The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Guardian 69

In an instance typical of the morally abhorrent neoliberal propaganda rag that the Guardian has become, it reports that the latest respectable opinion poll puts support for Catalan Independence at 48.7% – while failing to report that the same poll puts opposition to Catalan Independence at 43.6%. By excluding the don’t knows and failing to admit it has done so, the Guardian quite deliberately leads readers to presume that the 48.7% support for Independence means there is a majority against. In fact the true figures are roughly Yes 53%, No 47%, excluding don’t knows.

I don’t know either Stephen Burgen or Jennifer Rankin, the authors of the Guardian article, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and imagine that there was a period in their lives when they did not intend to become disgusting, stinking, lying worms churning out misleading crap on behalf of the Establishment. But then again, I could be wrong. Maybe they just do anything for money.

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69 thoughts on “The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Guardian

  • jake

    You cannot hope
    to bribe or twist,
    thank God! the
    British journalist.

    But, seeing what
    the man will do
    unbribed, there’s
    no occasion to.

    Humbert Wolfe

  • Kempe

    ” It also coincided with a regional poll that showed that support for an independent Catalan republic had risen to an almost three-year high in October, with 48.7% of Catalans believing the region should be independent, up from 41.1% in June. ”

    Where’s the lie? It could be argued that omitting the “Don’t Knows” to make the results look better is just as misleading.

  • Scot Finlayson

    what right have you/we to project our moral principles on journalists,

    journalism is a job not a moral crusade,

    morality in journalism is as fantastic as santa claus,you should stop believing in it after 6 year old

    • stewartb

      There are many relevant sources one could quote from in terms of ‘ideals’ for journalism that are held by many journalists themselves, but this seems relevant here in the present context. Its from Kevin Marsh, (then) Editor of the BBC Today Programme in a speech given to the Society of Editors on the subject ‘What makes a good journalist?’ ( 19 October 2004)

      “The public deserves – and our system needs – journalists who read from both sides of the balance sheet and who understand that a partial truth is more lethal than a blatant untruth.”


  • Johhny Guffgarments

    Fuck the Guardian. The government is about to fall.

    Johnson, Rudd and Fallon are all on the “Tory 40” list. You can read the list here.

    Boris Johnson: NDA between him and Danielle Fleet (Philip Davies'[s] researcher)
    Amber Rudd: Workplace relationship with Kwasi Kwarteng (PPS to the Chancellor)
    Liam Fox’s entry simply says “Adam Werrity”
    Liz Truss’s is the funniest: “Fornicated with male researchers whilst backbench MP + sexual relations with Kwasi Kwertang”
    Jake Berry: Impregnated Alice Robinson (Boris Johnson’s Office Manager)
    Michael Fallon: Odd sexual penchants and sexual with fellow MP Mike Freer – a drunk

    • reel guid

      What about Labour revelations? That should balance things up. What’s scandalous about two MPs having a relationship anyway? Why should that be considered a scandal?

      • Sarge

        Standard Tory deflection, can’t accept your ministers are abusing their position to prey on young researchers?

        • reel guid

          Sarge,you must be new to this blog if you think I’m a Tory. And I totally welcome the uncovering of all this, resulting as it has from the Weinstein revelations. I was merely pointing out to Johhny that the word is Labour will have to face similar revelations.

          I was also observing that throwing in stories about MPs having affairs with each other is irrelevant to this serious issue.

          • freddy

            The Liberals have previously had the greatest propensity to be perverted.
            One of their prime ministers used to amuse himself by taking fallen women, home.

  • Paulo

    There is another issue related to this. After the so-called Civil War… Franco sought to undermine Catalunya by flooding it with migrants from other parts of Spain. So what status does their vote hold today?

    • Johhny Guffgarments

      Very few who fought real fascism in Catalonia in the civil war were Catalan nationalists. Why do you call it a “so-called” civil war? More than half a million were killed in it.

