August 21, 2020
A week has elapsed since I complained to you about the unprofessional conduct of Mr. Sackur during his “interview” with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia. I haven’t received a reply. Since then, on Armenian websites and newspapers in Armenia and in the diaspora, Armenians have expressed their disgust with Mr. Sackur’s ambush technique, his arrogance, his revolting preening, and his blatant anti-Armenian bias. One online publication in Canada received more than 5,000 hits within 48 hours, in addition to letters critical of Mr. Sackur. As well, complaints against Sackur and the BBC appeared on more than a dozen occasions on Facebook.
In light of the above, a viewer would have expected your “hard-nosed super-star” interviewer to defend his performance–yes, that’s the correct word for the hectoring mass of ego which calls itself Stephen Sackur. Instead, the public-school gunslinger took liberties with the facts. A few days after the notorious interview, Mr. Sackur tweeted: “The response to my interview with Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been extraordinary…in both Armenia and in Azerbaijan.”
“Who’s he kidding?” as Americans would ask.
“Extraordinary” in this context is meaningless. It’s hot air. It can mean good, bad, or indifferent. However, it is obvious what Sackur was conspiring to do: he wanted readers to assume “extraordinary” meant positive, a rave. Rather than tell the truth about the negative reaction of Armenians, Mr. Integrity Sackur tried to cover up his lie with a sleight of hand. The fact that the Azeri media was ecstatic with the interview should have been sufficient proof that the Armenian response was the opposite.
Borrowing a page from Mr. Sackur’s Notebook of Gimmicks, I can say: “Mr. Sackur is an extraordinarily bad interviewer who is extraordinarily adept at spreading anti-Armenian falsehood.”
The question arises: why the animus against Armenia and Armenians? Is it because Armenia is of no financial or strategic benefit to Britain? Is it because Armenia has no oil/gas, unlike Azerbaijan? Mr. Establishment Man Sackur knows which side his bread is buttered. He knows Azeri ads are far more likely to appear on BBC than Armenia ads.
Your “tough interviewer” is practicing what was once known as “Afghanistanism”. When the sun never set on the lands illegally occupied by British imperialists, Fleet Street’s ink-stained wretches could write anything about distant lands assured that their fibs wouldn’t be noticed because few Britons had been to Calais. Mr. Sackur must be confusing Armenia with “Afghanistan” of yore.
P. S. I noticed your “hard-boiled” interviewer’s manners are fluid depending on the power and prestige of the interviewee. When he was interviewing IMF’s Christine Lagarde, he lovingly stroked her hand. Different strokes for different folks? Did they go out for an apres-interview dinner? I am just asking.