The Guardian has long been a champion of the left. They have been in business for almost 200 years. Their record of breaking news stories speaks for itself, such as their exposure of the holocaust denier who lived a double life for a long time as well as the breaking of the story that brought down News of the World in the UK and poses an existential threat to Rupert Murdoch's empire. However, they are facing multimillion dollar annual losses as well as repeated allegations of anti-semitism. Like all grey areas, we have to look at the good and the bad.
Peter Beaumont of the sister site The Observer wrestles with the question of where and when to intervene in Syria. Israel has already decided to intervene, given their second round of air strikes. And the Guardian posts a graphic AP photo of people massacred in Assad's backyard that rebels say was done by government forces.
Their coverage of such events shows the Guardian at their best. They have recently made the decision to focus more on their online coverage and it shows; they have up to the minute Tweets of the Middle East from correspondents and other people on the ground.
UK making appeals for Guantanamo detainee's release
Letter from Former Guantanamo Detainees:
The hunger strike by our former fellow prisoners at the Guantánamo prison camp should have already been the spur for President Obama to end this shameful saga, which has so lowered US prestige in the world.Another strength of the Guardian is their ability to become a platform for diverse points of view. Their Comment is Free site is a model free speech zone where commentators from all walks of life present their opinions for debate.
It is now in its third month and around two-thirds of the 166 prisoners there are taking part. They are sick and weakened by 11 years of inhumane treatment and have chosen this painful way to gain the world's attention. Eighty-six of these men have been cleared for release by this administration's senior taskforce. Who can justify their continuing imprisonment? This must be ended by President Obama.
Since the opening of the prison camp, numerous prisoners held at Guantánamo have sporadically taken part in hunger strikes to protest their arbitrary imprisonment, treatment and conditions. This, however, is the first time the overwhelming majority of the prisoners are taking part – and for such an extended period.
Bangladesh Factory Widow Files Complaint
Keeping us up to date on that fiasco, the Guardian reports that the death toll from the tragedy in that country is now 622, double what was previously reported.
The Guardian has faced repeated allegations of antisemitism in its coverage of Israel. Reader's editor Chris Elliott says that "Guardian reporters, writers, and editors must be more vigilant" in their use of language when reporting about Israel.
For antisemitism can be subtle as well as obvious. Three times in the last nine months I have upheld complaints against language within articles that I agreed could be read as antisemitic. The words were replaced and the articles footnoted to reflect the fact. These included references to Israel/US "global domination" and the term "slavish" to describe the US relationship with Israel; and, in an article on a lost tribe of Mallorcan Jews, what I regarded as a gratuitous reference to "the island's wealthier families".The site CIF Watch is a pro-Israel site run by CAMERA. They blog about what they say are instances of anti-semitism at the Guardian. They define it as follows:
Two weeks ago a columnist used the term "the chosen" in an item on the release of Gilad Shalit, which brought more than 40 complaints to the Guardian, and an apology from the columnist the following week. "Chosenness", in Jewish theology, tends to refer to the sense in which Jews are "burdened" by religious responsibilities; it has never meant that the Jews are better than anyone else. Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read "chosen" as code for Jewish supremacism.
One reader wrote of the column: "The despicable antisemitic tone of this rant is beyond reason or decency."
Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.Among examples they give (among many) are as follows:
Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
Specifically with respect to Israel, taking into account the overall context, the EUMC gave the following examples:
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
They take the Guardian to task for failing to report on a Palestinian child who was abandoned by both the parents and the Palestinian government.
The Guardian buried data showing 40% Palestinian support for suicide bombings in at least some cases.
The CAMERA article noted other data from the Pew survey as follows:
Additional poll findings on Palestinian opinion includes the following:A double standard in the reporting of deaths.
Homosexuality: 89% of Palestinians think it’s immoral.
Women’s rights: 89% of Palestinians think women must always “obey” their husband.
Sharia Law: 89% favor the imposition of Sharia Law into their society.
Honor killings: 45% of Palestinians think it’s sometimes justifiable.
The article alleges that the Guardian showed a double standard by running a picture of the grieving family of Hitham Mishal, whom the Israeli military says was an arms trader and responsible for a recent rocket attack against Israel.
According to Palestinian witnesses, at around noon on Nov. 16 a van stopped at a Gaza City intersection, and several masked men pushed seven suspected ‘informers’ out of the vehicle. The gunmen then ordered them to lie face down in the street and shot them all in the head. Shortly after the killing, a mob surrounded the corpses and some in the crowd “stomped and spat on the bodies”, while others kicked the head of one of the dead men.But according to the CIF site, the Guardian buried the story, which received extensive mainstream media coverage.
The CST, the UK's equivalent of the ADL here in the US, took the Guardian to task in a 2011 report on antisemitism:
The report cites numerous mainstream publications, groups and individuals who are by no means antisemitic, but whose behaviour may impact upon attitudes concerning Jews and antisemitism.