      • Paulo

        For the same reason that it is wrong to refer to the war in Syria a “civil war”
        In Spain, Germany, Italy, … sent in their squadrons. It wasn’t merely a section of Spanish society against the other. It became an international war — the prequel to the world war. Nothing “civil” about it. And very soon the popular bit of the Republic was suppressed — Read Homage to Catalonia; or Borkenau’s Spanish Cockpit

        • N_

          Thanks for this answer.

          I read both Orwell and Borkenau many years ago. I was wondering whether the involvement of foreign armed forces in the Spanish war might be the reason for your objection to calling the war “civil”.

          The Stalinist suppression of the revolutionary movement (not just popular, not just part of the Republic, but revolutionary) in Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain was indeed a major feature of those times. The CNT leadership’s militarisation of what had been the popular armed committees – the “libertarian militias” in the days when neither of those terms was exclusively associated with the right wing – also played a role in the revolution’s defeat.

          But many or indeed most civil wars have had foreign involvement, more than two sides, or both. Foreign armed forces were present in both the Russian and Finnish civil wars, for example.

          It’s good that you are interested in the revolutionary movement in Spain, which itself had many participants from outside the country. But the existence and struggle and eventual defeat of this movement was precisely how the Spanish war was not a prequel to WW2, even if in terms of bourgeois democracy plus Stalinism on one side and fascism on another side it was. It became a prequel to WW2 once the revolutionary movement had been defeated. This is important because “Spain was a prequel to WW2” was used by some socialists to justify their support for the strike-banning British government against its German opposite number.

          I probably prefer in the right company to call it “the Spanish war” or “the war in Spain”, so I appreciate and sympathise with where you’re coming from. I feared for a moment that you might be an English xenophobe who thinks the only real civil war was fought in England in the 17th century and who mocks Spanish people for “not being able to fight their own civil war” (which I have heard English nationalists do), but clearly you aren’t! 🙂

    • E F Nicholson

      Moving from one part of Spain to an other doesn’t make you a “migrant”, no more than moving from Sheffield to Cardiff. Franco didn’t “flood” Catalonia with migrants, rather many industry where moved there because it was on the frontier and like all economies people moved to where there was work. Which is one reason Catalonia is now one of the richest regions of Spain. If you ever lived in Catalonia you will find many 2nd generation Andalusian’s are some of the most pro-independence. You really think you can open that question of who are the “real” Catalonians? I don’t see how you can go down that track.

      • N_

        Paulo wasn’t asking who are the real Catalans.

        When people move from one part of a country to another, or indeed if they move from England to Wales, why doesn’t that make them migrants? I mean when they move a considerable distance and up sticks completely, not when they move a few miles down the road or keep strong links.

  • Bert.

    Are you sure you can get away with calling these people: “disgusting, stinking, lying worms” without getting into another libel?

    The problem, it strikes me, is that they may not be regarded as LYING. They are simply not telling the whole truth and, in so doing, leaving the reader to arrive at an incorrect conclusion. Of course, you can say it is LYING by ommission, but woudl a court agree?


        • craig Post author

          I could cover several walls with letters from lawyers threatening libel actions against this blog over the last twelve years. only once have I had to ask people to contribute. If I ever had to do so again, people could decide on the merits of the case if they wished to contribute or not.

          • N_

            Bert, I think you are being a bit lily-livered.

            But on the issue of common invective, you may not be able to sue someone successfully for a big bag of compensation if they call you a shithead, but there is some criminal law in this area too. People should acquaint themselves with the Crown Prosecution Service’s Under s127 of the Communications Act 2003 it is an offence (“Improper use of public electronic communications network”) to send “by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” (emphasis added); however, when the CPS refer to that section they say that for them to take action (and we are talking about criminal prosecution here, not the civil act of somebody suing), a mesage sent “for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another” must also be “false”. Someone would get laughed out of court if he were to found his claim for a squillion quid of compo on the insistence that his head is not literally composed of excrement.

