Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"They came in their thousands..."

A couple of weeks ago Glasgow Herald columnist Melanie Reid attacked the cliched, simplistic and exploitative victim journalism employed by BBC reporters in Lebanon. She offered as the prime example “the McGonagall of grief... Fergal Keane, BBC pain and suffering correspondent”. Spot on.

The article inspired this letter on August 3:
I've been thinking for months that the BBC must send correspondents to special courses to be taught that unique, depressing intonation. It also appears mandatory that any incident involving more than three people must start with "They came to . . . " I watched Orla Guerin two nights ago, who has been moved from Iraq to Congo. Despite reporting the inherently good news that Congo was having its first elections in decades, she still managed to depress me. Best of all, as soon as I heard her name, I knew the report would start "They came in their . . . XYZ" and I was not disappointed...

Neil Brownlee, Rodney Street, Edinburgh.
Since then, Guerin has of course moved on to Lebanon. Here, once again, is her wilfully misleading report from August 14. Guess what her opening words are?

(Trouble loading? Try here.)

(This Guerin report is currently today's fifth most-linked news and blog item on You Tube)


Anonymous Verity said...

The MacGonagall of grief, the Beeb's "pain and suffering correspondent". Give that woman a medal and a £5,000 bonus! That was funny!

4:26 pm  
Anonymous Verity said...

PS - so was the Orla Guerrin piece, having been briefed on it by Melanie Reed. I couldn't stop laughing. Poor Orla is done for as a ME correspondent.

4:48 pm  
Anonymous Clematis Fraudster said...

No she isn't, Verity. The BBC will defend her to the hilt, even though she has 'previous' (her local difficulties with the IDF and her 'Israel stole 38 years' quip come to mind).

Her posting to Lebanon makes about as much sense as the BBC sending Melanie Phillips to smashed-up part of Haifa and expecting her to remain an impartial, disinterested observer.

The BBC would be more likely to send Mel to Gaza, however.

6:22 pm  
Anonymous La Boheme said...

"Keaning over victims".


6:42 pm  

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