A lot of bloggers have been having fun with this video, usually with a headline along the lines of “Democrat Congressman assaults student on Washington sidewalk” or some such.
I must admit I am not Bob Etheridge-conscious. I have no idea where he is on the American political scale of angels and demons, what his voting record is, nor indeed anything else about him.
What I do know is that:
1) On the scale of politicians’ assaulting members of the public, he is hardly John Prescott;
2) Call me old-fashioned, but when I was a student journalist, we had drummed into us that unless you had a very good reason for going undercover, you always identified yourself and the news organisation you represented. “I’m a student, sir” doesn’t cut it. Neither does “I’m doing a project, sir”. The fact that Etheridge challenges the student and his cameraman to identify who they are several times and gets the same answer doesn’t excuse his boorish reaction, but it does make me suspect there’s more to this than the “students” are letting on.
As does the rather lame question that prompts this ambush interview: “Do you fully believe in the Obama agenda?”
An open-and-shut case of “MeTube Journalism”, I think.
Reference books? Pah! Who needs ’em! Everything’s on the net these days, isn’t it?
Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. True, there’s an awful of there there. Trouble is, when it comes to spelling, synonyms, antonyms and other word usage – the basic tools of our trade – a lot of it is contradictory. For everyone online who reckons it’s OK to split an infinitive, you’ll find someone who is vehemently against such barbarism. In London, is it Regent’s Park or Regents Park? Is it installment or instalment? Before you know it you’re suffering from googlexia, a condition of paralysing bafflement that’s the cerebral equivalent of the spinning eggtimer or beachball your computer shows when it’s offered the choice of a spade and a rake and told to take its pick. Read more…