I staggered in from circuits lastnight to catch the end of an interview that Jon Snow was conducting with Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev.
I’ve never seen Jon Snow shut down an interview before.
It should have no bearing whatsoever on the reporting of facts, but the shouty arrogance of the individual in this case began to take over from any fact finding. Began to distract from the debate. The line he took though, heat of delivery aside, was the real thing to make blood eventually boil.
The flat, outright, F**k You denial.
It seemed undeniably there in the flat words, as well as the fired tone.
Not knowing what else to do, I posted something feebly on Jon’s Snowblog at C4:
Lastnight’s interview with Mr Regev was a tough one to sit through, and people will make of it various opposing things, I suspect.
But I suspect too, Jon, that you’d say your concern in your work is simply reporting the truth, as far as we can get at it.
Mr Regev’s aggression of tone is one thing – we can judge it however. But the responses themselves, transcripted, seem to illustrate Israel’s apparently consistent official practice, at least whenever I’m watching – answer direct questions by pointing elsewhere. The question: “Did you do X?” might be met by the answer: “We didn’t start it.”; “Did you do Y?” by: “What about North Korea?”. “Did you do Z” may even just get talked over.
Passion is one thing. It’s obviously hard to hold in, in the face of such events and issues. Nor should it always be, I think. But decisions and actions taken are reportable truth. So too should be responsibility.
As ever, thanks for doing your best in the middle of the issues, Jon. It surely says as much about passion as it does professionalism.
Yes, of course it’s sycophantic – I want Jim to fix it for me to go to the Channel 4 News offices and meet everyone. I want to stand in front of the big man in bright socks, purse my lips awkwardly, and shiftingly tell Jon I think he’s a ruddy hero.
But what I want to know in the real world is: when will a political leader start helping Hamas to stop shooting rockets? And when will a political leader outright condemn Israeli government tactics? Not to do so, on some level, is to not help anyone.
Who knows what I would feel if I were born and raised in an Israeli suburb. But if I was still essentially me, I can only say I’d be very concerned at the way Mr Regev spoke for my country. And insensed at the strategy he represented for my security. I’d be surely be f***ing livid, wouldn’t I? ..Wouldn’t I?
Interesting that many other people expressed similar incredulity on Jon’s blog. But it’s true to say that Mr Regev’s views and tone do represent a lot of people. The comments accusing C4 of bias and clear anti-Israeli sentiment are many.
But they all take the same line, essentially: “You just hate us, and we didn’t start any of this.” The answer to over 300 dead children, bulldozed infrastructure, a systematically traumatised population and blanket ban on live reporting in the theatre of conflict seems to be: “Hamas is a dictatorial regime that that rules by military coup and fires rockets into Israeli back gardens.” Without heat or passion, these appear to be the facts on the ground.
That filter is the thing many people look through at the situation – who they think Hamas, or the Palestinians are. That’s enough. They see the rockets land and that’s evidence enough for any reprisal. But have they walked through Gaza and seen it themselves? Have they sat down with Palestinians – or, dare I say it, someone affiliated with Hamas – to talk with them about it?
Bloody f***k, this is hard. This is hard to put right.
Harder to hear, however, is the possibility that the BBC and Channel 4 refused to air a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal on behalf of the people of Gaza, for fear of appearing biased.
Could this really be true?
Excuse me being a child, but why can’t this be about human need, human suffering and human injustice? What difference should a sodding flag make – Palestinian, Israeli, Iraqi or British?
Is the truth completely lost? Can no one speak for it? Because if we choose to hide the truth of one group of people, we surely lose the right to have it disclosed for ourselves.