Monday, December 27, 2010

Foreign Correspondents: Then & Now

That was then:

"I read my father's conservative Daily Telegraph from cover to cover, always the foreign reports, lying on the floor beside the fire as my mother pleaded with me to drink my cocoa and go to bed. At school I studied The Times each afternoon. I ploughed through Khrushchev's entire speech denouncing Stalin's reign of terror. I won the school Current Affairs prize and never - ever - could anyone shake me from my determination to be a foreign correspondent. When my father suggested I should study law or medicine, I walked from the room. When he asked a family friend what I should do, the friend asked me to imagine I was in a courtroom. Would I want to be the lawyer or the reporter on the press bench, he asked me. I said I would be the reporter and he told my father: 'Robert is going to be a journalist'. I wanted to be one of the 'soldiers of the press'." (The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, Robert Fisk, 2005, p xix)

This is... *sigh* ... now:

"Ben Knight enjoyed a spectacularly unsuccessful academic career, spending several years working in bottle shops and supermarkets, before somehow landing a short-term job with the ABC in his hometown of Mildura as a radio producer. A few years later, he stopped worrying that someone was going to tap him on the shoulder and tell him there had been a horrible mistake, and moved to Melbourne to host the ABC's daily statewide morning show. Bouncing around jobs in radio current affairs, TV news, and The 7.30 Report - even presenting the weather in order to get his face on TV - he suddenly realised his long-repressed dream of a foreign correspondent's job might be within reach. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two children, and is enjoying every minute of it." (Ben Knight,, 17/12/09)

Sometimes repression has a lot going for it.


Syd Walker said...

I guess it goes to show the most beautiful hasbara can be written on and by blank pages.

The less history 'foreign correspondents' know the better if they cover middle eastern affairs from Israel. Talking points, spin, compulsory blind spots - all are provided in thorough on-the-job training at the Mark Regev Academy for Slavering Zionist Stooges.

Allan "Alfie" said...

i think it's a bit unfair to compare the two autobiographical accounts given ben knight's is deliberately self-deprecating.
while he takes the piss out of himself i'm sure his ambitions to report from places like the middle east were less than "repressed", perhaps he is just humble. it wouldn't have been as easy as he made it sound, i think you need 10 years journalism experience to be a corro at abc.
i see your point that times have changed though, robert fisk is the sort of reporter we aren't likely to see again! cheers