Lack of deference is not equivalent to being truthful

Glenn Greenwald has a post on the clash between American pundit Tucker Carlson and British journalist Gerri Peev of The Scotsman. If you haven’t followed this story, here’s a synopsis: Peev interviewed Samantha Power, a foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama. In the interview Power called Hillary Clinton a “monster”. Power was then basically required to resign. In a televised interview with Peev, Carlson took umbrage at the fact that Power had asked Peev to scrub the comment from the interview. Peev responded saying no such “off the record” agreement had been made and the tapes were rolling — too bad for Power.

In his piece, Greenwald compares the deferential attitude of the American media (in general, not just newspapers) to the lack of such deference in the British media; Greenwald links to numerous clips of Paxman making politicians look foolish.

While my completely unquantiative and purely subjective view is that this difference between American and British press is right (and perhaps even the wider media), I think Greenwald, and others, should be careful not confuse a lack of deference for an honest pursuit of ‘the truth’. British newspaper journalists might laud the fact that their ‘trade’ has not succombed to the self-importance of being a ‘profession’ and so perhaps remaining more ‘inquisitive’; but time and again, they have been shown to been outright liars, frauds and hypocrites. I don’t think we have anything to crow about in Britain when it comes to journalistic standards.

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