An hour with Robert Fisk

Crowd at Fisk
Crowd at Fisk

Being very important and busy blogging people, Joyce and I have 15 minutes between sessions. So this will be just a quick impression of An Hour with Robert Fisk:

  • Truth doesn’t have to be the casualty of war
  • If you see an atrocity why can’t you be angry?
  • Debased, neutral language is the death of journalism
  • Internet is increasingly being believed in but is increasingly unbelievable
  • Quoted Iman Ali: we are either all brothers in religion or brothers in humanity
  • Middle East should be swamped with Western tourists, not Western soldiers.
  • It is OK to be objective on the side of those who are suffering.
  • Journalists should not join the proscecution, and Fisk does not like journalists who are activists.
  • He neither has the internet or uses email.
  • Politicians either have journalists on side or don’t care what they say

The press seem to be representing the views of the people because …

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Fisk’s energy inspiring

This event was absolutely abuzz with people – several hundred piled into the Limes Room to hear Robert Fisk. They were not disappointed.

Among the revelations at the session was the fact that some years ago, librarians helped him “smuggle” the contents of the Sunday Express newspaper library of the 1920s to 40s – under cover of darkness – into his possession.

I managed to track him down afterwards. It wasn’t hard – he was the popular fellow signing books – to tell me the whole tale. Continue reading

Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk

What can I say about this one as he needs no introduction and he was the star attraction of the Festival with booked out sessions. In the chair was editor of The Press, Andrew Holden. He began with the old adage that “truth is the first casualty of war” which Fisk said ain’t necessarily so. It doesn’t have to be and he feels lucky enough to to work for a newspaper (The Independent) that allows him to tell the real story. He feels that a lot of journalists, especially in America, have a symbiotic relationship with power (watch Fox News and you’ll see that writ large!)

On a lighter note, he talked about his early years in journalism on a paper in Newcastle-on-Tyne. There he learned that cliches rule the day and then and how police were always “spreading their net” and “stepping up” a hunt and so on. Lots of laughter at some of this but I wonder how many journos in the audience hadn’t gone off to a “horror smash” and isn’t every public holiday weekend an excuse for “horror” on the roads and isn’t someone always “shocked” and aren’t all small children “toddlers.”

He was asked whether his writing style had changed over the years and whether his views had changed. He said his writing had become angrier and described the aftermath of a massacre in Palestine. Was he blinded by his anger?

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