Journalistic Standards at the Guardian 196

Yesterday I received a begging letter from Katharine Viner of the Guardian

Screenshot (60)

Perhaps they will be able to induce individuals to give £10 a month, £120 will buy Polly Toynbee one lunch at the Ivy. But apart from the ethics of asking ordinary people to fund some of the most overpaid people in the country, there are questions about the claims which Viner makes. She talks of Guardian journalism as “well-sourced”, “calm”, “intelligent”, “in-depth”, “thoughtful” and “well-resourced.”

Now I put each of those in inverted commas, to indicate they are words which Ms Viner actually used in the full email. (The image is an extract).

Now let us look at some of the Guardian’s actual output. Today Gaby Hinshliff, in a highly slanted comment on yesterday’s incident involving Ruth Smeeth, writes in the Guardian that

a Corbynite activist stood up and accused her of being part of a “media conspiracy” against her own party

Note Ms Hinshliff’s use of inverted commas there, indicating that “media conspiracy” was the actual phrase used. Except it wasn’t. Wadsworth never used the phrase, or indeed either of the words “media” and “conspiracy” separately. What he actually said is widely available, as is video footage of him saying it. I published it yesterday, along with what I hope was a very rational consideration of what the incident did and did not signify .

Strangely enough, the only place the words “media conspiracy” occur – actually in inverted commas – is in Ruth Smeeth’s own press release.

So, at best, Gaby Hinshliff is merely an extremely lazy journalist who took Ruth Smeeth’s false account of what was said and wrote about it with no effort at all to check it and see if it was true, or if there was another side of the story. A ten second google search would have corrected her. Extreme laziness and the lowest of journalistic standards is the very best explanation of Hinshliff’s behaviour. At worst, Hinshliff is knowingly and deliberately repeating and amplifying a deliberate lie.

What is beyond any possible dispute is that Hinshliff has demonstrated that Viner’s claim that the Guardian produces responsible, properly researched and ethical journalism is another plain lie.

The difficulty is that the Guardian has columnists who are so blinded by their own prejudices and hatreds as to be incapable of rational analysis. On precisely the same subject, somebody suggested to Nick Cohen he look at my article on the Ruth Smeeth case to see another side of the story. Cohen’s reply seems to me a fair summation of the intellectual standards and ethos which now prevail at the Guardian:

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The rejoinder to him seems perfectly fair, but received no response. I like to think of myself as delightfully eccentric, rather than a “fruitcake”. But the notion you can completely ignore or dismiss an argument by an insulting ad hominem again reflects the very opposite to the standards Viner claims that the Guardian espouses.

I do hope none of you gave them any money.

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196 thoughts on “Journalistic Standards at the Guardian

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  • lysias

    OT, but worth relaying. Read on Billmon’s twitter feed:

    Mossad Director Yossi Cohen visited Moscow today. Met Putin’s national security adviser and the SVR director

    Wonder if there’s a connection between that and Erdogan repairing relations with both Israel and Russia.

    • Laguerre

      Evidently the Russians are open to Israeli links, many israeli politicians being of Russian origin. Change of Russian policy, though is less likely. We’ll see what happens.

      • lysias

        I was thinking more of a change in Israeli policy, in light of visibly declining U.S. power in the region.

    • fedup

      No not at all! Not at all!!!

      Although fact that Russians have gone public with the Yanks offer of “cooperation in Syria” if the Russians don’t bomb the “friendly terrorists” after the little incident of SU 34 and F18 coming to nose to nose combat situation. Could be a point of debate too.

    • Resident Dissident

      The connection is that Netanyahu, Erdogan and Putin are all right wing, authoritarian, nationalistic and crooked so it is not surprising that they can share common ground for a lot of the time but with flare ups when their egos clash or one encroaches on the others territory.

      Read the Godfather for further details of the political model.

      • Clark

        Very well said RD.

        Strike ‘nationalistic’ (which is used by such people rather than felt, I suspect) and you could add Blair to the list.

  • Loony

    Who cares what the Guardian thinks, says or does. Just another dispossessed relic of the past now trying to give begging a good name. Just ignore it and it will go away and return to dust.

    Face facts the Sun is more honest than the Guardian.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Perhaps, but I haven’t knowingly bought a Murdoch publication since Milly Dowler. And I never will again.

      • lysias

        Even before Milly Dowler, there was The Sun‘s misreporting of the Hillsborough Disaster.

  • Manda

    “I do hope none of you gave them any money.”

    If the establishment and media Oligarchs want to spew out sloppy and overtly biased columns, they can delve into their personal well stuffed off shore accounts and pay for it themselves, a drop in the ocean to them.

  • Neve Rendell

    From Off-Guardian’s “Crowd-funded Propaganda? Ummm.No Thanks”

    “…So, the proper way to reflect Corbyn’s speech on anti-semitism was to grossly misrepresent both the meaning and content? The proper way to reflect the coup against the Labour leadership was to give unlimited space to only one side of the debate? The proper pursuit of journalistic excellence lies in forming unholy alliances with unashamed propaganda outlets such as Interpreter Magazine and the CIA-created Radio Free Europe, and to run an endless and often ignorantly racist smear campaign against the Russian government and nation? The proper position for a serious news outlet is to publish fan write-ups and apologies for avowedly neo-nazi militias? To advocate for illegal wars, and solicit the opinions of a war criminal on the desirability of further war crimes?

