The Guardian – soft on the fash, hard on the anti-fash

August 19, 2015 at 11:14 am (anti-fascism, Guardian, islamism, Rosie B)

Further to Jim’s piece on Maajid Nawaz, this article in The Nation shows how The Guardian is losing its credibility through its treatment of anti-jihadists:-

The piece is basically a hatchet-job on the man and his personality, unacceptably taking pot-shots at his choice of club, coffee preferences, and work without much evidence to back it up. Unless you take the liberal use of anonymous quotes as evidence – and no-one in the journalism world does. Indeed, the Guardian’s Readers Editor, Chris Eliott has been obliged, due to the flood of complaints to his paper, to put out a statement that ‘the use of anonymous quotes is an insidious way to take a swipe at public figures, and the Guardian was wrong to have used three in this way.’

The statement is not entirely acceptable however because he yet sought to protect the journalists Nosheen Iqbal and David Shariatmadari from further blame by claiming that they felt the use of anonymous sources to be necessary as otherwise those sources could be harassed online, as these journalists now are. In short, they thought it alright to attack a man risking his life among Islamists to do the extremely dangerous job of counter-extremism work, yet they needed to keep sources attacking him anonymous because they were afraid of some online heckling?

Is heckling only alright if a Guardian journalist does it, either via articles or on Twitter? One of the foremost rules of journalism is that the journalist’s presence and especially his biases should not be visible in his articles – unless it’s a column or opinion piece. This interview of Maajid was supposed to be neither, although it ended up in essence an opinion piece. Yet even as an opinion piece, it breaks way too many bars to come plunging down into mud-singling territory. They didn’t just set the bar low, they plunged it.

It’s so incredibly bad, that as a fellow journalist living miles and oceans way, I am embarrassed for the journalism profession which has sunk to this new low. As once colonized countries, I suppose we still look up to British standards in professionalism. Certainly that was very much the case in my own student days at the Sri Lanka College of Journalism. “Don’t look to the Daily Mirror,” we were told. That’s a tabloid. “Look instead to the Guardian. That’s the standard you ought to emulate.” Well, we are looking. Where are the standards?


  1. Steven Johnston said,

    Whatever issues she has with this article, to describe this piece as sinking to a new low in journalism is bullshit. There are much, much worse examples than this, every day in papers like the Mail & the Sun.

  2. kb72 said,

    Her point was that she expected better of The Guardian.

  3. Steven Johnston said,

    Oh dear…like who cares? I’ve been let down by the Guardian, just what is the big deal about that? I hate it when journalists, use the press to criticise other journalists. What if that journalists she complains about starts attacking her in print and then that starts a trend. I don’t want to open my daily newspaper to find it full or journalists attacking each other. Do you?

    • kb72 said,

      Actually I love spats between journalists just as I love feuds between bloggers.

      And she is making a serious point – that a newspaper which is supposed to have high standards has been slipping up. I would say the same about the Telegraph – it used to be fairly solid on information whatever its political line but now has got hopelessly sloppy & is turning into the Daily Mail.

  4. Steven Johnston said,

    Well each to their own, I don’t enjoy them as they are danger of ending up like the tigers in the childrens’ story, they chase each round and round the tree and end up getting turned into butter.

    Oh it’s no what it once was is a familar complaint about anything and everything. I tell you something it never was what it once was.

    • kb72 said,

      It’s all going to the dogs.

      • Glasgow Working Class said,

        I recall the London Times correspondent who learned his trade in Australia. His first job was do the star signs. He was a bit stuck so a colleague told him to go to the archives and just regurgitate some old editions. Seems like it was a good idea to me because we will always have war and politics as well as religious nutters and socialists who want to change the world by blowing it up. No change then!

  5. Steven Johnston said,

    When the Guardian had a headline that reads:

    “Hurrah for the jihadists!”

    Then journalism in the UK will have sunk as low as it did in the 1930s.
    But they are a long way off that.

  6. Lamia said,

    Or when the Guardian runs a comment piece by someone like Osama bin Laden, yes.

    Oh… they already did that on January 6th 2004.

  7. Steven Johnston said,

    The Daily Mail of the 1930s endorsed Hitler, which was worse? Hitler or Bin Laden? My point was this hardly hits a new low.

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