Saturday 24 September 2016


Today's From Our Own Correspondent began with Lyse Doucet recounting a story you've probably heard about before, especially as it's been widely reported on the BBC and in the press: the story of her own tearful, joyful surprise reunion with a Syrian refugee family, newly emigrated to Lyse's native Canada. 

If you didn't see it, Lyse runs towards the Syrians, embraces them all, cries with joy, and says, "Welcome to Canada!"

Lyse exulted again here on FOOC. It was a story to gladden the heart, she suggested.

And, yes, particularly from the way she told the story. it was impossible not to feel a good deal of sympathy for the Sabbagh family,  now safe and happily unveiled in Canada.

That said, what Lyse herself calls 'compassionate reporting' can feel highly manipulative, especially if the reporter and her media organisation makes a lot of it (as the BBC has been doing with this story).  

It's no stretch, I think, to suggest that Lyse's reporting here makes the 'welcoming' policy of Canada's Liberal government sound like 'the decent thing to do', regardless of the risks. 

And that, of course, has more general implications. 

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