  • Hieroglyph

    I have, without question, entirely given up on The Guardian. Dumb feminists, angry neocons, and deep state talking points, all day, every day. I couldn’t give a fuck about Beyonce, or Trans people having babies. Also, genuinely appalled that they carry on supporting Crooked Hilary (check out her links to Haitian child smuggling, you feminist chumps). And their daft never-Trumpism is just embarrassing now. They’ll probably interview Kevin Spacey soon.

    You can literally get more news from the National Enquirer. Viner is either a total incompetent, or something much more sinister …

    • J

      Her mission was a complete success whether it was to make Guardian readers cool with ‘business as usual’ or destroy it.

      Turns out she managed a little of both. It’s on it’s knees as financially. The remaining readership is either delusional or happy to be misinformed. Hard to see how it’s reputation could become more tarnished yet there’s still some good literary reviews and nature writing. For the most part The guardian as we knew it was largely gone before Rusbridger left.

      It’s an in flight magazine. What isn’t product placement or false context could fit into a single column most days.

    • N_

      Jesus, Hieroglyph! When did you start reading the Guardian? I gave up a few years after it Thatcher-Blairised and plummeted into thickoland starting in 1994.

      • N_

        Nicholas Walter, after 50 years of living in Guardian land, called it a day when, after a posthumous pardon was granted to Derek Bentley in 1993, they published a huge front page and inside spread piece expressing the point of view of the hangman.

  • Julian Wells

    To be fair, it may be that — like all too many hacks — they just aren’t very good with numbers

  • SA

    The Guardian has been very one sided also in its total Russophobia and taking the side of the rebels in Syria. They used to open a lot of their articles for comment but in these two cases have stopped doing so because the majority of comments have exposed the falseness of the reporting. Notice also that now that the Syrian government has pushed back IS , there is almost a news blackout, not just from the Guardian, but also the BBC and others about Syria except to hash up old accusations regarding Khan Shaikhun.
    It appears that the Guardian lost its indipendence when MI5 demanded they smash their computer hard drives, an act of state suppression of free media hardly remembered. The BBC of course lost its indipendence before then over the sexed up dossier.
    But of course we can boast that we have freedom of speech.

  • SA

    Somewhat off topic but the Manafort indictment is yet another distraction. It turns out that the indictment rests on activities carried out in Ukraine between Manafort and a Russian oligarch several years ago. So far nothing to do with Russia except that said oligarch (as all Russian oligarchs) is said to be close to Putin. The fact that all this happened before the elections in the US and also the minor fact that Manafort has been sued by the oligarch with the allegation that he ran away with 18 million dollars, is brushed over and if you read the headlines in the papers you would think this was a smoking gun. What this appears to be is a routine case of international money laundering and exploitation which seems to be rife. Any interest that the rich have in Ukraine, Russia and the old Soviet Union satellites is purely in trying to make as much easy money as possible.

  • AlfaWhiskey

    While I’m not familiar with the UKs libel laws and hope you’ll win the current action against you, isn’t

    “I don’t know either Stephen Burgen or Jennifer Rankin, the authors of the Guardian article, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and imagine that there was a period in their lives when they did not intend to become disgusting, stinking, lying worms churning out misleading crap on behalf of the Establishment. But then again, I could be wrong. Maybe they just do anything for money.”

    asking for it? You make perfectly good points without the insults and attacks like these may even deter people from contributing to your defence fund.

    On topic: I wouldn’t automatically assume, that the remainig 51,3 % oppose independence as polls like that usually have an “undecided” answer as well. Still they should include all numbers for the reasons you’ve stated.

