More on Bob

Damian Thompson over at the Daily Telegraph has picked up on the unfolding Bob Fisk story. Bob apparently feels the criticism he’s coming under can all be put down to malice because he is a “moderately successful journalist.” In other words, it is all a matter of jealously. Well, I would have thought Ian Black, Hugh Pope and myself could all be described as moderately successful journalists, too. No jealously here, Bob. I just called it like I see it.

2 thoughts on “More on Bob

  1. Dear Jamie,

    I’ve noticed on your blog there are several critical references to the work of Robert Fisk. Specifically, you say:

    “It has been common knowledge for years among British and American reporters that Bob can just make things up or lift other’s work without attribution and embellish it.”

    However, the only actual reference to this behaviour is in Pope’s appraisal of Fisk’s reporting of the Yesilova refugee camp which is, as far as I can determine, far from conclusive about anything being fabricated – except that he definitely did not travel in an AH-64 cargo bay (clearly a mistake since on the preceding page in his book he says he was in a Blackhawk).

    Aside from that I have only come across insinuations such as yours, and those of Adel Darwish. These do not provide any actual clarity about what Fisk has, in your view, made up, embellished or lifted without attribution.

    Perhaps you can set the record straight and give some concrete examples of what Fisk has done to justify this criticism. If you are able to make such accusations, I am sure you must have a sound body of evidence to back that up.

    As someone who enjoys your work and that of Robert Fisk, I am hoping you can shed some light on the facts.

    Yours,

    Steven Jackson

  2. Hello,

    I am so sorry for the slow response: Been half on holiday and not paying attention to my blog. Actually Ian Black at the Guardian made similar points to the ones raised by Pope and myself. But I am loath to continue the public debate about all of this. A couple of incidents I had first-hand knowledge of were at the heart of my remarks. I am prepared to discuss these with you privately and in confidence, via email if you wish.

    There are three reasons for my reluctance on doing anything to revive the matter publicly. The first, it is time and energy-consuming and there is so much more I want to write about on things happening now in the Middle East.

    Second, Fisk critics and Fisk have had their say and there is a time to say enough.

    Third, I was never enthusiastic about going for Bob. I think he can be unbalanced in his criticism of the West — although God knows the West has much to answer for in the Middle East, too — and the points Pope, Black and I raise are indeed troubling. But I have also noticed recently on journalist forums — some of them private — a tendency to ridicule Bob, which I think is out of order. Fisk was a fantastic correspondent in Northern Ireland for The Times. His bravery and brilliance in Beirut during the civil war shouldn’t be forgotten — in fact, it was inspirational for me as a young journalist. And there are many things he is writing about these days that I think he is spot on about. I heard him last night on Al Jaz about the situation in Egypt. So my criticism of him — and I don’t back down from it — was made reluctantly and I just don’t want to revisit it all publicly again.

    Does all of that make sense?

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