CIF Readers Demand Better Reporting on Corbyn

by Vaska

In the past month and a half or so, both the Guardian and the Observer have come under sustained criticism for their extraordinarily hostile (as well as highly misleading) coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party. Last Sunday, in an attempt to defuse that criticism, Observer published Stephen Pritchard’s The readers’ editor on… the Observer and Jeremy Corbyn, which attempts to absolve the papers of biased, tendentious and indeed partisan reporting on Corbyn.

Here’s Forthestate, the CIF participant who alerted us to the article and the readers’ reaction to it, quoting from Pritchard’s piece and then commenting on it:

While broadly sympathetic to Labour, the Observer has never slavishly attached itself to any party or political philosophy.

That isn’t the issue.

I share the view of some readers that the paper and the media in general misread the depth of desire, particularly among young Labour voters, for the change that Jeremy Corbyn represents, but time (and the parliamentary Labour party) will tell if that flood of goodwill will be enough to carry him to electoral victory.

And neither is that.

“The issue is that you chose, along with the Guardian, right from the outset, before he had been elected, to take an aggressive stance against Corbyn, which you pursued as his increasing popularity led to the biggest upset in modern British politics. That was a phenomenon you ignored. It was an astonishing indication of political sentiment in this country. You may say that time will tell if it’s enough to carry him to victory, but you don’t really have a clue one way or another, and in the meantime, you let down not only your readers, but your function and role as a news outlet to acknowledge the sudden outpouring of a political sentiment in your nation of which, as journalists, none of you had any inkling, as you yourself admit. 

You’re out of touch, not just with a large section of your readership, but with what is probably a large section of public sentiment. It’s the inevitable consequence of a Westminster bubble inflated by over thirty years of political and economic ‘consensus’ that has seen political debate by the press reduced to an invitation to mine what it insists is the rich ideological seam that distinguishes a NewLabour politician voting for the welfare bill from a Tory doing the same. This is Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’, in which we don’t need political debate since we arrived at the final synthesis of all political thought, which would appear to be neoliberal, free market fundamentalism. Fukuyama is blinkered. Anyone peddling the end of ideological thought hasn’t the first clue about human behaviour; history is strewn with crumpled theories announcing its arrival, over which it has rolled unaware, and his is just one more, but when the public has been given no political choice for over three decades, you shouldn’t mistake the ensuing political constipation for consensus. You have done, though, and in the process you have grown out of touch with the mood of intense frustration in your country; because it has had no outlet for expression, you have not so much ignored it, as failed to recognise its existence. That’s what slapped you in the face when politics which you had assumed were dead returned a man to the leadership of Labour with three times the number of votes as the candidate who came second.

The least you could have done was to acknowledge the phenomenon, and, given you were clueless about it up until then, to engage in what was once considered the very height of journalistic endeavour – an investigation into it; some analysis, some attempt to understand it, some attempt to show some respect for a movement you had missed, which had, in the space of a little over three months, returned the Labour party to some of its core values, and left you all astounded. Here were ideas being put forward which challenged ‘consensus’. Where was the informed political debate over the policies he was proposing? You didn’t have one; we had an opportunity to discuss, atl, the only ideological challenge to the status quo in decades, an alternative idea to the one that you lot have adhered to for thirty six years, slavishly, which broke our economy, and you dismissed it. You chose not to debate it. There was next to no analysis of the policies. It was your job to conduct one, assuming you hold to higher standards than the tabloid press, and I’m not. 

Instead, you chose attack, a campaign of smear and vilification, with the odd article by people like Ed Vulliamy to afford you the necessary cover of ‘balance’, the weasel get out clause for right wing outlets masquerading as ‘liberal’. And in choosing to do so, you didn’t just let down your readership, or pour your disdain all over those finally finding expression for sentiments you clearly want stifled – you let down the standards of journalism in this country even further.

Your reputation has suffered significantly, and you deserve it. An awful lot of people, as evidenced by comments below the line, and the very fact that you’re taking time to respond, have seen through your veil of liberalism, and had their eyes opened to what is in fact a thoroughly establishment, right wing outlet, and one which, incidentally, whilst I’m about it, has supported every neo-conservative foreign policy intervention that has led to the disaster that is the ME. 

It’s about time your bluff was called, and it was you that called it, by a concerted smear campaign against democratic choice in this country in favour of the status quo, which blew up in your face when democratic choice proved far more resilient than your attempts to suppress it.”

Judging by the number of people who identified with Forthestate’s critique (240 “likes” on CIF), his comment clearly struck a chord with many other regular Guardian and Observer readers. For a view complementary to Forthestate’s, there’s also SuffolkJason, another CIF participant, whose equally popular comment itemizes in some detail what it was the Guardian and the Observer had neglected to do in their reporting of the election campaign for the new Labour leader. You can find their and other reactions to the Observer article here.


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What’s wrong with the Guardian? – steel city scribblings
Feb 14, 2016 11:32 AM

[…] to two readers, Geoff and Sam, for alerting me to sites – respectively, Media Lens and offGuardian – established expressly to put the Guardian and other ‘liberal’ media under close […]

Nov 1, 2015 1:20 AM

I can’t afford myself that much cynicism rusty. I need to believe that we can bring ourselves back from the brink otherwise it’s going to be very nasty for all of us

Brad Benson
Brad Benson
Oct 30, 2015 3:15 PM

Thank you Vaska for continuing to document the demise of this pathetic newspaper. I also checked out the link provided by “shatnersrug” and read some of the other CIF Comments. I’m convinced that the Fascist Punk Censors at the Guardian must have been ordered to stand down for this one article by Mr. Vuliamy, since they couldn’t very well do a limited hangout mea culpa on their antagonistic coverage of Mr. Corbyn and then delete all but about 5% of the responses. We can rest assured that this was the last gasp of free speech in the comment sections.

