Category: Alerts 2014
- Created on 09 July 2014
- 11 July 2014
On July 4, Independence Day in the United States, Channel 4 News broadcast a Jon Snow interview with Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State and presumed presidential candidate. For a self-proclaimed 'pinko liberal' like Snow, this was a glorious opportunity to ask hard-hitting questions about US foreign policy and Clinton's own role in shoring up the American Empire.
In the event, the interview was largely a series of soft questions, culminating in a cosy epilogue about Clinton looking forward to being a granny. As John Hilley of the Zenpolitics blog observed, it was 'a safely-moderated version [of what] passes for "probing journalism".'
'Where', asked Hilley, 'was the serious indictment of US-directed murder and mayhem in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria? What of Washington's protection of terror state Saudi Arabia?'
Why did Snow ask Clinton a loaded question about the West's supposed 'failure' to press Israel on illegal settlements; as though the US, in particular, is a hapless and helpless bystander to Israel's major international crimes?
'why didn't Snow highlight America's role as a principal and criminal supporter of Israel, and specify the $3 billion a year it gifts the Israeli state to continue its brutal military occupation? Why didn't he call out the US as a fundamental cause of the problem, and grill Clinton on her own complicit part in that "failure"?'
Also deeply unimpressed by Snow's performance was Media Lens reader Ed Murray. He sent the journalist a scathing email in which he described the interview as 'a party political broadcast on behalf of the American Imperialist Party.'
We highlighted Murray's email via Twitter:
'An uncomfortable email for @jonsnowC4 to read - which he will likely ignore or brush away.'
Snow chose the second option:
'Intriguingly, Media Lens post delightfully critical material, but no option to reply!'
This was a peculiar, clodhopping response from a veteran journalist with, one might think, the skills to navigate resources and dig out information. But somehow Snow had missed that Media Lens has a messageboard where he is welcome to post, an email address to contact us, and a lively Facebook page. He could have replied to our 'delightfully critical material' on Twitter. He could even have responded via his own Channel 4 blog which reaches a national, indeed global, audience. Instead, he went for another diversionary tactic:
'Media Lens: 18,000 Tweets; 14,000 followers/ JSnow 8,500 Tweets 424,000 folowers:If only you were more constructive, you might help!'
This turgid display of Twitter willy-waving was, as more polite and erudite readers pointed out, merely argumentum ad populum. By Snow's logic, perhaps we should bow down before the political wisdom of Justin Bieber (27,200 tweets and 52.7 million followers) or perhaps the remarkably tweet-efficient Beyoncé (only 8 tweets, but a stonking 13.4 million followers).