Friday, August 04, 2006

Two blogger career paths

After this post, and its sequel here (shorter Washington Post: we asked Richard North what evidence he had for his manic conspiracy theory and he had none), it struck me to wonder why he's doing this. After all, his stated mission is to discuss the European Constitution, although it would be more accurately described as "rail and rave against anything vaguely associated with the EU". What has that got to do with trying to get the Israeli air force off the hook for vapourising a few dozen children by libelling a variety of reporters, photographers and Red Cross men?

Not very much. But then, even his URL is dishonest. (EU Referendum? There was never one of them on the cards.) After reflection, I think I have the answer. Ref's main goal these days appears to be attracting traffic from extreme-right US nutsites. And this is what worries me. The high road to success in British blogging should not be "try to impress by being the kid who's even crazier". I suppose it's telling that an ├╝ber-europhobe like North should end up as a water carrier for the right of the US Right - it's roughly what I've been saying about Britain as a whole since 1996 or thereabouts - but it's depressing.

Meanwhile, Chris Albritton goes to the front.
Most of the time, we never even see Hizbullah. They keep a very low profile and only come out when something happens, such as a bombing. Then the boys with the walkie-talkies appear and wave their arms and yell and generally push the reporters back until the firemen come in and put out the fire or recover bodies. That’s been the extent of my dealings with Hizbullah, and it’s been the case with probably 95 percent of the reporters here, too.

I do not have a Hizbullah “press pass,” as one commenter suggested. They do not hold my passport (they have a photocopy, presumably.) I have neither sought nor received permission from any Hizbullah people to cover anything. No one has prevented me from covering anything. The Palestinians in Rachidiye Refugee Camp did prevent me from taking pictures of their gunmen, although I could still interview them. Everything I’ve reported I’ve either seen with my own eyes, or it has come from trusted non-Hizbullah sources. Like the ambulance story. I spoke with the drivers and I saw the very ambulances. It was not faked, and it was definitely an Israeli missile of some kind that destroyed the ambulances.

As far as Qana, I wasn’t there. I don’t know what the scene was like, other than what my colleagues — who I trust — told me and what I saw on television. As for the death toll going down from 54 to 28, well, that happens. It was apparently a confusing time and the mortician at the al-Bass Government Hospital gave out some numbers that included people also killed that day but in other places. As for why it took so long to get there, well, the strike happened at night and no one travels much after dark here, certainly not in the middle of an Israeli bombardment. I don’t believe Qana was faked, as some bloggers are charging. People like Michelle Malkin are full of it and refuse to see anything with even a scintilla of objectivity or fairness. They are not journalists; they are jokes.

So that’s the latest. I’m having recurring problems finding drivers to take me around, but hopefully that can be solved. I’m also open to story ideas. What would people like to see while I’m in the south awaiting a coming Israeli invasion?

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