Rosemary Woods, Meet Emma Brockes


The Guardian's Emma Brockes, here shown re-enacting how she accidentally, inadvertently, "partially recorded over" the "most contentious" eighteen-and-a-half minute segment of the audiotape from her interview with Noam Chomsky in his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005.

"My heel must have gotten caught on one of the electrical switches," Brockes explained.  "Before I knew it, the segment where Chomsky denied the genocide in Bosnia and denied that the Srebrenica massacre was a massacre had been recorded over."  




Had The Guardian wanted to be scrupulously fair to everyone interested in reporter Emma Brockes's actual interview with fellow ZNet blogger Noam Chomsky—as opposed to the selective and damning version of the interview constructed by Brockes et al. and published last Halloween—The Guardian would have made a transcript of the complete interview available to the public at some point.  Certainly by no later than November 1, 2005.


But The Guardian never did make a transcript available.  Either because a transcript truly can not be produced. (See par. 17 of the "External Ombudsman Report," where John Willis writes that "The original interview was tape recorded but unfortunately the tape has been partially recorded over.  A transcript of sorts exists but the most contentious section of the interview was not available on tape.  No one seems to doubt that this was genuine."—Though I must say right here that Willis' explanation sounds as if straight out of Richard Nixon's days in the Oval Office.)  Or because one or more principals behind Emma Brockes's mock interview with NC decided at some stage against making a complete transcript available—and saw to it therefore that no copy of the original audiotape would survive on the basis of which a transcript could be made. 


Either way, however, it was The Guardian that permitted the affair to devolve into a case of "He said — She said." 

But beyond this, I still believe that it's worth speculating that the Halloween version of the interview betrayed a pre-determined agenda on Brockes et al.'s part.  For how else could an approx. 60-minute interview in NC's office at MIT wind up producing the version of it that The Guardian eventually did publish—in particular, the published version's focus on the wars over the former Yugoslavia, NC's belief about these wars, the accusations of "genocide" denial with respect to them, and the like?  You know.  As if this were, if not the whole point of the 60-minute MIT interview, at least its primary focus?

My hunch all along has been that the agenda of Brockes et al. going in was to bait NC on issues pertaining to the former Yugoslavia over which Brockes et al. were determined to "catch" him.  And in order to carry this out, baiting inquiries about Diana Johnstone's superb work on the former Yugoslavia, and NC's relation to it, also were used.

Just look at the cast of characters who seized upon the Halloween version of the interview, and The Guardian's eventual Nov. 17 "correction" with respect to it.  (See, e.g., the 25 signatures affixed to "Srebrenica — defending the truth," Marko Attila Hoare et al., Bosnia Report, December – March, 2006; and, of course, the three authors of "Chomsky, The Guardian and Bosnia," David Aaronovitch, Oliver Kamm, and Francis Wheen (as posted to the Ollie Kamm weblog on March 20, 2006).)


Emma Brockes went into her MIT interview with NC with the intent of doing something similar to what she eventually did in the Halloween version of this mock interview.  The fact that, somehow or other, the audiotape of the interview is alleged to have been inadvertently erased—but especially what the External Ombudsman refers to as the “the most contentious section of the interview”—is simply too convenient to be believed.  So, last Halloween, The Guardian published a hatchet job on NC.  And The Guardian used the kind of material dearest to the people who executed it—the wars over the former Yugoslavia, administering to NC the Bosnia “genocide” and Srebrenia massacre tests, and baiting him to denounce Srebrenica massacre and Bosnia genocide "deniers” such as Diana Johnstone.  Then, rather than simply dismissing out of hand the irrelevant complaints about its decision to publish a "correction" about the mock interview, The Guardian permitted these complaints and the guys who signed them to drive its agenda, all the way to the ultimate stage of turning the matter over to an External Ombudsman.


My opinion.


"The Greatest Intellectual?" Emma Brockes, The Guardian, Halloween, 2005 (as posted to the Chomsky.Info website)
"Corrections and clarifications: The Guardian and Noam Chomsky," Ian Mayes, The Guardian, November 17, 2005

"The Bosnian war was brutal, but it wasn't a Holocaust," Diana Johnstone, The Guardian, November 23, 2005
"Open Door: The readers' editor on…a complaint about a controversial correction," Ian Mayes, The Guardian, December 12, 2005
"Readers' editor right to publish apology, external review finds," The Guardian (unsigned), May 25, 2006
"External Ombudsman Report," John Willis, May 8, 2006 (as posted to The Guardian, May 25, 2006)

"Srebrenica — defending the truth," Marko Attila Hoare et al., Bosnia Report, December – March, 2006
"Chomsky, The Guardian and Bosnia," David Aaronovitch, Oliver Kamm,and Francis Wheen (as posted to the Ollie Kamm weblog on March 20, 2006)

"Open Letter to The Guardian," James Bisset et al., January, 2006

"'Thick as Autumnal Leaves': The Guardian's Mock Interview with Noam Chomsky," ZNet, November 6, 2005
"'Serpents All': More on The Guardian's Mock Interview with Noam Chomsky," ZNet, November 12, 2005
"OOPS! The Guardian Retracts…," ZNet, November 17, 2005
"Ollie Kamm," ZNet, December 12, 2005
"Rosemary Woods, Meet Emma Brockes," ZNet, May 26, 2006


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