Monday, 22 August 2011

Good old Sky's Alex. A real journo for the 21st century

When I was a kid and even later and we had wars and journalists went out to cover them, they looked the part. There they stood, usually at the side of a beaten-up old jeep, generally in the desert sand, microphone in hand, explaining to us mere mortals what had been happening in their parallel universe. We could almost smell the shrapnel and the cordite. We experienced the sand in our eyes; the glare from the sun glinting off the camera into the shiny sunglasses worn by our romantic reporter. Nowadays we viewers tend to see our TV journos in the front of SUVs or Range Rovers, together with the rebels of whatever confrontation they are covering. You see, there's no impartiality any more.

There's no greater demonstration of this than the BBC's man-in-Tripoli, our Rupert of the double-barrelled nomenclature. There he was last night and this morning and basically throughout the rest of the day, in the back of the jeep, with the 'rebels,' on his way into Tripoli along the seafront, exclaiming just 'how peaceful it was,' until the cars in the front of the convoy were 'attacked!.' Well, jolly dee. Isn't that what happens in a war. He was so upset, he was, in his flak jacket and helmet and various bits and pieces strewn across his brave chest. 'Run, run!' he screamed, or was it turn, turn!' Or even, sod-this-for-a-laugh, let's get out of here... In any event we viewers were privy to his fear. We almost saw his legs turn to jelly as the sound of gunfire came close and his jeep jumped around like a jelly bean on acid. Off they turned, either into or out of the sunshine. You couldn't tell. Pity, really, because I was just getting a good look at downtown Tripoli and, apart from the gaggle of 'rebels', it looked quite nice, all considering.

So that then brings us on to Sky's very brave and all-purpose Alex Crawford. She's been there forever. She must speak Arabic fluently by now. Off topic though is how well all those guys she's been interviewing speak English. Amazing how many we've educated here in the UK. Or could it be that the really, really nasty dictator that they're just about to heave-ho, managed to have a good English language school there? Anyway. Alex. Gosh. There she was this afternoon. She was interviewing a doctor in the 'only hospital left standing.' She'd taken off her helmet. Poor thing. Did you see her hair? I hope that Sky send in a hairdresser to her. Looks like she hadn't washed it in weeks. And her face! She had panda eyes! And her skin! All sunburnt she was. But that's the price of being in the front of the action. Not leading from behind like the BBC. I think she was jolly good. In spite of her flak jacket and her silly helmet and the bits and pieces strewn around her jacket and hanging out of her pockets. She looked like a real war journalist. Hemingway would be proud.

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