    (accidentally posted this before on the wrong thread, hopefully someone will delete it!)

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Neve, that is the really existing Western ‘Free Press’. Chomsky and Herman described it well in ‘Manufacturing Consent’, gathering the wealth of evidence of previous observers like Alex Carey, as a propaganda system designed to defend the rule over society of the rich, the owners of the MSM. And, in the thirty odd years since, the nature of this beast has turned even more rabid. Today not only is the bias to the Right almost total, even to the extent of supporting, by sins of omission and commission, the takfiri child-crucifiers of the onslaught against Syria, but the sewer also contains little but hate and fear-mongering in pursuit of ‘Divide and Rule’ tactics (the latest the vicious inter-generational hate campaign over Brexit)savage, indeed manic, campaigns of personal vilification and destruction (Corbyn the latest victim)and paeans to greed and worship of the rich. All spewed with total Groupthink and practised Newspeak.

  • Clark

    We need a new model for journalism, particularly as regards accountability. Imperfect though they both are, I think that Wikipedia and the Blogsphere provide the best points of departure that we have developed so far.

    • Resident Dissident

      You are of course joking I presume. One of the problems of the blogosphere is because of all shares of opinion are available is that everyone retreats into their own little corner and latches onto the polemic that they agree with. In no small part this leads to the polarisation which I know that you do not like and a lack of genuine political engagement between different ideas. Exactly the same thing happened when the printing press was introduced btw. At least in the Guardian you do read different shades of opinion and there is debate between them – which is of course what many of the ideologues here and elsewhere hate – they would prefer their own version of Pravda. The problem is that Pravdas are intensely boring.

      • lysias

        Corporate media are even more boring, as I learn when I go to my office building’s gym and am forced to watch the war pornography of CNN.

      • Clark

        RD no I’m not joking at all, though the idea is far from complete – please help rather than dismissing. We’ve occasionally seen this very blog force important issues into the broadcast news media, issues they would rather have ignored such as the true activities of Werritty, and Cameron’s “70,000 ‘moderate’ rebels” to attack Syria.

        And the rate at which Wikipedia improved was truly astonishing; just on the Chernobyl thread in this blogs forums, the Wikipedia article blows a Guardian article to pieces.

      • Clark

        RD you’re right about the “own little corner” problem within any given blog, but that overlooks the adversarial nature of the Blogsphere as a whole.

        Sorry, I have little time to develop this. I’m trying to cast some ideas out, hoping that others will develop them.

        • Resident Dissident

          Most of the adversarial nature of the Blogsphere is about people trying to push people out and keep their own corner and thoughts clear of alternative ideas – this blog is an excellent example. Dissent against the prevailing ethos and the abuse follows in pretty short order. Have you ever seen the “line” on a blog change?

          • Clark

            The part I envisage blogs playing is to both raise and publicise matters. When this blog has forced matters into the mainstream it has been because the readers have written to MPs or government committees, or they’ve posted comments on broadcast media websites, which when met with deletion by those sites’ moderators could be reposted in the freer (or sometimes more biased) blogsphere. Blogs defeat suppression of facts and positions.

            Freedom of expression can take many forms.

            Things have been much better here lately anyway, and I hope they stay that way.

          • Clark

            I’ve definitely seen differing, even opposing ‘lines’ on this blog. And I’ve seen commenters change sides, or modify their opinions. This blog has most certainly changed my positions in various ways.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

        Anyone who states, bare-faced, that , regarding the Guardian, today, ‘ do read different shades of opinion…’, particularly in vital campaigns like the lynching of Corbyn, is in need of urgent psychiatric intervention.

    • bevin

      I’d be happy with the old model which featured newspapers with principles reporting the news-the way that the Daily Worker reported what was going on in Korea and Wilfred Burchett told the story of Hiroshima, then, later after his Australian passport had been taken from him for doing so, the truth about Vietnam.

      The problem with The Guardian, since its foundation the voice of Manchester’s highly privileged elites, is that it was mistaken as something else, a forum for socialists, a place where anti-imperialists could gather.
      The reality is that, as soon as the current crisis of capitalism and imperialism began to become dangerous the Guardian returned to the role it had played in the years following Peterloo when ‘Potter’s Plotting Parlour’ was the centre of Utilitarians and Political Economists fighting Trade Unionism and Chartists.

      In those days the working class clubbed their pennies together to read Cobbett, O’Connor, Reynolds and the radicals of the day, forerunners of Robert Blatchford’s The Clarion, the Daily Herald, Tribune and other media which took the fight against capitalism and imperialism to the enemy and made campaigns like the one which has been waged against Corbyn impossible by providing an alternative to the self serving lies found in the capitalists papers.
      In doing so they forced the MSM to moderate its worst excesses and to learn to compete by doing the things which to Viner are no more than distant rumours.
      The truth is that Cohen’s insolent tweet re Craig would have been a sacking matter if The Observer had any of the standards that Viner is claiming to defend.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

        bevin, Burchett became a Public Enemy when he reported on Imperial atrocities like the bacteriological warfare campaign in Korea. But you can judge a man’s character by his enemies, can’t you, as with Corbyn today.

