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Readers’ Letters: Goodbye, Guardian

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In the first post of a new section, we publish the letter of an (ex-)Guardian reader, detailing the reasons he bid goodbye to his former paper of choice. As yet the Guardian has not printed this letter, nor replied to the writer. If you have had similar experiences, or have written any letters that you have sent, or wish to send, to the Guardian – feel free to submit them to us at [email protected].

Dear Guardian

First off, I want to thank you for being the main source of my news for the past 20 plus years. Now 31, I have been an avid reader of the newspaper since I was a wee boy. Admittedly I no longer buy a copy everyday (along with the observer) as I rarely have the time to sit down and read the entire thing, but I still do on average three times a week and the Guardian website is the first website I go to on my laptop and I Phone.

Thank you for breaking the best stories, having the best commentators and generally having an angle I could trust, over this time.

However, the Guardian’s political coverage has sharply deteriorated since the election of Jeremy Corbyn and I will no longer be buying the newspaper or visiting the website. Admittedly it will be very difficult to not visit the website because it’s so ingrained in my behaviour. I’ve been trying the past few weeks to avoid it but keep on finding myself back there! But after this email, I hereby declare that I will never buy a Guardian newspaper or browse the website again.

In recent weeks I’ve read the Guardian’s coverage of Corbyn with disbelief. The drip feed of anti-Corbyn bias has got ridiculous. Remember the story of John McDonnell’s Little Red Book joke? Well that was an ironic joke about Osbourne’s public investment strategy, reliant as it is on the Chinese state, an authoritarian dictatorship. The Guardian’s interpretation? That McDonnell was referencing Mao as one of his heros, backed up with a ridiculous quote from Chuka Umuna to that effect. I’d expect such a tactic from the Daily Mail.

Or take the recent coverage of the Oldham by-election. During the build-up, the Guardian’s frame was that Labour was struggling because of Corbyn. The election was dubbed as a test of Corbyn’s Labour Party. There was recognition that Labour would probably win, but a low victory was predicted (“Labour works around Jeremy Corbyn in Greater Manchester”).

During the build-up, I expected something was amiss. I can say that as a Labour party activist in a northern city (Leicester) Corbyn has made campaigning far easier because we have a positive platform and a clear difference with the Tories. Surely this is something to tap into?

Fast forward to news of Labour’s emphatic victory, where Labour extended its lead by 7.5% to 62.3%, the Guardian’s view is that victory has very little to do with Corbyn and everything to do with Jim McMahon, the local guy who won despite the leadership.

Now, I wouldn’t want to take anything away from McMahon, who is clearly a fantastic local politician. But an extension of Labour’s lead is astounding given everything that has gone on, the turmoil in Labour following the Syria vote and relentless hostility in the national media. Something about Corbyn’s leadership is proving popular at the ballot box, despite the Guardian’s best efforts to set him up for a fall.

Indeed, over these past few months, I have come to understand the nature of the Guardian: it’s certainly not a modern incarnation of the “Poor Man’s Guardian”. That paper, originating in 1831, was part of the radical press which burgeoned following the advent of the printing press. It provided for the news and intellectual needs of working people, having as its motto “knowledge is power”.

Today’s Guardian is “guardian” in a more Orwellian sense: a paper that polices leftwing discourse, that sets limits on what is acceptable for leftwing politics, and what is acceptable is basically Blair without Iraq. Rafael Behr, Polly Toynbee, Jonathan Freedland: all are echoing this anti-Corbyn, essentially Blairite line.

It’s therefore with a sorry heart that I say goodbye. Like those who turned to the radical press in the 19th century, I shall turn to online news sources and social media where established filters do not apply. It is annoying though, as I do enjoy a good broadsheet and a cuppa.

Yours,

Tom Mills


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reinertorheit
Reader
reinertorheit

I see that the Graun’s resident cheerleader for fascism, Timmy Garbage-Trash, has churned out another paean of praise for his heroine Angela Merkel today:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/10/merkel-europe-germany-migrants-integration

This is, I believe, the fourth unprompted pro-Merkel rallying call in the Graun, and the third to be authored by Garbage-Trash (the fourth was by Bliar apologist Zoe Williams).

John
Reader
John

I have left the following response on The Guardian web page:-

What an utterly stupid article. Sotto voce: terrorism, indeed? So is it not the case that a number of those engaged in murdering 130 people in Paris were not illegal migrants?