  • Jon_ish

    I think this is becoming a fairly common trick these days. A few months ago the Irish Independent ran the headline, ‘Squeezed Middle Want Tax Cuts’, but the stats provided showed that it was a minority of middle earners who wanted tax cuts- 2/5, 2/5 wanted an increase and 1/5 wanted no change. I have always challenged the assertion that you can show anything with statistics – numbers are facts. However, as the Guardian and the Irish Independent demonstrate, you can bury them behind very misleading headlines. In the Guardian’s case it may well have been the editor who omitted the missing stats and the Irish Independent’s case a headline could have been added by the editor and not the journalist. However, complicity lies in the journalists’ lack of integrity….they keep coming back for more (money)

    • frankywiggles

      I’ve often wondered what the Irish Independent sees itself as being independent from, since many of its writers seem to view Irish independence from Britain as an historic error.

  • Ian

    You’ve really gone off on one on this. A casual reader wouldn’t infer what you claim. The stat is buried in an article giving their overview of what is happening at the moment. They are likely to note that support for independence is very high, and has gone up. Which is true. There is no reason that they will go, ‘aha, the majority is against’. When reporting polls, it is usual to give figures for each party, and then don’t knows. They could have linked to that for people interested, but your insistence on what the ‘true’ figure is just as much a political interpretation, by excluding the don’t knows, as is their version which doesn’t give the opposition percentage. Really, this is hysterical argument over a figure which is correct, although not wholly explained or the focus of the article. Giving figures as you interpret them wouldn’t have changed either the article that much, or people’s impressions of what is going on. This is political anorak stuff. And the ‘invective’ is just ridiculous and unworthy of someone who claims to take the moral high ground.

    • craig Post author

      You ignore the relentless hostility of the Guardian’s ludicrously one-sided coverage of the Catalan Independence bid.

      • Ian

        Maybe, but I haven’t been following their coverage in such detail. If that is the case I would have thought you could have made your point with some more egregious examples. And without the bad-tempered splenetic outburst. I don’t really buy the conspiracy stuff about a party line being promoted. The Guardian has been struggling for a long time to find a role in the digital world. They have always been a small circulation newspaper, so it more of a case of an uncertain identity in a transformed environment where they are a relative minnow amongst the sharks. The liberal ethos that sustained the paper in the past is now a relic, and the divergent approaches and the mix of snapshot reporting, blogging and cultural debates with more researched pieces is more a reflection of their struggle to find a way for newspapers to survive amongst the fragmentation and revenue losses of all the papers. In other words, confusion more than conspiracy, and the kind of identity crisis that many liberals are undergoing.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            You don’t like my prose, but you have nothing substantive to say about my opinion. The Guardian is pro- Europe: demonstrably true. To the point of excluding other views. The Guardian is Blairite: demonstrably true in the majority of its opinion pieces, and in its frequent hosting of Blair when he has the urge to communicate his irrelevant views. It throws sops to the Left: Monbiot, chiefly, and anything pro-Palestinian once in a blue moon. The sops dry up during elections, witness the Guardian’s sustained assault on Corbyn and promotion of the Blairites.

            It would be etymologically more correct to say that my comments are a litany of cliches, incidentally. Such lazy usage is confirmation of your indolent approach to debate, and indeed, ratiocination…I can only assume you are a Grauniad hack.


  • Ghillie

    The UK establishment anti Catalan stance is sickening. Yet unsurprising, sadly.

    Excellent correction of shoddy, in fact, lying journalism.

    Are you being a wee bit rough on worms though? Useful wee creatures.

    Mibee ‘ disgusting, stinking, lying ….., churning out misleading crap on behalf of the establishment…’

  • Laguerre

    Is there another British national newspaper which is better than the Guardian, for all its faults? Another one without similar faults?

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I just don’t understand, acting as if opinions on independence are firmly set when it was proved in the Scottish one that the voters were scared into voting against ir by what was going on in Iceland.

    For those sceptics who still don’t believe that the USA has the capability to make quakes, even to look like nuclear tests, I suggest they look at the six it has made in North Korea, the latest one killing 200 North Koreans. The coverage of the media and posters on this site about all this is despicable.

    Catalonia is a sitting duck for a far worse scare.

  • reel guid

    Veteran Labour trougher Lord Foulkes tweeting that he wants an explanation of why former Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick of the SNP was in Catalonia addressing “a rebel meeting”.

