Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It's the story: Facts and journalism

"look, don't try to get me to say something I don't believe in"
-Wolf Burnett, marathoner and former Olympic torch bearer.

I heard an interview with Wolf Burnett on the CBC local morning radio show. The host, Mike Finnerty had been trying to get Mr.Burnett to admit there was a political aspect to the Olympic torch relay. This of course in reference to the protests on behalf of Tibet.

The point is that journalist frames the story, rather than reporting. The most egregious example is the Fox news slogan "We report.You decide" Fox regularly beggar's the question by their choices of what they report. But virtually all news gatherers recontextualise news to suit their own "tribal" bias.

Although I feel Mr.Burnett is mistaken that the Olympics is about peace and freedom, I don't appreciate hearing 84 year old holocaust survivors being badgered by journalists. The truth is, the CBC couldn't get an interview with anyone else, say a spokesperson from the Chinese consulate, who would offer a more germane argument as to why the Olympics isn't political. Again the the Olympics have always had political biases . The Third Reich used the 1936 Olympics to promote its racist ideologies(and failed), and the Warsaw Pact nations used them to trumpet its social successes under communist rule.

But the interview this morning was a cheap shot. I'm glad Wolf Burnett called the interviewer on it.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster