a warning to the U.S. in about the most horrifying manner imaginable — by broadcasting the execution of an American citizen captured in Syria more than 600 days ago. The video purports to show the execution of photojournalist James Foley. The four-minute video opens with a clip of President Barack Obama authorizing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. After this intro, a title screen appears with the words “a message to America,” followed by an American citizen they identify as James Foley saying that U.S. leaders are his “real killers.” Foley is apparently executed moments later by a man in a black robe —…

  • Gaza,  Hamas,  Journalism

    Hamas: We deported journalists who filmed launch sites

    A revealing interview with a Hamas spokesperson about journalists in Gaza: Notable quote: “[T]he journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace and on the Israeli narrative. “So when they were conducting interviews, or when they went on location to report, they would focus on filming the places from where missiles were launched. Thus, they were collaborating with the occupation.” If so, it’s amazing how few such reports there actually were. The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen reported last month after a week in Gaza: “I saw no evidence… of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.” Jeremy, it’s becoming increasingly clear you saw…

  • Gaza,  Journalism

    Real journalism in Gaza

    In a couple of recent instances, correspondents in Gaza have reported involuntarily on Hamas rocket launches aimed at Israel: Here is a reporter for India’s NDTV in Gaza behaving like an actual journalist: This report is being aired on NDTV and published on ndtv.com after our team left the Gaza strip – Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel’s offensive on Gaza’s civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones. Update: Is this the beginning…

  • Journalism,  Russia

    Be careful, Vlad

    A grimly amusing response from Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov to Vladimir V. Putin’s now-famous op-ed piece in The New York Times. I hope Putin has taken adequate protections. Now that he is a Russian journalist his life may be in grave danger! — Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) September 12, 2013 (See here.)