Memo to John Pilger

November 14, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Barack Obama | 5 Comments

Dear John,

No, this isn’t a break-up letter – you and I were never that close.

I’d first like to say that I’m the last person to begrudge you your regular binges of old man miserablism; it just wouldn’t be the same if The Most Historic Election Ever© had turned you, overnight, into some simpering, hope-smoking little sunbeam. No, we like your curmudeonly commentary just the way it is, and on those ever-decreasing occasions when you leave the armchair to do some actual reporting, it can be a delight to read.

But as someone who’s had a few informal brushes with journalism in the past, including a coveted stint as a ‘local news correspondent’ for the Barnsley Chronicle (I had to write 100 word reports about the village bowls club. That I never won the Orwell Prize is a scandal), I feel a duty to address something which is close to every crusading journo’s heart – accuracy.

Y’see, as you tried manfully to smother all those eruptions of liberal joy at the outcome of the US election, you become a little liberal yourself. In the truth department, at least. Allow me to demonstrate:

Obama’s first two crucial appointments represent a denial of the wishes of his supporters on the principal issues on which they voted. The vice-president-elect, Joe Biden, is a proud warmaker and Zionist. Rahm Emanuel, who is to be the all-important White House chief of staff, is a fervent “neoliberal” devoted to the doctrine that led to the present economic collapse and impoverishment of millions. He is also an “Israel-first” Zionist who served in the Israeli army and opposes meaningful justice for the Palestinians – an injustice that is at the root of Muslim people’s loathing of the US and the spawning of jihadism.

First of all, I’m not sure how many wars Joe Biden has ‘made’, nor how many of those he’s particularly ‘proud’ of; I somehow doubt that he keeps photo albums of armed conflicts to show to disinterested houseguests and make comments like “ooh, wasn’t that one a little beauty?!”

Then there’s the bit about Obama’s new Chief of Staff and his time in the Israeli army. Sure, I can understand what you’re trying to say – Obama is such a stooge of Zionism that ‘they’ even forced him to hire a Chief of Staff who personally smites Palestinians in his spare time.

One slight snag, though, John. It’s. Just. Not. True:

Emanuel is an observant Jew who did not, contrary to some of the mythology that has grown around him, serve in the Israeli army. Rather, Emanuel in 1991 volunteered for a few weeks in a program run by the Israeli army where civilians could help the Israel Defense Force with support work on an army base.

Should you possess the kind of ego to read the rantings of low-ranking bloggers, my advice would be to learn the art of patience. At the time of writing, there are just 66 days until Barack Obama becomes President, and I’m confident that it won’t be long after he’s sworn in that he’s making the kinds of decisions which fully-earn your scorn & contempt. Then you’ll finally have substantive case against the Changey One and won’t have to resort to just making stuff up.

All the best,




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  1. Heh!

  2. […] Neil Robertson points out other factual inaccuracies in Pilger’s diatribe.   |   Trackback link   |   Add to […]

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  4. […] a comment » Whilst yesterday’s post was little more than an extended snark with the childish subtext of “I know something you […]

  5. […] Neil Robertson points out other factual inaccuracies in Pilger’s […]

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