    • Clark

      I should clarify that I mean Wikipedia and the Blogsphere combined, which at present they are not – blogs are frowned upon as sources at Wikipedia. The “little corner problem” of blogs is a strength in another way, in that it helps ideas to be developed. The Wikipedia model could be applied to impose balance and the adversarial aspect, developing accountability.

      Polarisation only becomes a problem for me when the argument degenerates to a slanging match, each side abandoning the checking of facts and slagging each other off on the basis of assumed ulterior motives. Thankfully there has been much less of that here lately, so many thanks and congratulations to Craig, the site team and all the commenters.

      • Resident Dissident

        If the Wikipedia model was applied to this blog there would be nothing left apart from a rather long note on all the amendments. I don’t think you are picking up on the point that new technology actually causes a dispersal of different ideas rather than making come together ( the same happened with the printing press) – why do you think so many different wikis are developing ?

      • Clark

        By ‘dispersal’ do you actually mean ‘divergence’, or do you mean ‘wider dissemination’? I think communications technology has increased both of the latter, whereas ‘dispersal’ suggests dilution, which reduces potency.

        To the extent that I understand you I think I agree, but only somewhat. But my approval of Wikipedia is related to this. It draws diverse and even opposing strands together, and points that can be verified have to remain.

        • Resident Dissident

          No I meant dispersal – and yes political ideas do have less potency as a result.

  • Harry

    Gary Younge is excellent. The rest of it reads like pay per square ft propaganda.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      How long do you think Younge will last? Among his current ‘colleagues’ he stands out like a sore thumb, if only because he deviates from the otherwise total Imperial Groupthink.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Not ‘probably’, lysias-absolutely certainly. That’s why Corbyn is in real physical danger if he continues to refuse to resign, and wins the leadership contest. One of those stooges sent to scream abuse at him could turn out worse, in the future.

  • Clark

    How about imposing some sort of adversarial model upon the broadcast news media? Adversarial systems seem to work reasonably well in law, science and even some political systems; certainly much better than the current state of large-audience news.


    • Ben Monad

      They’ve tried Shield Laws so they can classify official ‘journalists’ and issue certification when their protocols are satisfied. Any overt action by the State would always be in question, clark. They have to monitor and regulate themselves and we see how that works…

      • Clark

        Yes, I doubt that state certification would be much help. Propaganda arises because concentrated avenues of communication always attract manipulators. The obvious solution is to broaden the channels. Manipulators are then either outnumbered, or shown up because they’re trying to get their fingers into so many pies.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain

        Yeah-much better to have Rupert Murdoch monitoring himself, rather than the leaders of the so-called flower of Western Moral Values-‘democracy’.

    • fedup

      Instead of getting sucked into the maelstrom, why don’t you abstract at a higher level?

      The reason for the current “polarisation” is largely due to the total bankruptcy of the governance (morally and financially) constructs that have little in the way of logical discourse, and are heavy on the octane of spewing bollocks. The resultant echo chamber that is maintained through the activ e injection of agents of reaction into blogs etc. as so often seen on this blog and elsewhere of any sizeable presence.

      A single reference to the current Tory elections ought to clarify the extent of the influence of Corbyn on the current Tory candidates maiden speeches, that was basically they are not politicians and are only interested in doing the job!!!! Corbyn has already influenced the behaviour of the governing party whilst he has been subject to the massive backstabbing of the PLP who supposed to be on his side! This manifestly displays the tenuous grip of the power of a minority who are bent on ruling the majority.

      Whilst the referendum was backed by seventeen and one half of million to leave, and it is considered undemocratic. Only eleven million voted for Tories how undemocratic is the Troy rule?

      Furthermore, of the twenty million whom voted in the general elections for all the various parties, the unaccounted twenty six million whom voted for none of the above with their legs and never turned up in the polling stations clearly puts the whole of the “democracy project” into undemocratic territories. This is using the same reasoning that is applied to the referendum to nullify the “leave” result.

  • Jamie Tintin

    Craig, to put it quite crudely, as they said in Scotland, “I widny gie them the reek aff ma keich”.

  • James

    Hash Tag…. Gosh, How Things Have Changed

    As they say (or said) to the tune of Glory, Glory Hallelujah”

    “One Staff Officer jumped right over the over Staff Officers back
    And another Staff Officer jumped right over that over Staff Officers back
    A third Staff Officer jumped right over two other Staff Officers backs
    And a fourth Staff Officer jumped right over the other Staff Officers backs

    They were only playing leapfrog,
    They were only playing leapfrog
    They were only playing leapfrog
    When one Staff Officer jumped right over another Staff Officers back”

    England For England (came the cry) as the “21st Royal Standbacks” went “over the top”.
    And Colonel Sir Hugh Montague Wittingbird-Stanley-Allgrave cheered….and wondered why his tea was tepid.

    1916 ? 2016 ? Will we ever learn ?

