Today I link to something that I did not enjoy reading, just to illustrate a point. It is a truly poor article by one Niles Gardiner in the Telegraph.
I point out merely in passing that the first few hundred overwhelmingly negative comments were deleted by the Telegraph. But the real reason I link is the significance of the strapline:
He appears frequently on American and British television and radio, including Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.
I bet he does. He has no international diplomatic experience, no knowledge of international law and very little experience of the hotspots of the world. But he is fully armed with the set of opinions those news outlets want their readers to hear.
Absolutely anybody can write this rubbish. Just string these elements together:
Poor little Israel. Threatened from all sides. Nazi Germany. Islamic terrorism. Hamas. Anti-semitism. Brutal Jihadists. Self defence. The right to return. Only democracy in the Middle East. Self defence. Iranian President threat to wipe off map. 8,000 Hamas rockets. Alliance of liberals, commies and islamists. 9/11. Chopping off hands. Subjugation of women. Taliban. Clash of civilisations. Existential threat. Self defence.
I could churn this stuff out easily and be on Fox, Sky and BBC as often as I like. I could pick up a fat salary like Nick Cohen for a weekly column of this stuff, and pocket the Rupert Murdoch TV fees as an extra. I could sit in a think tank. I would certainly be a great deal more qualified, and a great deal more convincing, than Niles pisspoor Gardiner. I write a lot better too.
But then I am handicapped by morality.
Which reminds me. Having followed the media coverage of the Israeli action very carefully, have you noticed what seems a complete absence on TV of bona fide experts in maritime law?
Normally live news brings in “experts” at the drop of a hat to fill in the 24/7 broadcasting, but despite the fact that professors of international law specialising in the law of the sea are not exactly hard to find, no TV station has asked one about the legality of the Israeli action.
That is because the martime law community is unanimous that the Israeli action is illegal.