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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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EditorialsUp Front 03/12

Up Front 03/12

In a recent blog, my eldest brother—a latecomer to the industry but nonetheless a news reporter for over thirty years—explained that he had decided to slowly wean himself off the daily news feed that had for so long dominated his life. As a news junkie and broadcast journalist he had spent a great deal of his life using newspapers, radio, television and the internet to keep himself abreast of what was going on in the world. But now he has decided—not necessarily to kick the habit completely—but to at least tune out somewhat. He explained to a colleague that he didn’t want to hear the whinging anymore. He didn’t want to listen to the tit-for-tat reactive politicking. He didn’t want to listen to the complaints from former ministers about things the successor Government was doing. Or the bleating of the Government in power as they constantly blamed their predecessors for the current situation. However one point he made that struck me more than any was that, as a seasoned journalist, he had always presented the news from all sides and in a what he hoped was a fair and balanced manner—but now he feels that he has gone beyond what he calls the journalistic balancing act, and may, just occasionally, take sides. It was a point that was brought home to me when I listened to journalist Marie Colvin’s last broadcast from Homs in Syria, two days before she died. She made it very clear that what she was seeing on the ground was ‘sickening’ and that the army were ‘simply shelling a city of cold, starving civilians’ and that it was a ‘lie’ that they were targeting terrorists. Back in November 2010, giving an address during a service for war wounded held at St Bride’s church in London, she said the job of a journalist was to try to ‘find the truth in a sandstorm of propaganda.’ It’s a sad fact that often, telling the truth can appear to be the same as taking sides—a dangerous, yet one hopes, worthy course of action. FB

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