Nothing will change in regard to the Guardian’s Coverage of Mr. Corbyn, the Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Putin, Russia, Tony Blair or the US. if the voice of the people becomes so loud that they can’t delete or ban all of the comments that don’t fit their narrative, they will eliminate them altogether as they have done in regard to articles about Israel.

I also find it strange that the Guardian still permits some negative comments in regard to pretty much every other subject, but they rarely, if ever, have an article about Israel that is open to comments any more. Why is suppression of commentary about Israel more important to a UK “News” Outlet than everything else?

Oct 30, 2015 1:02 PM

Sadly this issue has bought my purchasing of the print copies to an end. Perhaps a full front page mea culpa is on order – fat chance!

Chris G
Chris G
Oct 30, 2015 12:34 PM
Links 10/30/15 | naked capitalism
Oct 30, 2015 11:57 AM

[…] CIF Readers Demand Better Reporting on Corbyn OffGuardian (Chris G) […]

Oct 30, 2015 9:04 AM

Taboos on CIF
mention Zionist your days are numbered
Criticism of Israel

Go against the narrative
O-bama and any US related Foreign policy
Gender issues
The EU
George Soros and every organization he’s linked with Too many to mention
links to websites they have censured
American Veterans Today
Zero Hedge
Global Research
21st Century Wire
Lew Rockwell blog
Information Clearing House
Syrian Perspective
Press tv
Fars News
Al Alam
And may more
Where they get the idea that they are liberal beggers me They are anything but we live in a mediocracy and the Guardian are slap bang in the middle of it They genuinely think they represent the left wing intellectual They have a large left wing CIF community who they don’t represent, and which is far more intelligent than the editorial staff at the guardian They are a tabloid with an identity problem A total fake .You want real news you won’t find it in the Graun The truth scares them to death

Nov 9, 2015 10:34 AM
Reply to  rusty

Agree with this having just been banned from the Guardian. Don’t ever challenge the narrative surrounding Islamophobia or Global Warming. Opinion and debate censored within minutes. Shocking.

Oct 30, 2015 1:33 AM

Reblogged this on Siem Reap Mirror.

Oct 29, 2015 9:40 PM

Reblogged this on wgrovedotnet and commented:

It’s a shame that the Guardian is so Russophobic and anti Assad, because if or when Russia trumps the terrorists – all of them, Assad may get the hearing by less myopic media reporters than the Guardian in which the propagandist lies regarding his use of chemical weapons will be exposed. I doubt very much the Guardian will survive, having already been hauled over the coals for their misrepresentation of the “barrel bomb” picture and other outright misrepresentations..

Amer Hudson
Amer Hudson
Oct 29, 2015 7:17 PM

Superb post by ForTheState.

Fortunately, I’ve withdrawn my CiF membership and don’t comment any more. My blood pressure was reaching dangerous levels.

Oct 29, 2015 11:20 PM
Reply to  Amer Hudson

I agree, ForTheState – or Fo[u]rthEstate – delivers no less than quality when he comments.

I wonder if he might actually be or have been a member of the, uh, Fourth Estate.

Oct 29, 2015 11:33 PM
Reply to  Jen
Oct 30, 2015 1:08 PM
Reply to  Shatnersrug

I withdrew my Labour party membership, not because of Corbyn he was the reason i joined it’s the vast majority of the rest, the warmongering wing simply will not go away ,concessions have to be given to them as they they have overwhelming numbers They are careerists at best 5th columnists at worst
If J Corbyn leads Labour into the 2020 GE, then i absolutely guarantee you the big hitters will rebel and split the party ,making them unelectable

Oct 30, 2015 4:47 PM
Reply to  rusty

rusty, I would hold my fire on this one. Five years is a long time for these Blairite assholes to continue trying to hole the ship. Although McDonnell has stated that they won’t deselect anyone, I believe what he means is that no one who is being reasonable, which doesn’t mean agreeing with everything, will be kept. I would advise Corbyn to deselect anyone who continues to be unreasonable, that is, continues to worship the unacceptable neoliberal ideas of Blair.

Oct 30, 2015 6:15 PM
Reply to  thedukeofurl

Iv’e been invited to a meeting tomorrow i have until the 1st of nov to change my mind.. I will probably attendas their are questions i want answered, if i get no clear reply that’ll be it for me

The lies propagated by the upper echelons of the party are breathtaking I won’t support any party that wants us to wage a vicious war in Syria the Ukraine or any other place in my name, If the Labour party’s foreign policy is simply to advance US and Israels global agenda i will be in opposition to it
I thank you for the reply
All the best

Oct 31, 2015 12:56 AM
Reply to  rusty

Rusty, please let me convince you to have a little more patience, and if you go to the meeting watch this first


Oct 31, 2015 11:48 AM
Reply to  Shatnersrug

I had already seen it. i’m reasonably savvy with the goings on in Ukraine Syria Palestine Iran i wish i wasn’t in a way
O-bama offered hope first black president and turns out to be the worst. Same old ,same old We suck his dick as a matter of routine. As we do to all US Presidents When Killary ascends the throne it will simply be on a different part of her anatomy
Our foreign policy is dictated by the white house and will continue to be add infinitum. Blair made it possible and it’s irreversable
I’m to outspoken for the Labour party