Explicit antisemitism against Jews is rare in British public life and within mainstream political and media discourse. Nevertheless, antisemitic themes alleging Jewish conspiracy, power and hostility to others can resonate within mainstream discourse about Israel and (especially) about so-called ‘Zionists’.
When explicit antisemitism does occur, it tends to do so within circles that are also racist or hateful towards other groups.
The Guardian reinforced its reputation as being the most subjective and contentious mainstream newspaper on issues of antisemitism in the context of Israel and Zionism. This, despite the paper also warning against antisemitism.
Fears and concerns about antisemitism, as expressed by mainstream Jewish communities and bodies, are routinely ignored, or even maliciously misrepresented, within supposedly ‘progressive’ circles, including some media, trade unions and churches. Few, if any, other minority representative groups are treated with such reflexive suspicion and ill-will.Cartoons
The Jewish Press, a news site about the Jewish people and Israel, discusses two cartoons run by the Guardian that it says are anti-semitic. They portray Israel as a puppet who manipulates the other world leaders. It was a common Nazi stereotype back when they were in power in Germany that the Jews were somehow controlling all of the other world powers. Chris Elliott, quoted in the piece, responded as follows:
Bell … is adamant that the cartoon, based on an agency picture of a Netanyahu press conference, is neither intentionally, nor unintentionally antisemitic.In his piece, Elliott explains in more detail:
Bell himself is adamant that the cartoon, based on an agency picture of a Netanyahu press conference, is neither intentionally, nor unintentionally antisemitic. He said: "This is a crucial point – this is not about the Jews: it's about Binyamin Netanyahu. It's referring to a specific news image. [The puppets] are a side issue. Binyamin Netanyahu is manipulating the whole situation. He is one of the world's most cynical politicians. An obvious point to make is that it's always going to be an awkward one. It's not antisemitic, it is focused on him as a politician, on his cynicism."He admits at the bottom:
I don't believe that Bell is an antisemite, nor do I think it was his intention to draw an antisemitic cartoon. However, using the image of a puppeteer when drawing a Jewish politician inevitably echoes past antisemitic usage of such imagery, no matter the intent.Deborah Orr
The Holocaust and its causes are still within living memory. While journalists and cartoonists should be free to express an opinion that Netanyahu is opportunistic and manipulative, in my view they should not use the language – including the visual language – of antisemitic stereotypes.
The Jerusalem Post reports on an uproar after Orr, a Guardian reporter, characterized the swap of Gilad Schalit for Palestinian prisoners as a belief that somehow, one life of the "chosen" was worth more than many Palestinian lives. However, that is a mischaracterization of that term; the fact that one is "chosen" in Jewish thought does not make one superior to other people; it simply means having greater responsibilities.
Comment is Free Watch, a group that monitors the Guardian blog, said “the anti- Semitic use, and profound distortion, of the idea of ‘chosenness’ – from a passage in the Torah widely understood as a Jewish requirement to uphold an especially high standard of ethical behavior – has a long and dark history.The Guardian is a source that thrives on controversy, and its penchant is not limited to Israel and the Middle East. In January, they published an article about pedophilia in which they noted that the norms for that have been constantly changing (the age of consent in England at one time was 10) and claims:
Even now there is no academic consensus on that fundamental question – as Goode found. Some academics do not dispute the view of Tom O'Carroll, a former chairman of PIE and tireless paedophilia advocate with a conviction for distributing indecent photographs of children following a sting operation, that society's outrage at paedophilic relationships is essentially emotional, irrational, and not justified by science. "It is the quality of the relationship that matters," O'Carroll insists. "If there's no bullying, no coercion, no abuse of power, if the child enters into the relationship voluntarily … the evidence shows there need be no harm."It's great to bring up issues that the competition won't cover, but the question to consider with The Guardian is, how far do you go? From a personal perspective, if such an encounter had happened with me, I would have been in a state of panic and fear because I would not have been ready for it and I would not have known what was going on. And that doesn't even consider the fact that there are laws on the books against pedophilia that are not likely to be changed anytime soon.
This is not, obviously, a widely held view. Mccartan uses O'Carroll's book Paedophilia: the Radical Case in his teaching as "it shows how sex offenders justify themselves". Findlater says the notion that a seven-year-old can make an informed choice for consensual sex with an adult is "just preposterous. It is adults exploiting children." Goode says simply: "Children are not developmentally ready for adult sexuality," adding that it is "intrusive behaviour that violates the child's emerging self-identity" and can be similar in long-term impact to adults experiencing domestic violence or torture.
But not all experts are sure. A Dutch study published in 1987 found that a sample of boys in paedophilic relationships felt positively about them. And a major if still controversial 1998-2000 meta-study suggests – as J Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, Chicago, says – that such relationships, entered into voluntarily, are "nearly uncorrelated with undesirable outcomes".