Friday, February 25, 2011
“Arresting” Lieberman: Journalism or Activism?
On Feb. 22, Irish “journalist” David Cronin attempted a citizen’s arrest of Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the start of a press conference at the EU in Brussels. Cronin shouted: “Mister Lieberman this is a citizen’s arrest. You are charged with the crime of apartheid” while accusing Israel of being an apartheid state. Video footage of the incident can be viewed below:According to The Guardian’s report of the incident:
Cronin, a freelance journalist who has written for the Economist, the Inter Press Service news agency and the Guardian’s Comment is Free, was restrained by security guards and escorted from the building, shouting “Free Palestine”.
Can Cronin really be described as a “freelance journalist”? These are not the actions of a credible, honest media professional. Cronin’s actions are an abuse of the access granted to him and others with press credentials.
Perhaps it is unsurprising to see that Cronin contributes to The Guardian, a newspaper that has itself blurred the lines between journalism and activism with its coverage of the Palileaks.
We were also surprised when we saw the story on our Google RSS Reader, which we use to keep track of articles from so many media outlets. Take a closer look at the authors of the article.
Could it be that The Guardian allowed David Cronin to co-author a news item about an incident in which he was the key player? There is no evidence of this on The Guardian’s website. Yet, an RSS feed does not make errors independently from the original source material that it reproduces.
Which leaves us with one question: Innocent slip up that required a swift correction or an intentional cover-up of an unethical piece of reporting?
Update – 25 Feb: David Cronin himself has added the following in the comments section below: “I can confirm that I did NOT co-author the article in The Guardian to which you referred.”
At what point does journalism become activism? In this case, Cronin clearly crossed the line. Indeed, the Arab-Israeli conflict is one prime example of two competing narratives where not only have many journalists accepted one of those narratives but are actively promoting one side over the other.
We hope that The Guardian and other mainstream media outlets will not publish any of David Cronin’s writing on any subject related to Israel. With The Guardian, however, we suspect that Cronin’s outburst will only endear him to the paper’s editorial team.