  • Ben Monad

    Journos used to be known as the Fourth Estate in the US. It seems the Founders felt an Ombudsman Class would be necessary but they hoped the Scribblers would regulate their own profession with some integrity and as we all know, ethics and morality can’t really be legislated. Was this post meant for solutions or just the usual rant?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Yeah Ben-best leave ‘..ethics and morality..’ to The Holy Market ie the money power of the rich. Isn’t that your true position?

  • bevin

    This is what the EU means in Ireland:

    Greece is just one of several countries where legislation has to be checked with the unelected, irresponsible EU Troika before it is even introduced. In other countries, France notably, legislation suggested by the EU, probably drafted by its lawyers, is being implemented under Emergency Laws designed to prevent terrorism.
    And Ms Viner is missing all these stories which must have a bearing on the Brexit debate. Perhaps, if we all sent her a tenner, she could cover them the way that the NBA Finals are covered .

    • James

      I’ll go with the “un-elected” any day, before the clowns that took us into crazy wars.

      Hey, it ain’t prefect… but I can’t trust “protestant, white, male,” Neo Nazi’s.
      Too much “unregulated self interest”.

      I like it when “Leavers” say there is “too much regulation”.
      And then Lord Kitchener’s head pops into my head.

      Nineteen twenty sixteen ! Independence Day !

  • Clark

    I’d had a running argument with my friend, a committed BBC watcher and Guardian reader – he regarded himself as better informed than average and occasionally called me a “conspiracy theorist”. I remember him sat there one day, asking me rather sheepishly, “is it really true that Iran has the right to enrich uranium?” All those years with his head in the Graun and his eyes on the Beeb seemed to have given him some very false impressions.

    One thing that worries me enormously, and which would probably explain a lot, is that many of our MPs’ and government officials’ opinions are most likely formed and shaped by the broadcast news media. There is a tendency to think that the term “propaganda” means that the government imposes views to be expressed by the broadcasters. Not so; broadcast media is the expression of various powers, only a minority governmental, and our ‘elected representatives’ can be victims of propaganda as much as anyone else.

    • fwl

      Clarke, that’s funny your friend calling you a conspiracy theorist for whilst your awake to the theories your one of the few who gets stuck in as objectively as possible. What this says is that the crowd / media stigmatize so called conspiracy theories to such an extent that 99% are afraid to go near them: they are taboo (more so than sexual taboos of old). Are our politicians sleeping sheep or do they do know on which side their bread is buttered is a moot question. Some are dead brains, some have an inkling but a problem is that those who go against the crowd are likely to be charismatic mavericks (best in emergencies only).

      • Clark

        Fwl, thanks. It can get lonely, y’know, and that intellectual-type loneliness is caused by corruption of the ‘mainstream’ informational environment.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      If someone had posted on here two weeks ago that there was shortly going to be a planned and co-ordinated effort by the Parliamentary Labour Party to depose Jeremy Corbyn without consultation with the electorate by engaging in a fresh leadership election but by mass resignations and a chorus of exhortation by the media, and that this had been planned for months, I think it quite likely that such a person would been jeered at for being a conspiracy theorist.

      • fwl

        I agree. The vote has been a catalyst in all sorts of ways. Mostly it seems to have acted as a sort of giant windscreen wiper on our mud splattered world view. Suddenly all the feuding is apparent and the thin veneer of mud I had mistaken for civilisation and order is wiped clean. The old order and systems nationally, internationally and within political parties (perhaps also within ourselves) appear as so many houses of cards. Fascinating, full of opportunity and also danger.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Clark, always remember that, by definition, 50% of the population is of below median intelligence. And that Western publics are subjected to RELENTLESS brainwashing, around the clock, by the MSM, the advertising Moloch, the PR apparatus and the ‘entertainment’ colossi who are all controlled by the rich, ie by the Right. So Iran’s absolute NPR right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, or the succession of US National Intelligence Estimates that Iran had NO nuclear weapons program or the Non-Aligned Movement’s unanimous (of 114 countries)support for Iran, were all completely suppressed or lied about. That’s the really existing Free Press.

  • Hieroglyph

    Best thing on The Guardian. Otherwise, the election coverage has rarely ventured beyond offering Turnbull some form of deep and abiding love. Even the SMH endorsed Turnbull, an obviously shallow man, with little to offer, who’ll be out the door by xmas anyway. Over here, it’s been a bit like The Soviet Union: All Hail Glorious Leader. Plurality in the media? Murdoch and Fairfax basically, and Fairfax just instructed their editor to endorse Turnbull …

    I suspect The Guardian as we know it won’t exist in 10 years, though the website probably has a niche. And that niche is: faux progressive CIA propaganda rag tailored to manipulate and mock rubes. Might be worth something.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Hieroglyph, in Australia the Rightwing MSM (ie ALL the MSM) were united, as always, behind the Bosses’ party. The Murdoch cancer were, naturally, utterly biased and partisan, and in Victoria were involved in what in my opinion was an open conspiracy to aid the Liberals by setting professional fire-fighters against volunteer fire-fighters. When the facts of that conspiracy became apparent in the last couple of weeks, the ENTIRE Rightwing MSM ignored them, and instead, predictably, all continued to run the Murdochian line that the controversy would hurt Labor, not the Liberal conspirators. As ever, when the whips are cracking, the presstitutes follow orders and act in their owners’ interests. Never more so than when power is at stake.

