“Mouse journalism”

Robert Fisk, speaking in London yesterday about reporting in Iraq:

“It has got to the stage where, for example, when I went to have a look at the scene of a huge bomb in a bus station, I jumped out of the car and took two pictures before I was surrounded by a crowd of enraged Iraqis.

“I jumped back in the car and fled. I call that ”˜mouse journalism’ — and that’s all we can do now.

“If I go to see someone in any particular location, I give myself 12 minutes, because that is how long I reckon it takes a man with a mobile phone to summon gunmen to the scene in a car.

“So, after 10 minutes I am out. Don’t be greedy. That’s what reporting is like in Iraq.”

“This country is now hell – a disaster. You cannot imagine how bad it is. Nothing of the reporting I see generally, except The Guardian and Patrick Cockburn in The Independent, really conveys the absolute agony and distress of Iraq.

“The Ministry of Health, which is partly run by Americans, will not give out any figures for civilian casualties; staff are just not allowed to give us these figures.”

This weekend’s referendum will save Iraq. War is peace. Saddam’s (possible) trial will crush the insurgency. The “Coalition” troops will only remain as long as the “independent” Iraqi government asks.

Fisk sets the record straight: “This is a war the like of which I have never reported before.”

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