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A Very Un-Ratherlike Sign-off

BBC foreign correspondent Stephen Sackur makes a somewhat shocking admission in his Ifarewell broadcast. Sackur reported on all manner of international stories, but his remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001 serves as a reminder that for many professional journalists there's only one side of the story that matters - theirs.

I was on assignment in Nicaragua, far from my base in Washington DC. I watched the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on a flickering TV. a

And then I called my wife back home. She was tearful and distraught. Our kids had been rushed out of school in an emergency drill. It felt, she said, like war had broken out.

"God this is awful," I said with feeling. "I know," she replied, "there may be thousands dead".

"I don't mean that", I snapped. "I'm talking about me. I'm missing the biggest story of my life."

The only surprising part of the story is that he had the guts to tell it publicly.

Update: Pennywit chastises me for quoting out of context. I agree with him to an extent, but in this case the only "context" missing is that Sackur uses the story as an example of the callousness and vanity that prevalent in his former profession, and is sorry about it. Given copyright issues, Wizbang will always limit our quoted sections to the bare minimum (usually 4 or fewer paragraphs) to make a point. We do expect that readers will read the linked story, as his tale was told in the context of relating his best and worst moments.

Also, the term "Un-Ratherlike" was used as a compliment to Sackur. His sign-off was introspective, touching on the highs and lows of the experience in a candid manner not normally associated with his profession.


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Comments (5)

But enough about me. Let's ... (Below threshold)
arb:

But enough about me. Let's talk about you.
What do *you* think of me?

You should quote the rest o... (Below threshold)

You should quote the rest of it too, where he admits it was a self-centered comment, and he says it is one of those sentiments that led to his hanging up the microphone.

He then goes on to describe... (Below threshold)

He then goes on to describe how he was one of the first at a mass grave in Iraq (his wife is Iraqi) and what he felt then about the crimes of Saddam. A good piece overall.

He sometimes did go a bit 'iffy' but on the whole has been rather more impartial and a much better reporter than the likes of Matt Frei and Orla Gurgin/Caroline Hawley etc at the Beeb

Here is the quote:... (Below threshold)

Here is the quote:

"came in Iraq. A country especially dear to me, as my wife's homeland. It was there I saw the most distressing sight of my life. Men and women clawing at the earth, uncovering the first of the mass graves discovered after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

"Thousands of stinking corpses came out of the ground that day. I saw infants with bullet holes blown through their skulls. I was the only reporter there. I sensed in that Iraqi field that I was a necessary witness, in the right place at the right time."

I was living in London duri... (Below threshold)
Jack is Back!:

I was living in London during 9/11 - had been there for 4 years at that time. I got pretty sick of hearing Sackur report about events in America. His sonorous, baritone was dripping with insincerity and inaccuracy - total skewing to fit the audience of left wing Brits. I can't remember any story he reported that was tinted with cynicism and sarcasm as to our demeanor and our success that wasn't rebounded off how the Brits would do things. The guy is an ass and jerk and his epiphany on TV reveals that he is a high end one.




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