  • SmilingThrough

    There seems to be a curious parallelism here.

    Many Guardian journalists, with some honourable exceptions, seem as determined to alienate their loyal, paying readers as many members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, with some honourable exceptions, seem determined to alienate loyal, paying party members.

    Then there are inconsistencies like the following.

    While in this clip

    Guardian columnist Zoe Williams appears critical of Labour MPs, she is nonetheless backing their Portland/Blairite coup

    While Patrick Wintour, a Blair/Mandelson/Campbell conduit for 30 years has now moved to become Diplomatic Editor, his old pattern of non-sourced, non-attributable, Westminster Village reporting of Labour lives on.

    What makes it worse is that the Guardian/Observer is now devoting so much of its shrinking income from paying readers to attracting a global following it leaves little for professional, detailed reporting of what is happening outside that incestuous, self-absorbed village.

    Click-me columnists are seen as more important than a solid body of news journalists — and usually come cheaper.

    Fortunately the internet provides those of us feeling frustrated by and angry by this self-defeating King’s Place strategy with many alternative sources, including this one.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Smiling, for years I have found that the WSWS has provided real journalism, honest, thorough, insightful-despite the requisite excursions into Trotskyite theology. The contrast with the propaganda sewer of the Rightwing MSM is stark. And there are many other such honest sites. The Guardian is a foul sewer, showing just how the money power can desecrate anything, but who cares? They can go to the Devil Blairzebub.

  • DerekM

    Watching the smear campaign on Jeremy from all angles of the press is quite an eye opener if you have not seen it already in action,we watched it used to full effect in the indyref campaign in Scotland and the following GE its never stopped really since 2012 lol

    JC just needs to stick it out and his support need to understand that every lie they can think off will be chucked at them by the press.
    They really dont want him to be anywhere near getting a chance at PM both sides of the establishment red and blue.

    Though i think the conservatives could maybe face a post referendum general election backlash like Labour felt in the Scotland 2015 ,referendum have a funny way of concentrating a vote preference and getting people out to vote while the other side go back to normal and split their vote through party preference.

    Scary thought Nigel as PM if the leave side dont get their way best of luck with that guys i dont think we Scots are going to hang around to find out though.

    • Ultraviolet

      The BBC is at it again this morning:

      Labour leadership: Shadow cabinet bid to ease Corbyn out

      Shadow cabinet members are drawing up plans to encourage Jeremy Corbyn to resign, BBC Newsnight has learned.

      The MPs want to broker a compromise with the Labour leader, under which the party would preserve some of his key policies if he agrees to step down.

      Come on now. How effing stupid would you have to be a) to believe this and b) to think a single one of his new approaches would survive if he resigns. Apart from anything else, that is not within the gift of any individual group of MPs to offer.

      You would have thought Clive Lewis’s tweet to the Mirror – “I told you last night this was untrue.Corbyn stays or goes thu the democratic process of our Party” – would be enough for the BBC not to run a rumour based on unnamed sources, not to mention Diane Abbott’s selfie on the Commons terrace when the media claimed she was blocking the door to Corbyn’s office, and her comment that “this is not Labour MPs vs Corbyn – they’re at war with party members”. Then there was Andy Burnham’s “Not true, Dan” in response to the Mirror’s piece.

      But it is entirely possible, likely even, that there are still one or two traitors within the Shadow Cabinet to feed such bull to the media.

  • Bhante

    Shortly after the Snowdon revellations first started appearing I approached Guardian correspondent Kate Connolly about my own experiences, which are in very stark contrast to the establishment claims that the secret services are protecting “security”. She was very excited, and wanted to write something about me, and wanted to meet me again after consulting with her colleagues at the Guardian. It would have brought out very clearly how the establishment twist their “security” laws in grossly illegal ways to pursue goals which have nothing whatsoever to do with security. I gave her a few supporting documents about my case. However when I next tried to see her she was literally terrified of me and refused to let me into the building. Then one of her colleagues from Reuters (in the neighbouring office) came out to speak to me. He told me Kate had been threatened with losing her job if she even spoke to me.

  • Archie

    I had a look at Gaby Hinshliff’s Twitter. Quite stunning levels of vacuity.

    • Chris Rogers

      But she has an Oxbridge education, so its quite all right to be empty headed.

    • Resident Dissident

      Just a hint but if you want depth rather than vacuity don’t go to Twitter.

  • Alan

    There is a report in the Mail which claims MPs say they’ll use ancient law to impeach Tony Blair of misleading Parliament over the Iraq war in the wake of the Chilcot report. If this is true this could explain the urgency of the Blairites to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn before Monday.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Labour List runs a piece this morning by a professional pollster, James Morris, who opines that a 50% level of support for Corbyn among party members as opposed to a 40% level of support for his nearest rival, Angela Eagle, demonstrates that his support is “fragile”.

    James Morris is a partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, the outfit that Craig wrote about recently as having published the most spectacular anti-Corbyn piece of “research” to date while refusing to say who funded it.

