Well, actually, you know Owen?

Watt’s treatment provoked justified outrage among his peers. “These sorts of encounters are becoming commonplace for reporters in #ageofrage,” was how Sky News’ presenter Adam Boulton put it. While he is right to be concerned, to contextualise the event as part of a generalised “age of rage” is misplaced. There is a difference between irritating online debate on all sides of the political spectrum, and physical harassment of journalists carried out by the far right.

Physical harassment of journalists – by anyone, whether of the right or the left – isn’t actually the point. It’s that physical harassment is the wrong thing.

Sure, journalists – I guess I can include myself among that number now – like to think of themselves as pure and wondrous and defenders of this and that and different. But the offences are violence against the person, ABH, GBH, things like that. They’re offences whether carried out against a journalist, a janitor or a Juventudi. The offence is the violence, the harassment, not the person it is being carried out against.

This even being true if you are Andy Ngo.

We even have phrases which encompass this idea, civil liberty, human rights perhaps. The important part of that second being the human bit – they’re things that apply to everyone, not just those self-proclaimed to be doing socially useful activities.

22 thoughts on “Well, actually, you know Owen?”

  1. only saw a clip of Nick exiting post haste. But whoever the guy is or what he’s been charged for the defence presumably will make much hay of the policeman seeing all this and then shrugging his shoulders.

  2. I’ve watched the video of the incident & couldn’t see any indication the guy was physically harassed. Verbally harassed, no doubt. In which case, so what? We’ve seen enough examples of journalists verbally harassing people who don’t want to give them interviews. What’s the difference? Because they’re journalists? Is the guy a journalist? Journalist used to mean someone who went & reported the facts. Do we still have them? Nowadays they seem more interested in creating a narrative agrees with whatever particular position they’ve already adopted. Like not reporting on lock-down protests. Or making a BBC misinformation disseminator getting verballed the story of this one.
    As for Little Owen Jones. He should know the difference between physically & verbally. Since a couple of well meaning citizens roughed him up outside a London pub.

  3. Presumably Owen is OK with harassment of journalists carried out by the far left? Or Methodist extremists?

  4. “These sorts of encounters are becoming commonplace for reporters in #ageofrage,”

    Maybe they should do some investigative journalism to figure out why they deserve it.

  5. bloke in spain,

    “Journalist used to mean someone who went & reported the facts. Do we still have them? Nowadays they seem more interested in creating a narrative agrees with whatever particular position they’ve already adopted.”

    The problem is that you don’t need journalists to report facts any longer. Anyone can report facts. If you want to know what Number 10 is doing, just follow their Twitter. Just telling you what Boris announced is worthless.

    What they could do to add value is to add analysis of the news, but that’s not what the skills of the journalists from these institutions were. It was mostly about writing for a space, or in the case of TV, being presentable, doing a piece that fits a time slot and not having dead air.

    It’s why the people who did the serious investigation work into the Wuhan Lab Leak was led by a data analyst from a bank.

  6. “civil liberty”: OK

    “human rights”: bollocks, nobody has any rights simply by virtue of being human. Unfounded philosophy/theology turned into preposterous law.

  7. @ BiS:

    Journalist used to mean someone who went & reported the facts.

    A Journalist is now someone who reports on stories that advance the Establishment’s narrative, and ignores ones that don’t. See also: muslim rape gangs, black and Asian violent crime rates, BLM and AntiFa violence etc, etc….

  8. The job of a journalist involves asking inconvenient questions. There used to be a tacit understanding that this may result in lumps, bumps, and possibly concrete overshoes when you dig where sane people wouldn’t.

    Somehow modern “journalists” seem to have forgotten that second bit, and seem to consider their method of making money at the inconvenience of others as some Divine Right.
    They aren’t getting nearly enough lumps and bumps. The herd needs thinning, and there’s a better than even chance that this may even give us better reporters.

  9. There was a time when what are now called journalists were known as reporters. It was seen as a craft and not a profession. You certainly didn’t need a degree to be a reporter. The term “journalist” to me adds a connotation of putting your thoughts and opinions into whatever you are writing. This is not what I am looking for in news.

  10. @dearieme
    “human rights”: bollocks, nobody has any rights simply by virtue of being human. Unfounded philosophy/theology turned into preposterous law.

    If this is true, then please tell me where the Left is wrong in what they espouse? It would seem to be the case of what Rights you have are enforced by you and your mates with pointy sticks against them and their mates with pointy sticks.

  11. @bis The lions are already pretty much overbooked, aren’t they? Aren’t they at risk of getting clogged arteries by now?

    Then again… A couple of objective examples… See if the sense of self-preservation hasn’t completely been bred out of that lot… Tempting…

  12. I wonder how the old style war reporter bragging about near misses and perilous situations would fit in with the current woke mob.

  13. Grikath: Plenty of other useful predators to train up. The Russians have a head start on this where they bred foxes in two groups. The group bred for ‘nice’ characteristics turned into lovable puppies. The group bred for nasty characteristics turned into an approximation of the teeth that burst from John Hurt’s stomach.

  14. @Tractor Gent.. You mean like the ferrets, badgers, and other mustelids ? I thought we reserved those for people we really don’t like…

    But rabid russian foxes sounds like a decent alternative.. 😉

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Grikath
    June 19, 2021 at 2:34 pm
    The job of a journalist involves asking inconvenient questions. There used to be a tacit understanding that this may result in lumps, bumps, and possibly concrete overshoes when you dig where sane people wouldn’t.”

    One of the BBCs political journalists told a story on his retirement about when he was a young reporter he was assigned to one of Harold Wilson’s tours. Wilson was rushing for a train and said reporter, having been warned not to, asked an impertinent question about some scandal or other. Wilson promptly turned round and thumped the reporter hard in the chest and knocked him over.

  16. Every journalist I have ever met has had an extremely highly developed sense of self-importance.

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