How Would Legendary Foreign Correspondent Clare Hollingworth Have Reported On The World of Twitter And Trump?
What would Clare Hollingworth, who died this week, have made of Donald Trump? Or the world of Twitter? Each time one of our breed departs, we predict the end of the foreign correspondent. All of 40 years ago, one of the first radio interviews I endured – for an Irish station, I recall – involved a debate not about the future of our calling but the date of its demise. When television brought us news pictures by satellite, we used to be asked, what was the point of grinding out the words to describe what the world had already seen on screen? Hollingworth’s death at 105, at an age when joy at her final stunning longevity must smother sorrow, will surely set us off on another premature obituary of the job she loved and lived for and which she still wished – almost blind and scarcely able to walk – to enjoy after she had scored her century.
Yet in a strange way, she might have grasped Trump’s dilemma. She knew all about Russian espionage – she broke the story of Kim Philby’s defection, albeit that The Guardian sat on her story for three months. That wouldn’t have happened in the age of the tweet. She was close enough to British diplomats (rather too close, I suspect) to understand how vast political power can be used to destroy statesmen.
Christopher Steele, the author of the spicy Trump sleaze report, would have been the sort of guy Hollingworth might have sought out. He has a Bond-like name and a company called Orbis – the same name, by the way, as the communist Polish travel agency which once organised my trip to Cold War Poland. No connection, of course, and today’s Polish Orbis long ago shook off its communist masters.
Read more at the Independent.