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 →
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?