By macleans.ca - Friday, November 23, 2012 - 0 Comments
One of the most powerful Arabs, Ashrawi is the Middle East’s version of the Unsinkable Molly Brown
According to Arabian Business, Hanan Ashrawi is No. 353 on its list of the world’s 500 most powerful Arabs. This is a drop from last year when she was No. 100 but don’t count the lady out. Ashrawi is imperishable, the Middle East’s version of the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She is a professional Palestinian, the Western’s media’s go-to person for the weekly update on Israeli-American perfidy. Actually, I’m not being fair. She has spoken warmly about an American diplomat once, ambassador Christopher Stevens, but he had to be assassinated first. De mortuis nil nisi bonum etc.
Rockets over Beersheba sounds cinematic and in that film Ashrawi would play the part of the cunning female spy beguiling Israeli intelligence. She doesn’t beguile anyone with actual knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but she’s catnip for American TV. This week CNN’s Piers Morgan found himself rear-ended by Ashrawi’s collision with truth. “What’s an Israeli supposed to do when showered with rockets?” he asked a few times. Hanan’s eternal answer: “The real issue is the brutal occupation.” One might have thought Israel occupied Gaza, not Hamas.
Hanan Ashrawi burst into view on ABC-TV in 1988 when Ted Koppel went to Jerusalem to cover the first intifada. Ashrawi was a minor player on his show but stole it with her perfectly nuanced English and her sorrowful, powerful, just plain wonderful sense of outrage at the al-Nakbah (Arabic for “the disaster,” now referencing the day Israel was created as a Jewish state) plus her smart suits and inspiring reasonability. She modestly describes herself as “essentially a human being with a multi-dimensional mission,” which, I suppose, is reassuring because I have often wondered if she was actually a figment of my nightmares. Continue…
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Friday, January 28, 2011 at 9:40 AM - 21 Comments
Jeff Douglas brings a younger sound to CBC’s ‘As It Happens’
Inside the third-floor studio at CBC’s downtown Toronto broadcast centre, the lurid green countdown of the digital clock gives way to the glowing red “live” lights on the microphones. Carol Off takes a deep breath, smiles, and leans in to shatter the dead air with a cheery “Hello.” The greeting, broadcast nationally at 6:30 p.m.—a half-hour later in Newfoundland—has marked the official start of As It Happens, and the rhythm of weekday evenings, for two generations of Canadian radio listeners. It’s been Off’s responsibility for the past 4.5 years, since taking over from Mary Lou Findlay. Before her, it was Michael Enright’s, who inherited the mantle from Dennis Trudeau, who replaced Elizabeth Gray, who stepped in for Barbara Frum. But since the show debuted in its familiar 90-minute format in 1973, only two voices have played out the rest of the script, cueing the theme song, Moe Koffman’s Curried Soul. Alan Maitland’s smoker’s baritone rumbled from the radio for 19 years. Then it was the husky tones and precise diction of Stratford Festival veteran Barbara Budd for 17 more. Until this past Jan. 4, that is, when the newest member of the most exclusive club in Canadian radio introduced himself to the audience. “Good evening. I’m Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.”
Unlike his predecessors, the 39-year-old’s delivery will never be described as stentorian. It’s a younger, warmer sound, more the Voice of Dude, than Doom. Sometimes there’s even a touch of Hoser—“record” pronounced reck-errd, for example—grace of his Truro, N.S., upbringing. Like most people, Douglas says he has never particularly liked the sound of his own voice. Although years of performance have helped him get over such self-consciousness about his tone, or even looks (an odd worry for a guy who was frequently cast as the love interest over a 15-year TV and film career). “As you get older you get more comfortable,” he says. “I can get past myself now. I realize how to get out of the way of the story.”
Watch him in the studio, and there’s little question as to what he used to do for a living. Billboarding an interview about the death of one of the founding fathers of Nunavut, Douglas adopts a serious expression and hunches towards the mike. Seconds later, he’s grinning and gesticulating his way through a punny intro about Colombian cocaine lords’ failed effort to turn birds into drug mules. “As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that figures that first they were fitting the pigeon—and now they’re pitchin’ a fit.”
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 3:41 PM - 10 Comments
The House broadcast Evan Solomon’s interview with Michael Ignatieff this morning. The audio is here.
Barbara Budd and Carol Off interviewed Michael Ignatieff for As It Happens on Thursday. The audio of that is here.