  • Harry Ryder

    As usual Murray hits the nail on the head. Here are some comments I posted recently on The Guardian (before I read this piece). Article Headline the comments relate to at the :

    Truly stunning the way the guardian is spinning this. Watson to negotiate a deal for corbyn to VOLUNTARILY step down.

    How is that any different to corbyn being bullied into stepping down?

    But then they say “Watson” has urged MPs to do everything to avoid a damaging contest. Why have you just tried to pretend the onus is on Corbyn then?

    The guardian then goes on to say it remains to be seen if corbyn retains the support of the members, just after quoting their own poll which shows that he has!!!

    There is no way the coup plotters can save face here. They have lost, it is morally right that they have lost. They now need to shut up and start acting like a team behind their elected leader.

    Note also how the suggestion that corbyn might voluntarily step down comes entirely from the Watson camp, before any discussions have even been agreed to. Your headline should have been WATSON THINKS CORBYN SHOULD STEP DOWN or CORBYN TO NEGOTIATE FOR REACTIONARIES TO SHUT THE FRIK UP

    Also, why does the article not mention that eagle booked a press conference for 3pm on Thursday, postponed for 24 hours to allegedly give jezza time to resign (very generous Angela but raincheck) and still hasn’t launched her challenge 30 hours after that? Instead it merely says “she may run on Monday”

    truly inadequate reporting from a paper that has lost sight of its purpose.

    The Guardian, in fact 90% TV and print journalists, have completely lost sight of their historic responsibility and remit to hold the establishment to account, to scrutinise the claims of politicians and to tell the truth.

    They now just think they’re on the dame team as the establishment politicians, just enjoy that fact and never question it.

    Hinsliffe even tweeted recently about people who quote “mad articles from the canary” nothing could be more revealing. The canary is doing exactly what the press should be doing but which it has abnegated in favour of agreeable lunches with politicians.

    The fact that the torpid Hinsliffe cannot see this is an incredibly sad comment on the moribund state of the old media.

    As Gaby Hinsliff wrote today, the volume and vitriol of abuse from Corbyn supporters against MPs and all opponents is

    …….A PR stunt by Portland Communications, Progress’ PR firm.

    It is the PLP that has been indulging in thuggery at their PLP meetings with Corbyn where, according to one witness they tried to “break him as a man”, knowing they have to bully him out before it can go to a leadership election. What a wonderful crew they are.

    Love the way Toynbee, Hinsliff et al have taken up this “Corbyn Thuggery” line so that they convince themselves they are supporting a moral crusade and not a sordid establishment coup.

    We have had an endless series of lies from the coup plotters:

    500 Councillors sign a petition for Corbyn to go (several of whom subsequently angrily demanded their names be taken off because they had never given it)

    Streatham constituency Party gives a vote of no confidence in Corbyn (after locking his supporters out of the meeting)

    Clive Lewis trying to persuade Corbyn to go (subsequently he tweeted to say that was not the case at all)

    On top of all this, we learn that the Coup was plotted at least 10 days BEFORE the Leave Vote, so not about that at all, which exposes Eagle, Benn and A Johnson as a bunch of devious liars.

    As for Eagle being tough, she trailed a leadership challenge for 3pm Thursday, postponed it for 24 hours to, er “give JC a chance to resign” (Generous of you Angela but raincheck) and then fails to declare today as well. And this is someone who wants to be in charge of making important decisions as Prime Minister.

    Corbyn, on the other hand, still standing and holding the Tories to account after taking 172 knives in the back and staring down the entire British Establishment. There’s the man I want in charge in a crisis, thank you very much.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      The more they throw at Corbyn and he stays standing, the more like a statesman and potential PM he looks. This has apparently not occurred to the pygmies trying to oust him.

      • Resident Dissident

        So John what has Corbyn actually achieved while he has been Leader of the Labour Party?

        • John Spencer-Davis

          Go and look on line if you want to know that. You know perfectly well that there are numerous lists of his achievements listed on line. If you want to post them up here and argue that they are not worth much, fine. Applause. But don’t expect me to do your work for you at the moment.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          Not in the least. I am engaged in maintaining pro-Corbyn morale at the moment. Clearly you are deliberately doing everything you can to disrupt that – that is perfectly transparent. If you want to refute what I say, go and do your own work and present it here. If I want to engage with it I will. If other people want to engage with it, they will. But if you ask me pointless questions that you can easily post the answers to yourself, either as opinions or as facts, you are not going to get answered.

          Now please stop wasting my time. End of.

          • Resident Dissident

            Has he advanced the Labour Party’s standing in local elections and the polls against an unpopular Conservative Government by the extent normally seen by effective opposition during the mid term? No
            Has he stopped the Tories from executing any of their policies damaging the interests of working people? No
            Has he campaigned effectively to get support for Labour’s policy of remaining in the EU? No
            Do the electorate see him as a credible Prime Minister? No

            Good look in your task in maintaining pro Corbyn morale – might I suggest that one way of doing this is to try and point to some tangible achievements rather than sniping at his and your opponents in the Labour Party – which is of course what Corbyn and his friends have been doing for years. Opposition and ideological purity is all that you have – all the talk about a new kind of politics is just bullshit I’m afraid.

