Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jounalists making a stand

Journalists come up with the excuse that if a public figure won't answer a question then it is pointless to press the issue. I disagree. If more journalists pressed home points like this, we might actually get some answers.

This is not about the subject matter particularly, but how England's Channel 4 reporter would not be fudged off. He was due a round of applause for his efforts, and those of you in Australia who saw the Denton interview with the retired US reporter may remember her doing something similar. Of course that I liked his voice and accent has nothing to do with it.

Well done Alex Thomson of Channel 4.

The audio is great and can be found here on August the 14th. You can read the full transcript here.

Here is a paste of the relevant part. Karen Barlow was the reporter.

ALEX THOMSON: I'm asking the IOC if they are in any way embarrassed about the manifest failure on behalf of the Chinese Government to keep their promises?

It's a very straightforward question. Are you embarrassed?

GISELLE DAVIES: We are very proud of the fact that these games are progressing with spectacular sport, spectacular sports venues, operationally running very smoothly. And that's what we're here focusing on.

ALEX THOMSON: I'm asking you whether you're embarrassed, I'm not asking about how well the Games have been run or how wonderful the venues are. Are you embarrassed?

GISELLE DAVIES: I think I've answered your question by explaining.

ALEX THOMSON: I don't think anyone in this room. I may speak, I may be stepping out of line but I don't think anybody thinks you've answered the question.

Is the IOC embarrassed about the Chinese Government not keeping those promises.

KAREN BARLOW: The journalist Alex Thomson from the British Channel 4 news had to bat away volunteers trying to take his microphone away from him.

He was left with no answer about the IOC's possible state of embarrassment.

Wang Wei from BOCOG stepped in.

WANG WEI: I think a few, a very few people come here to pick, to be critical, to dig into the small details, to find fault with that. That does not mean we are not fulfilling our promise. So I think the whole country can see how China is progressing. How China is genuinely welcoming the world to China, to enjoy everything with us.


  1. British reporters...the most tenacious in the world, Andrew. If you think that was fun, try this one on for size:

  2. Anonymous9:21 am

    China has still got a long way to go in the treatment of their own peoples, before they can welcome the rest of the world. Why is corruption so rampent in the asian world - especially communist ones where theor doctrines are so against it.
    Lets hope they dont become the super power as peoples believe they will.

  3. Tap dancing is no danger of becoming extinct ;)

  4. Excellent Brian. The Boris on the Buses was good too. Although measures need to be taken everywhere, English journalists seem much more tenacious. I would go for three strikes, interview terminated. If all journos followed suit, interviewees would fall into line.

    I think corruption is rampant in undeveloped countries, rather than just Asian ones Anon. I am not an apologist for China, but they have improved in that area, with a long way to go yet. If they become a super power, we must make sure that they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo Australia.

    It is like that Jayne.

  5. Anonymous12:41 pm

    Don't flirt with democracy in China, Andrew.

  6. Regardless of whether you are being flippant or not Reuben, I am not convinced democracy as we know it is appropriate for such a huge and diverse country.

  7. I think it is sad and it makes me feel sick to think that these people believe we would believe the crap they say... if you got my drift.
    I love the Olympics' sports, but this time I cannot wait for the athletes to arrive home safely, and the journo's too.

  8. They have turned the media interview into a farce Cazzie. Don't worry, I am sure they will all get home safely.

  9. Anonymous7:22 pm

    I beg to differ, Andrew. It's not as if being democratic and just is some kind of blasphemy. It won't hurt their economy (not that any pain felt will impact them anyway). What do you propose instead? Continue the obvious abuse of human rights? Allow for economic tyranny?

  10. I have watched a large and developing democratic country for a long time, that is India, and I think I know which country I would choose to live in if I was dirt poor and it would be China. When judging countries, I can never get past how the least fortunate are treated.

  11. Anonymous5:55 pm

    If you can't get passed that, it must be pretty hard to walk into regions of China where the Tibetan population exist.