Wednesday, June 29, 2011


It's not that often that I agree with Age editorials on the subject of Israel but I have to say that I was at one with yesterday's piece entitled Israel should uphold press freedom until I reached the last sentence of the fourth paragraph when it referred to the fact that Fairfax journalist Paul McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty were among media on board last year's flotilla to Gaza:

The value of their work was recognised when McGeough received the 2010 Walkley Award for best print news report.
That was the point where reason departed and the editorial turned into bullshit. McGeough's work might have been recognised by the Walkley people but the accuracy of the report, its truth and its value as a piece of journalism is strongly disputed. Many would maintain that it was mere propaganda

Don’t believe me?

Then please read the transcript of an exchange between McGeough and comedian Sandy Gutman during a recent episode of the ABC’s Q & A in response to a question from a member of the audience.

PAUL BLANKET: Yes, my question is to Paul McGeough. In your news article on the Gaza flotilla, you stated that the Israeli Navy 'hunted like hyenas'. Where do you see the line should be drawn in factual journalism, between reporting the news accurately and factually and creating an emotional atmosphere, stirring up anti-Israel opinion?

PAUL MGEOUGH: I didn't talk about the Israeli troops hunting like hyenas. I talked about the moment of the boats on the water, dark shadows before dawn, moving on the water as being like the movement of hyenas hunting, which is a very different analogy.

SANDY GUTMAN: No, it isn't. It's the same thing.

PAUL MGEOUGH: No, it's not.

SANDY GUTMAN: It's exactly the same thing.

PAUL MGEOUGH: No, because the argument...

SANDY GUTMAN: You're trying to vilify the Israeli Navy. That's what you're trying to do.

PAUL MGEOUGH: No, the argument is being made is that here was me saying that Israeli human beings as individuals were hyenas and I wasn't.

SANDY GUTMAN: But where were you? Weren't you on a smaller vessel? Weren't you on the Challenger?

PAUL MGEOUGH: I was on – yes. Yes.

SANDY GUTMAN: So how could you see them hunting like hyenas?

PAUL MGEOUGH: Because they were moving around our boat too. They were moving around all...

SANDY GUTMAN: Oh, right. That's when you went down underneath there somewhere. Didn't you go into the cabin or something?

PAUL MGEOUGH: We were taken down into the cabin after the Israeli troops came on board but I was watching the boats from the flying bridge.


Read McGeough's pathetic response to the question as you wish but to me they are very much weasel words until I see evidence of the first sighting in the Mediterannean of a swimming hyena.

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