          • Clark

            We won’t see what Corbyn is capable of before the parliamentary branch of his own party stops sabotaging him, and I suspect that will only happen after enough of them have been replaced.

          • Clark

            RD, it is over three years until the next general election. Will you not even support Corbyn until the Chilcot Report comes out? There will be plenty of time for leadership disputes later. Right now you should be supporting him because the Conservatives are in disarray and there’s the EU referendum result to try to respond to.

            Corbyn has won me over to the Labour party for the first time in my life, and that after Blair, Straw and Brown’s record of illegal war, torture and the response to the 2008 banking crisis.

          • Chris Rogers


            Moral is very high, unlike a few days ago when even I succumbed to doubt and depression – revitalised by talking to some of those directly involved with John McDonnell – these words were a revelation and raised my spirits considerably, as has contact with the chaps over at The Canary, male and female I hasten to add.

            I have one great concern though, namely that the Labour Party elite, opposed to democracy and reform, will proscribed membership go Momentum and eject its members as operating as a Party within a Party, much as they did with Militant in the 1980s – as such, I have not associated myself formally with Momentum, but support its work absolutely and congrats them for their ability to organise and drive membership from ordinary fold across much of England and Wales.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            I am astonished by the continual lying, if in fact it is lying. Three or four times I have read in different sources that Corbyn is staying on with reluctance and persuasion is needed, that aides are preparing an exit plan, etc etc, quoting anonymous “sources”.

            These are immediately denied by Corbyn’s spokespersons. So somebody’s lying, and the media are just obediently repeating it. On the form shown so far, it appears to me that the anonymous “sources” are just lying.

            In fact, I am staggered by the extent to which MPs and others have apparently just been lying their butts off with complete casualness, as though this is perfectly normal behaviour. I believe it would be impossible to be a Labour MP and not to know that this is a pre-planned, carefully stage-managed affair. The way events unfolded have made that plain as daylight – it would have been impossible for the resignations to have taken place in such a timed sequence without that being so, for example. Yet several MPs have publicly denied that. How people can be such extraordinary liars without choking on their own saliva is beyond me.

            Glad you are feeling better.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Here is an excellent example of what I mean, from the Sunday Express today:


            “…the deadlock continued over the weekend and there were claims that a stubborn Mr Corbyn is being “controlled” by his shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

            A source within the party claimed: “McDonnell is the puppet master. He is in and out of Jeremy’s office and Corbyn’s staff are sick of him.

            “McDonnell gave loads of interviews last week about Jeremy but Jeremy can’t say anything to a reporter? McDonnell is pulling the strings.

            When Jeremy was elected last year we thought we should give him a chance but every nightmare we could have thought of has come true. The Tories are tearing themselves apart and we can’t do anything about it.” ”

            and from the same article:

            “…a spokesman for the shadow chancellor denied that Mr McDonnell is controlling the leader.

            He said: “These malicious allegations are completely and utterly false. John and Jeremy have been close friends for over 35 years and have campaigned together on numerous issues.

            “If anyone thinks Jeremy can be forced to do something against his will, then they have never met him.””


            Two diametrically opposed accounts. Not more than one of them can be true. The first quotation makes clear that the “source” is either one of the hostile MPs or someone affiliated with him or her. And on balance I think it is clear that that person is absolutely fucking lying through their teeth or is so deluded about what is actually going on that he or she cannot be relied on for a moment. Notice that this testimony is put first in the Express, rather than the testimony from someone who is actually within the offices and therefore is in a better position to know what is going on.

            I might have more sympathy with the anti-Corbyn crowd if it were not blindingly obvious that they are a bunch of utter and downright liars.


          • John Spencer-Davis

            In that same report it is claimed that Angela Eagle suddenly took it upon herself to step forward with the leadership challenge, and the other MPs didn’t like it and told her to fuck off, which is why the challenge was not announced on Thursday.

            Haw haw haw, if true. Nothing like punch-ups between your opponents to increase morale.

    • Hieroglyph

      They are using the tactics of an interrogator, or perhaps an Mi5 spook. Basically, they are attempting to break him down, and manipulate him into resigning, using every tool at their disposal. I am rarely surprised by the unpleasant nature of politicians, but this has genuinely been an eye-opener for me. And what’s notable is their utter desperation, which dare I say it must stem from fear. Since their behaviour is increasingly bizarre, I do wonder what they are scared of. Prison, perhaps? That focuses the mind.

      What’s also clear is that they do not give a fuck about the Labour Party. They would willingly destroy the party to oust Corbyn, and indeed that is exactly what they are already doing. I personally wish they’d just fuck off and create another SDP, leaving Corbyn and his merry band alone. But, they can’t do that, can they? Instead, they happily destroy their own career to save the worthless hides of Mandelslime and Blair. Not rational behaviour at all.

      I have my doubts Corbyn can survive, and will be gutted if they bully him out. The result will be that most of the plotters will lose their seat of course, which is only small consolation. Their surprise will please me though, for they think they’ll win without Corbyn, more evidence of irrationality right there.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        Whether they would have won a general election with Corbyn or not, they won’t now, in my opinion. As a matter of fact I believe the only way Labour now has a hope of winning the next General Election is for Corbyn to survive and stay as leader. How many Labour voters do they think they are going to either retain, or win back, after the debacle the country has just witnessed.

