Tanks come in two forms: dangerous, deadly kind and the liberating kind
November 1, 2020 2:04 PM   Subscribe

 
Line-by-line responses to blog posts and forum comments was named fisking after him, not necessarily respectfully. (Although if it was because people on Eric Raymond's end of the political spectrum disagreed with his opinions the respect was probably not worth earning.)
posted by at by at 2:33 PM on November 1, 2020 [8 favorites]


🎙️.
posted by clavdivs at 2:35 PM on November 1, 2020


.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:35 PM on November 1, 2020


.
posted by briank at 3:14 PM on November 1, 2020


.
posted by jquinby at 3:41 PM on November 1, 2020


I used to value greatly his articles in the independent when I read it in the 90s - his book In time of war about Irish neutrality in WW2 is a great read and still the best on the subject despite having been published near 40 years ago

.
posted by foleypt at 3:49 PM on November 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


.
posted by anadem at 4:12 PM on November 1, 2020


.
posted by dougzilla at 4:38 PM on November 1, 2020


.
posted by mahorn at 4:49 PM on November 1, 2020


.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:28 PM on November 1, 2020


.
posted by Pouteria at 5:29 PM on November 1, 2020


Putin’s an interesting guy: the three men in history I would like to interview are Conrad Black, Mussolini, and Putin, because of their importance as historical figures not for who they are or what they represent.
posted by ovvl at 6:02 PM on November 1, 2020


Another amazing reporter - really spoke truth to power in the 70s-90's..... who went off the rails towards the end of his life.

.
posted by lalochezia at 6:34 PM on November 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


Line-by-line responses to blog posts and forum comments was named fisking after him, not necessarily respectfully.

A good fisking consists of filling in every lie-by-omission your target has chosen to put in the paragraph you're responding to. Fisk produced lots of fisking fodder because that's inevitable when you 1. write about an ethnic conflict, 2. take a side, and 3. write anything shorter than 250 pages.
posted by ocschwar at 7:46 PM on November 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


who went off the rails towards the end of his life.

Any details? I only know him from reading his massive memoir/regional history, and that was some years ago.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:10 PM on November 1, 2020


A good fisking consists of filling in every lie-by-omission your target has chosen to put in the paragraph you're responding to.

Does anyone have examples of this handy?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:13 PM on November 1, 2020


A good fisking consists of filling in every lie-by-omission

I recall the word being adopted by the right-wing blogosphere after Fisk wrote about being beaten by a mob of Afghan refugees, intended to gloatingly associate their line-by-line pedantry with a virtual beating.

Here's a few sources I could dig up: 1 2 3 4
posted by Slogby at 10:05 PM on November 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:47 AM on November 2, 2020


.
posted by infini at 3:45 AM on November 2, 2020


The issue with Fisk's work is that he was widely rumoured to make things up. Thus Hugh Pope:
Sometimes something can worry you for years, and you don’t quite know what to do about it. Robert Fisk’s writing is one of those things for me. His stories are compellingly fluent, fabulously channel Middle Eastern victimhood, and satisfyingly cast grit in the eye of Western governments’ hypocrisy. And yet against this I always have to set my experience that, in one case that is personally important to me, the swirl of rumours about Fisk’s cavalier treatment of facts seems to be true.
And Jamie Dettmer:
Why does Fisk get away with it? It has been common knowledge for years among British and American reporters that Bob can just make things up or lift other’s work without attribution and embellish it. I recall him doing it to me on a story in Kuwait about the killings of Palestinians at the hands of Kuwaitis following the liberation of the emirate. I remember also the time Fisk filed a datelined Cairo story about a riot there when he was in fact at the time in Cyprus.
One could dismiss these rumours as professional jealousy from fellow-journalists (and, yes, it's true that they were repeated and amplified by right-wing bloggers eager to discredit Fisk's reputation). But they are troublingly persistent, and, for me, they do make it difficult to admire Fisk's work unreservedly, brave and eloquent though he was.
posted by verstegan at 4:19 AM on November 2, 2020 [8 favorites]


As a politically knowledgeable middle easterner i appreciated his uniquely well informed perspective. Imo one of the very few competent western reporters writing about the Middle East, and one of the very few whose reporting and think pieces actually aligned with my lived experience.
posted by shaademaan at 4:53 AM on November 2, 2020 [7 favorites]


they are troublingly persistent

Where there's smoke there's sometimes a couple of guys with a fog machine.

