May 07, 2004

Aaronovitch wrong: official

Get this. This is Corrections and clarifications in The Guardian. today: "In David Aaronovitch's report from Iraq, headlined So this is free Baghdad (G2, page 2, April 9), he said: "There are six, maybe 700 people outside the hotel ... where Saddam's statue was brought down ... This same demonstration that I witnessed was, according to Naomi Klein, composed of several thousand people, who were fired on by Iraqi army units, who killed four." In fact, Naomi Klein did not say that fire from Iraqi army units had killed four people. She said that there were reports of three demonstrators killed at a protest that took place the day before." So let's take stock of this. David Aaronovitch managed to get the number of the dead and the day they were killed wrong. These things happen. But this happened in a report about a recent report published in The Guardian. and this from a man who poured scorn on, the admittedly scornable, Michael Moore, for owning up to inaccuracy thus "How can there be inaccuracy in comedy?" Seemed fair enough to me especially when you consider the factual inaccuracies in Aaronovitch's writing. I don't have time for many now but my personal favourite was Aaronovitch using the death of an ANC stalwart to condemn a suicide bomber so: "Meanwhile, in South Africa, they mourned the death of Walter Sisulu, who lived a long life, showed a distinct lack of enthusiasm for violence, and was one of the greatest revolutionaries of the past 100 years. It's a shame that Sharif [the bomber] never met him." Shame Aaronovitch didn't either. Walter Sisulu was the founder the military wing of the African National Congress: Umkonto we Sizwe. (Spear of the Nation). The liberal Guardian. keeps Aaronovitch as an illiberal irritant. Surely they could get a more accurate one. Perhaps Richard Littlejohn's too expensive.

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