When this journalist asks questions, he attacks. He acts like a prosecutor attacking his prey. Saeb Erakat knows he is being pinned to the wall, but he does his best to salvage some talking points against the journalist. Erakat knows that this man came prepared against him.

Job of a Journalist

What should the essential goal of a journalist be?  Should it be to uncover the truth?  Should it be to make the interviewee so uncomfortable that they basically admit things they had not planned on saying?  More importantly, how many journalists are more driven by ego than anything else when they report?

Watergate

Two of the most famous journalists of the 20th century are Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  They were the two young journalists who uncovered the Watergate conspiracy of the Nixon administration.  This ultimately led to President Nixon’s impeachment and Nixon stepping down from the Presidency.  Generally speaking, most people believe that what they did was to uncover the truth.  Were they driven by other side interests?  Of course.  They were young journalists who were hoping to make a name for themselves.  They may have been political opponents to President Nixon.  The idea that two young journalists could bring down the most powerful person in the United States was also rather appealing.  However, since they stuck with the main point – uncovering the truth – they have not been judged harshly.  They are considered legit journalists.

Litmus Test

It seems that the litmus test that separates between good journalism and bad journalism is one word – truth.  If truth is the key to reporting, and not bias, then even if the journalist uses much ego as drive to get to the truth, the reporting can be good.  In my opinion, the above journalist is not driven first and foremost by truth.  He cares most about his reputation as an attack dog.  So, any connection to truth in his report is incidental.

However, he does succeed in getting Erakat to admit that corruption is a problem in the Palestinian Authority.  That is the understatement of the interview.