Vale, Robert Fisk.
posted by flabdablet at 4:55 AM on November 2, 2020 [6 favorites]


Further to verstegan’s comment above, Fisk has a very, shall we say spotted, reputation among mainstream defence and security writers. And not just the hard right-wing ones.
posted by Megami at 4:58 AM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]



Any details? I only know him from reading his massive memoir/regional history, and that was some years ago.


He became a tool of russian disinfo re: chemical warfare in syria

"It was scarcely a year since Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chlorine gas"
posted by lalochezia at 5:32 AM on November 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


Fisk was one of the few people acknowledging Palestinian personhood in the 70s and 80s, so of course he was smeared as a kook.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:25 AM on November 2, 2020 [11 favorites]


.
posted by chapps at 7:47 AM on November 2, 2020


Fisk has a very, shall we say spotted, reputation among mainstream defence and security writers.

Is this intended to be an endorsement?
posted by The Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger at 8:34 AM on November 2, 2020 [13 favorites]


.

Whatever happened later in life (and I like the man too much to dig into it, whatever that says about me), Pity the Nation occupied a full month of my life in the summer after college (constantly stopping, thinking, "Is that right?" Looking it up and discovering that yes, I was that ignorant), entirely changed my blasé both-sides thinking on Israel-Palestine, and was easily one of the best books I'd read before or have since.

Que te vaya bien, Robert
posted by TheProfessor at 3:12 PM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]


As someone who lived in the Arab Middle East for many years, I have complicated feelings about Fisk. On the one hand, it's really not great for journalists to make stuff up. Obvious, right? Especially when they are doing high stakes reporting.

On the other hand, most English language reporting of the region is astoundingly ignorant. and "mainstream defence and security writers" are for the most part ill-informed conduits for intelligence and security establishment messaging. If you purport to be a writer on security in the middle east and your only reliable sources are people in the CIA, you're just printing press-releases.
posted by atrazine at 2:11 AM on November 3, 2020 [5 favorites]



He became a tool of russian disinfo re: chemical warfare in syria


For reporting on the OPCW?
posted by moorooka at 1:02 PM on November 5, 2020


Can't find a link but found his acerbic writing entertaining. His description of being unable to pay for his gas bill as a young journalist informed me that journalism has always been a poorly paid profession.
The Great war for Civilization (Civilisation) was very grim and I stopped reading half way through.
posted by Narrative_Historian at 1:39 AM on November 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


Patrick Cockburn: Robert Fisk wasn’t only a magnificent journalist, but a ‘historian of the present’ who illuminated the world.
Media Lens: Death Of A ‘Controversial’ Journalist.
As John Pilger noted, in describing Fisk’s journalism as ‘controversial’ the Independent was using a ‘weasel word’.
posted by adamvasco at 10:50 AM on November 10, 2020


Without Fisk, we would know much less about the realities of that part of the Mid East. He may gotten increasingly willing to believe nonsense or perhaps made things up in later life, I really don't know, but he did good work at first. The people who hated him were generally fascists.
posted by chaz at 12:20 PM on November 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


Harsh words.
A British foreign press more interested in convenient and colourfully worded stories than in truth. 
Fabricator and fraudster
The fact that fabrications can so easily be found in Robert Fisk’s work destroys his legacy of award-winning reporting
posted by adamvasco at 3:10 PM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


Establishment journalists are piling on to smear Robert Fisk now he cannot answer back
posted by adamvasco at 3:12 AM on December 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


« Older Getting better at ballots   |   A sort of meta-newsletter, if you will Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments