When journalists are the enemy…

…there is something very wrong. Two news items which have troubled this Headlifer today. The first is the drama surrounding the England cricket team’s (non-)tour of Zimbabwe. The latest news is that the England team have just returned to their hotel from Johannesburg airport from where they were due to fly to Harare. Instead, the whole tour is in doubt because the Zimbabwe government has banned British journalists from travelling with the team. Such action is just not, er, cricket. When a government starts clamping down on the free press you know that there is something fishy about them. Not that that was in any doubt with Mugabe.

Which is why I find the demonisation of journalists in the so-called Free World very worrying. Who knows why Dan Rather is retiring. Perhaps he just wants to play golf, but the stench of Rathergate hangs like a cloud over him. Rather made a mistake, as did the BBC when reporting on Blair’s dodgy dossier and the whole David Kelly affair. The chief of the BBC duly resigned. As this forum has often noted, journalists are not without their biases. But when journalists make mistakes they seem to admit them, suggesting that at its core the profession maintains a sense of honour.

Not so with politicians. Whilst journos take the heat for their mistakes, politicians today never admit mistakes and never resign. As Lancer is wont to say, “the wrong heads are rolling”.

(P.S. Regarding the cricket: why is it so difficult for the British government to take a stance on this issue when boycotting apartheid South Africa came so easy. Is white-led apartheid more reprehensible than black? But that’s another post.)

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