The internationally renowned correspodent for The Independent — the great British journalist Robert Fisk — has been banned from entering the United States. Fisk has been covering war zones for decades, but is above all known for his incisive reporting from the Middle East for more than 20 years. His critical coverage of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, and the continuing occupation that has followed it, has repeatedly exposed U.S. and British government disinformation campaigns. He also has exposed how the bulk of the press reports from Iraq have been “hotel journalism” — a phrase Fisk coined.
The daily New Mexican reports that “U.S. immigration officials refused Tuesday to allow Robert Fisk, longtime Middle East correspondent for the London newspaper, The Independent, to board a plane from Toronto to Denver. Fisk was on his way to Santa Fe for a sold-out appearance in the Lannan Foundation ‘s readings-and-conversations series Wednesday night. According to Christie Mazuera Davis, a Lannan program officer, Fisk was told that his papers were not in order. Davis made last-minute arrangements Wednesday for Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica Radio’s daily news show, Democracy Now!, to interview Fisk via satellite from a television station in Toronto…” A recording of this satellite interview will soon be available on the Lannan Foundation’s website.
I have long admired Fisk’s unbeatably first-rate journalism, his intrepid insistence on sticking his nose where the authorities — of whatever country he’s in — don’t want him to go. He constantly shows up the sluggish cowardice and indolent hand-out journalism practiced by so many U.S. foreign correspondents from the safety of their hotel bars. That the U.S. won’t allow this great journalist into this country to tell what he has seen and what he knows is a scandal.
If you’re not familiar with Fisk’s reporting, there is an entire website devoted to it — read Fisk’s latest, and find an archive of his articles (plus audio-visual materials) by clicking here. You can also order Fisk’s books, like Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon, and The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East.
Doug Ireland, a longtime radical journalist and media critic, runs the blog DIRELAND, where this article appeared Sept. 22, 2005.