    Because she wanted too, you stupid unelected peer.

  • Wesley

    As somebody who hasn’t read a newspaper for a good few years, are there any decent newspapers left?

  • James

    It’s terribly sad to see how this paper has collapsed over the last 15 years or so.

    Back in the 1980s, it was a serious liberal-progressive paper, with a coherent editorial line, some good correspondents and some interesting and thoughtful articles. Whether or not one always agreed with it, it was always a good antidote to the pro-Thatcher twaddle found in most of the other national papers.

    But now look at it! A muddled mish-mash of hard line identity politics and equally hard-line neo-conservatism, with wall to wall Russophobia. And what used to be liberal newspaper is now in the forefront of demands for the internet to be censored and free speech to be silenced.

    And while they will +always+ let you comment on an article about what sort of hardwood logs are best for your £3000 woodburning stove, or which £5000 mountain bike is best for your child, chances are that no comments will be allowed on anything that is remotely important. That is if they even bother to report it.

    • Wolsto

      The cricket writing is good. And they do still have a broad-ish range of opinion writers, I’ll happily accept disagreeing with some of their pieces so long as there’s a range of views on offer.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I never thought I’d say this, but Murdoch’s Times is now a better paper, except for the cartoons. I can’t imagine what the core, mostly female and transgendered readership of the Guardian is, now, but I think I’d run away from them if I met them in the street. And Martin Rowson seems to be appearing less frequently than he used to. Diverging worldview, or declining cash flow? Product placement? Everyone’s doing it. The Torygraph is now the Voice of Beijing – a Guardian supplement with advertorials on worthless ‘green’ ‘health’ products scarcely figures.

    O/T, Private Eye today tells us that “the Standard site now automatically refuses to publish any comment which includes the word ‘Osborne’ ” (the editor, for those who may have missed it, being the ex-Chancellor of that name)

    • Ian

      This is really old fogey Telegraph-style stuff about women and transgender people in The Guardian. In case you hadn’t noticed women are 50% of our world, but have never been treated equally, and transgender people have been discriminated against and mocked for centuries. It is a good thing those wrongs are being righted.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Bit of ad-hominem, there? Old fogey? Telegraph? If the Grauniad wants to turn into a wimmin’s paper and punt a metropolitan, bourgeois-lefty feminist line to the exclusion of news gathering and less-than superficial comment, well, that’s probably a market niche, and it’s strapped for cash. Those old-fogey papers which actually had reporters covering news, and didn’t rely on hack op-eds and big pictures of anorexic models to fill them are like so yesterday, uncool and boring. Let’s chuck in an ironic #hashtag for lulz. And agree with Polly Toynbee over our skinny latte.

        Fine. But don’t expect someone who remembers the Guardian when it was the Manchester Guardian to approve.

        However, even the Guardian can manage a gem from time to time. Here’s Mohammed Abbas on the Balfour Declaration, yesterday (and in the print edition). Not, I imagine, that anyone on the Graun contributed to the piece, and I see there have been no pontifications from Blair this month in the Graun, so the good will soon be balanced by the fucking evil…

  • laguerre

    I repeat my question from earlier: if the Guardian is so bad, what newspaper is better? The answer is, of course, none.

    That’s why I continue my subscription to the Guardian. I may disagree with what they say 90% of the time, but at least it’s better than the propagandist crap emerging from elsewhere.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Given that Guardian news and comment coverage, such as it is, is in perfect lockstep with the BBC’s Radio 4 output, to the extent that listening to the latter obviates any need to buy the former, you could save yourself a useful amount of money there…

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Oh…your question.
      The Times, as I said earlier, is a better newspaper on every level. Whether or not you agree with its editorial line, it’s competent, interesting and actively seeks news. Let me tell you a little story.