    • Alcyone: The Age when Eagles are Creepy Toothless Crocodiles

      Classic never-a-mind, propagating hollow nonsense.

  • Craig Robinson

    I wrote on another site recently how the Guardian’s lack of journalistic integrity these days has pretty much ruined every last drop od respect they got for Leveson.

    I also got a begging letter on the Guardian and all I thought of was good riddance. Say what you like about the Murdoch press, at least they nail their colours to the mast instead of trying to mislead the public by smear and insinuation whilst simultaneously claiming to be holier than thou when it comes to integrity.

    It is a complete rag now.

    • michael norton

      The Guardian have stuck all the way with their opposition to Hinkley Point C
      and for that they should be applauded.

      Britain’s flagship energy project, Hinkley Point C, is hanging by a thread as critics inside key backer EDF use the political turmoil from the Brexit vote to try to derail the already delayed £18bn scheme.

      Jean Bernard Levy, the EDF group chief executive, and the French and British governments, have in recent days insisted they are as committed as ever to a positive final investment decision being taken as soon as possible.

      But well-placed sources in Paris have told the Guardian that the already divided EDF board, which must make that decision, is in danger of fracturing further as former supporters of the project worry about Brexit.

      “The situation for Levy was already very delicate,” said one source. “But it has become a lot more difficult because there is so little certainty around the British government,” they added. “No one could know today which way a vote [of the board on Hinkley] would go.”

  • Ba'al's Sensitive Sock

    Did anyone actually link to this directly? Apologies if they did, but Smeeth’s loyalties evidently extend to the US as well as Israel (via her BICOM connection)

    Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Burton Ruth Smeeth (strictly protect) told us April 20 that Brown had intended to announce the elections on May 12, and hold them after a very short (matter of weeks) campaign season. Labour had been “just” 7 points behind the Conservatives in some polls taken right after the G-20 Summit, which other Labour contacts had told us was close to an acceptable standing from which to launch a campaign, but the drop in Labour’s poll numbers following Smeargate forced Brown to abandon his plan, a despondent Smeeth said. (Note: This information has not been reported in the press. End note.)

    • Andy

      Smeeth knew she’d been rumbled, that’s why she ran away shouting ”antisemitism”.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Ms Smeeth said she thought the comments could have been made at a breakfast meeting she attended with a friend who worked at the US embassy. She said: “I was hugely surprised to see my name in that [the cable]. I have no recollection of saying what has been attributed to me. I would not consider myself to be a source for the US government.”

      Oh, you sea-green innocent, Ruth. Ask yourself how a prospective provincial Labour candidate not only makes a ‘friend who works at the US embassy’ but is invited to meetings – not social gatherings, but meetings, there, and have a little cry at the recollection. Another tissue might be required as you contemplate the slight discrepancy between being named by the US Embassy as a protected source for your words, and your regrettable memory lapse.

      Still, you’ve got the Blair methodology taped: deny everything and emote.

  • Dan H

    The Guardian is rapidly transforming into a Blairite Daily Mail.

    Giving them money will only enable this.

    • Andy

      The Guardian is more like the Express or Sun, for people who think they are intellectuals. Every opinion peace could be easily condensed into one sneering lying paragraph.

  • Chris Rogers

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated. ]

    The fun of posting on The Guardian presently is that many of the more clear minded readership, most notably the old timers who have been active on CIF since its inception, clearly see through the lies, spin and propaganda and point it out continually when given the limited opportunity to do so.

    Here’s one I posted against Polly’s brave article promoting Angela Eagle as the next Labour Leader, my post, one of hundreds elicited 141 up votes, despite being one of the first comments on her propaganda for the day; Here’s what I said:

    “God, still parroting the ‘ChickenCoup’ crap are we Polly, tell you what, why don’t we discuss Constitutions, Party policy and abiding by democratic decisions taken by a clear majority of the Party membership. Instead, we get this propaganda and puff piece.

    Still, Polly has form with Labour Party Traitors, she did after all side with the Gang of Four splitters and stand for the SDP – short memory our Polly has, me, not so short, and as our Jewish peers remind us, never forget and never forgive!”

  • Andrew Lloyd

    Surely, the greater point here is the destruction of journalism into ‘churnalism’ which is evident across the media. Slagging off The Guardian is kind of missing the larger point.

  • Irene Shemaria

    The Guardian has definitely gone down the tubes…awful journalists in general…biased articles…sickening. It looks as though the paper has been taken over by Zionists….very sad. So, anyone who would hand over money to these so called journalists would need their heads looking at. The majority of them don’t speak the truth; they just have their own agenda. Where have all the decent Guardian journalists gone? This paper is now nothing but a dirty tabloid.

  • rob

    Thank you so much Mr Murray. I’m a retired person now, but spent my working life as an unqualified, itinerant worker, across a number of low paid trades. Apart from reading books, my one source of understanding of world events has been the newspapers. I’ve been amazed at how totally biased the so called, ‘liberal’ Guardian has become. On Israel and during the Corbyn situation it has been sickeningly clear that they have moved from being just biased and have now established credentials as an organ of pure propaganda.

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