Fisk Gets Frisky

Dear Honest Reporting Member,

Our May 4 communique dealt with the biased reporting of Robert Fisk of The Independent (UK). Well, it appears that HonestReporting members are getting under Fisk’s skin.

Fisk complained in a May 29 column: “Several papers, including The Independent, have been bombarded by hundreds of letters and e-mails from supposedly outraged American ‘readers’ — most of them from parts of the United States where The Independent, for example, is not on sale — and many of them written in vitriolic, even violent language. A number have been written in answer to an appeal from an outfit called honestreporting.com.”

Specifically, Fisk complains, “Honestreporting.com urges its supporters to read The Independent’s website. It would like, somehow, to close down The Independent’s Middle East coverage — and, to be fair, The Guardian’s as well — and return Americans to the bland, generally pro-American (and thus pro-Israeli) reports of the U.S. press.”

Fisk claims that HonestReporting members termed him an “anti-Semite,” a characterization we never used. Over his career, Fisk has hid behind the “my-critics-call-me-an-anti-Semite” shield on several occasions. For example, he wrote on April 17, 2001: “Our gutlessness, our refusal to tell the truth, our fear of being slandered as ‘anti-Semites’ — the most loathsome of libels against any journalist — means that we are aiding and abetting terrible deeds in the Middle East.”

Sorry, Mr. Fisk, you don’t have to be an anti-Semite to be biased and hypocritical.

Yes, hypocritical. Fisk blasts Israelis for calling the Palestinians animals: “two-legged beasts, serpents, etc.” Yet in a different article, Fisk himself does exactly the same: Palestinians are whipped into obedient “donkeys” and “cockroaches ready to be crushed.”

When HonestReporting recalled Fisk’s 1982 romantic description of the PLO-controlled section of Beirut, he responded by claiming that they were weeping out of fear of a massacre in “the absence of Palestinian fighters.”

Well, Mr. Fisk, since that is not reflected in your London Times article of August 23, 1982, here’s more to spur your biased memory: You presented the Palestinians leaving Beirut in heroic terms — “the closing moments of some Wagnerian epic.” Besides the living “Madonna” named Salma, you went on to describe “a guerrilla a few yards away kissing a small baby, its mother with her head in her hands, an older woman raising her arms towards the man’s face, an El Greco of beseeching eyes and hands… It was meant to be something of an epic departure… driving down to the port amid the lorry-loads of guerrillas, the whole affair had more in common with Fellini…”

Mother Theresa never looked so good.

Fisk, a self-proclaimed crusader for freedom of the press, resents free expression of the “supposedly outraged American ‘readers’” who have access to his biased reporting on the internet.

Fisk takes great pride in his computer illiteracy. He opens his May 29 column by declaring: “I don’t use the Internet. I’ve never sent an e-mail in my life.” Congratulations, Mr. Fisk. With all your backward leanings, you have nevertheless succeeded in bringing biased reporting into the 21st century.

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