      Years ago, during an election campaign, I (then SNP) was talking to a Tory councillor, N. I noticed he was holding a copy of ‘Private Eye’ (also a good read, very informative on corrupt business activities) and said ” Private Eye, N? I wouldn’t have expected you to read that.”
      To which he replied “I like to keep an eye on what the opposition’s doing”

      The Times is good for that. Try it.

  • Sharp Ears

    Read a copy of the Garudian when out last week. It is now very thin in content and appearance. It costs £2 and is printed on glorified tissue paper. It’s full of ads for their ‘masterclasses’, courses and events. There was one for Miliband D talking at the Emmanuel Centre about his Int’l Rescue outfit.

    ‘Join president of the International Rescue Committee and former foreign secretary David Miliband for a discussion about politics and the refugee crisis with the Guardian’s Anushka Asthana.

    Miliband’s new book Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time, takes a practical look at what should be done to help refugees – not just by governments with the power to change policy, but by citizens with the urge to change lives. Miliband shows that if we fail refugees, then we betray our own history, values and interests. The message is simple: rescue refugees and we rescue ourselves.

    As the son of second world war refugees, Miliband draws on his family story, and on revealing lessons from his own life in politics. He was MP for South Shields for 12 years and a leading figure in the Blair and Brown administrations, as minister of communities, environment secretary and foreign secretary, among other roles.

    Since 2013, he has overseen the IRC’s humanitarian relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programmes in 28 US cities. In former US president Bill Clinton’s words, Miliband is “one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time”.
    Standard tickets are £20, or £27 including a copy of Rescue (RRP £8.99)’

    Sadly they have even got hold of Ken Loach for an event on 2nd Dec. Cleggover too.

    ‘Join us for a festival celebrating the award-winning Guardian Weekend magazine. Bringing together a host of Guardian Weekend favourites in Stoke Newington Town Hall, the day will start with veteran director Ken Loach in conversation with Simon Hattenstone.

    Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg will talk to the Guardian’s Decca Aitkenhead and beauty columnist Sali Hughes will be in conversation with Guardian writer Katie Puckrick, with other speakers including chef and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi, fashion editor Jess Cartner-Morley, gardening agony aunt Alys Fowler, columnist Tim Dowling, and many, many more to be announced over the coming months.

    In addition to the talks and interviews, a Guardian Weekend curated winter market will pop up next door at the Stoke Newington Old Church. There, you will find over 15 stalls packed with perfect Christmas gift ideas. And in case you’re worried about going hungry, two street food trucks serving delicious grub will be parked just outside the Town Hall.

    Standard tickets are £50 each or £90 for two.’

    Doesn’t it all sound smug and self serving?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      It sounds very expensive. And indicative of desperate scrabbling to get out of a financial black hole. I’d forgotten the monster ads for its own products, due to a lack of anything substantial to fill the space. I imagine it will admit defeat fairly soon, and become the Islington and Hackney Guardian…

  • David Alonso Gimenez

    The Guardian is NOT the first time that publish half truths, fake news and misleading information. On top of that and publishing “morally abhorrent neoliberal propaganda” they still beg for money. Unbelievable!!!

    “Unlike many others we have not put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism as open as we can”

    I am a Catalan living in Chicago that flight back to BCN on the 1st of October just for the weekend for the Referendum. In spite of some opinions of journalists working for the The Guardian (, there was violence against voters on that day. Police acted furiously against peaceful voters. What was the problem in letting people peacefully vote and, after that, declare results illegal?

    BTW, who is Peter Preston —- who seems to be the author of the comment? Anybody knows him?

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Oh yes, friend, we know Peter Preston on here.

      He used to edit the Guardian, and now writes for it regularly on media issues. He’s notable for believing that emerging social media (like Craig Murray) are a bad thing for the world, and that the fact that most prominent journalists are drawn from an elite background won’t have any effect on their work.

      A typical stupid Establishment “Colonel Blimp”, in other words.

      If you want to tell him what you think of him, you can find him on Twitter @PJPrest.

      I wish you well. J

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