We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Down and dirty at the Guardian

This item at the Harry’s Place blog, concerning the Guardian newspaper’s coverage of issues such as Israel and Islamists, needs to get the widest possible attention:

“If Guardian journalists are twitchy about what is happening to their newspaper, they have only themselves to blame. The Jews were, as always, the canary in the coal mine. When those journalists stayed silent, either because they didn’t think they could say anything, or because they didn’t care, or even because they partly agreed, they allowed a culture of zaniness and extremism to take root at the newspaper. Now, the guns have been turned on them, over Syria and Middle East reporting generally, and it may well be too late for them to stop it. The Indymediaisation of The Guardian is likely spread further, across its other departments, as experts leave and are replaced by “Open Journalism” monomaniacs.”

10 comments to Down and dirty at the Guardian

  • Andrew Zalotocky

    So The Guardian’s new business model is to become a far-left group blog that trolls its own readers to generate advertising revenue. I guess we’ll have to stop referring to it as part of the MSM, as there is really nothing “mainstream” about it any more.

  • RRS

    Here is another example of what occurs when the determination of the objectives and of the means of attaining them at any facility are taken over by those who are charged with the execution of the operations of that facility.

    A facility (here a publication) is established with objectives and means determined by the founders, and “externally” controlled. It becomes staffed by persons charged to meet (or at least seek) the objectives and means so determined by others than themselves.

    Thereafter, it is superseded (legal term) step by step, to a condition where those originally charged to execute the external determinations first to dominate the determination of the means (“editorial independence”); then to determination of the objectives to conform to the selection of the means (Policy of Publication).

    That process, in its broader applications to many other facilities (education, e.g.), has been identified as Institutionalization . It leads to stagnation, decline and demise.

  • RRS


    “Mainstream” in modern urban circumstance would have to include the streams of the sewerage ssytems. They are, after all, critical streams for the conditions of living.

  • Slartibartfarst

    The Harry’s place article merely states something that has been blindingly obvious to some of us for some time.

    So, where @Andrew Zalotocky says:

    So The Guardian’s new business model is to become a far-left group blog that trolls its own readers to generate advertising revenue.

    – I feel bound to suggest that there’s maybe nothing new about it – the G seems to have been in this state for quite some time.

    You don’t really seem to get any journalistic thinking or comment from the rag. It can’t deliver. There’s bugger all journalistic investigation (who needs it when the conclusion is already decided anyway?), and it all seems to be overtly biased religio-political ideology. And it seems to be getting worse than the BBC in that regard – if such were possible.

    I still read the news from the BBC, the G and from the official Russian and Chinese press, but it’s really only to get an overview of the crawling mess of bigotry and propaganda masquerading as journalism about current affairs. How they avoid telling the truth about things helps you to get a sense for where – in what direction – the truth may lie.
    As a reader, I think this “truth-detecting” approach probably helps to stretch the mind a bit.

  • As well as the authors, I think the Guardian’s commenters on Comment Is Free have been gradually getting loonier as well, though some of them are still very good, including some I disagree with.

    You notice the change when reading the comments to articles about the financial crisis. Any comment early on in a thread that includes the right trigger words such as “banksters” or “neoliberal” is multiply recommended, even if it makes little sense on its own terms. I’ve lost it now, but I saw a comment a few weeks back that seemed to claim that the accounting principle that every debit must be matched by a credit was some sort of conspiracy against the workers, although it was so confused that it was hard to be sure what the writer meant. What depressed me was not that it was a loony comment, but that it had about 40 recommends.

  • Paul Marks

    About two hundred thousand people buy the Guardian.

    And about 80 thousand people buy the Financial Times in Britain (the claimed circulation of 297 thousand is based on all the different editions of the F.T. around the world being shoved together to produce a less pathetic circulation figure).

    Yes according to the BBC they (and the KGB “Independent” and “I” which is, basically, given away free in special newstands in supermarkets – it has a special newsstand to itself) are the only newspapes in Britain.

    This is where the power of the Guardian (and so on) really lies – not in direct sales (they sell to 0.3% of the 60 million people who live in Britain) but in second hand coverage on radio and television.

    The BBC does have wide effect – because of the special tax (the “license fee”) allows this.

    And demented (or cowardly) government ministers (such as J. Hunt – head of the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport which-should-not-exist) call the vile BBC “the gold standard of broadcasting”.

    So when some Guardian creature is brought on to a BBC show to speak, or when some BBC creature says “in the Guardian the other say I read….” it DOES MATTER.

    Although the “independent” television and radio stations are little better than the vile BBC – government regulations see to that.

    “Paul you have left out internest news….”

    I leave that to those with more knowledge of it – for example how to tell fake figures (for “internet subscribers” and so on) from real ones.

    My own opinions of such matters can only be guesses.

    But I will make the guess that the internet figures for the “New York Times” in the United States are fake – totally fake.

    I do not want to live in a world where content that is not only far left but also incredily BORING oin its style of writing, is popular on the internet.

  • Alisa

    Paul, I bet about half of NYT online ratings can be attributed to my reading of their movies’ reviews…:-)

  • bloke in spain

    Fascinating conversation going on over at Harry’s. The articles missed the point. Almost all of the commentators have. And you lot aren’t doing any better.
    The purpose of a newspaper, online or off isn’t to produce stunning editorial, inspired journalism or attract erudite comment. It’s to sell advertising space. That’s what makes the money. (No paper has got by on living off its stand price for years.) It’s what pays the wages Or at least pays enough of the wages, the shortfall can be found elsewhere. Even the Graun’s not immune from this.
    If the rabid mixture of anti-Semites, Trots, Islamonutters, anti-capitalists, eco-warriors & the generally barking mad bought shit then advertisers would buy space to sell’em shit. They wouldn’t give a toss what their politics or beliefs were. The Graun would have a business model. For their own curious reasons, they’ve decided to make a pitch for the sort of reader’s of little interest to advertisers. Hence the death spiral. The Graun has forgotten. It doesn’t matter how socialist it is, the business it’s in is a capitalist one. Playing by capitalist rules.
    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people

  • lucklucky

    “bloke in spain”
    The Left has had only one consistent desire: destroy the Western Civilization and Force Equality – No one explained it so clearer than George Orwell , going even further explaining what means Equality: “all animals are equal…”

    The Guardian is a weapon of that objective.
    It is not money.
    It is power which is money of another kind.
    The power of the Guardian is to get their ideological constituency a big cut of the taxpayers money because the State is increasingly bigger.

    Note that when i say the Left i mean the XX Century Left that was poisoned ideologically by Communism.
    Today it is 90% of Left. In XIX Century it was different.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @Natalie Solent:

    What depressed me was not that it was a loony comment, but that it had about 40 recommends.

    Intrigued, I spent a while googling this, but could not seem to find it on the G’s website. However, it is typical of the sort of Marxist revisionist historical view that accountancy is a capitalist tool to exploit the workers.
    As an example, I found this paper from someone at Warwick Business School:
    Capitalist accountability and the British Industrial Revolution (Rob Bryer).pdf(Link)

    I also duplicated a copy of it here(Link).

    Makes one wonder what “Warwick Business School” has been teaching…