Why does the writer assume we should bale out Merkel for her stupidity? She was silly enough to operate a fully open door policy without carrying out proper checks of most of the illegal migrants – and we are expected to pick up these unchecked individuals simply to help her with the very social problems she herself has created? As it is, I believe the Germans are belatedly beginning to apply a policy of forced deportations of non-Syrian individuals after having loudly proclaimed everyone from anywhere was welcome – and after having duped large numbers of German people into supporting such an utterly stupid policy. The after-effects of this stupidity will be with all Europe for a very long time to come.

sheila douglas
Reader
sheila douglas

I too feel incredibly disappointed and disillusioned at the transparently partisan and agenda-driven stance adopted by the Guardian since the election of Jeremy Corbyn. Neither the Blairite faction of the labour party nor many journalists at the Guardian genuinely believe in Democracy (not for the masses), frankly they fear for their privilege. I guess that politicians had rather hope that by the 21st century, the electorate would have lost interest in and forgotten about the utopian notion of informed participatory democracy that Corbyn has inconveniently reminded us all about.
Out of interest, these two under publicized refutation of vicious smear campaigns printed in inner pages of the guardian:
“How MPs twisted my words on Paris attacks” – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/08/how-mps-twisted-my-words-on-paris-attacks?CMP=share_btn_fb
See also “Stella Creasy crushes story about protest outside her house:
http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2015/dec/04/stella-creasy-crushes-story-about-protest-outside-her-house?CMP=share_btn_fb

David Carr
Reader
David Carr

They’re truly awful on Scotland. They just don’t get it at all. Brooks and Carrell are a joke. McKenna is sidelined and has to go to other outlets.

(I’ve some respect for Jack, even if I disagree with him. At least he knows what he’s talking about).

notmyname
Reader
notmyname

One day it dawned upon me that on the Guardian web site I skipped the articles and went straight to the comments, while on a web site such as Russia Today I read the articles and skipped the comments. From there to skipping the Guardian web entirely was only a small step.

tommyfazz
Reader
tommyfazz

A “socialist” veneer keeps the paper alive, scratch that vaneer and reveal the paper for what it is- a midde-of-the-road rag.

Milla
Reader
Milla

Another trustworthy (non-mainstream) source of information: http://www.strategic-culture.org/

Dennis Archer
Reader
Dennis Archer

Totally agree. Apart from anything else, finding Guardian increasingly boring recently. Today, being Scottish, purchased a copy of the National instead. Thinking of giving up English papers altogether.
Recently sent a letter to The Guardian:

The logical conclusion from Jonathan Freedland’s ‘From Fifa to guns, let’s stop accepting the unacceptable’ (Saturday 5th December) is that we should all support Jeremy Corbyn to the hilt. A pity then that his ‘With each misstep, Jeremy Corbyn is handing Britain to the Tories’ (Friday 27th November) is so negative and disparaging. Every other route leads to the paralysis he so deplores.

Didn’t expect to get it published, just wanted to make a point.

johnshomeincome
Reader

Totaly agree with yore agreement.

Maggie
Reader

I heartily endorse this man’s sentiments. I was horrified to read an anti-Corbyn article published the other week in the Guardian, and have not read the paper since. It’s more than disappointing; it’s disturbing, indicative of some tectonic mutual agreement between all the country’s media. I used to be annoyed that there was a policy of where the papers were displayed in supermarkets; the Guardian and Observer are ALWAYS tucked away so that you have to search for them. Now, I am afraid they will not even be searched for by loyal readers – our loyalty has been put to the ultimate test.

nearlydead
Reader

Reblogged this on nearlydead and commented:

My Graun subscription is cancelled too.

Mike Collard
Reader
Mike Collard

My uncle a guardian reading farmer campaigned for peace.Living in Ireland I have followed the guardian for international news for the last 40 years.This week I have been waiting for an article on Isis funding,and who is benefitting from Isis oil sales and I get a stale article on the caliphate plans for nationhood.I am so sad

Jan
Reader
Jan

Sadly I have to agree. I have come to the conclusion that the Guardian editorial and key writers are now part of a left “light” and anti Corbyn mood is over the top. Can we have a return to more open approach please or I will he voting with my feet. It’s hard to say this after 40 years as a reader!

John Illingworth
Reader
John Illingworth

I learnt to read the Manchester Guardian on my mother’s knee over 60 years ago. It has all been downhill since we lost the Manchester bit…

PaddyR
Reader
PaddyR

Ahh, The Guardian. Long gone I think. Didn’t it support military intervention in Iraq? And yes, mancunianbirder, the biased coverage of Ukraine does it no favours either. Does a free press actually exist any more? At least the Soviets knew Pravda was anything but the ‘Truth’.

leshearn
Reader

The Guardian opposed intervention in Iraq in 2003, unlike The Observer.

cjforreal
Reader
cjforreal

Agree totally about The Guardian but I’if I remember correctly, at the last general Election, The Independent recommended readers to vote for another Tory/Lib Dem coalition so they’re not an option either.

DineshJude
Reader
DineshJude

What a ridiculous letter. I read The Guardian regularly and welcome writers that challenge my world view. I get the feeling that Corbyn and his supporters want to shut down any debate on core issues and are over-sensitive to any criticism.

shatnersrug
Reader

The only ridiculous thing around here is your comment. If you like having your world view massaged by war mongers like Old Nick Cohen and Time Ghastly-Arse that’s . But the rest of us are sick of it. That’s why we’re here.

It’s pretty clear by the way you’ve shoehorned Corbyn into the comment that you belong to a political trolling organisation but it won’t wash here.

If you want to post concern trolling like that there are plenty of corporate news sources for you to post on.

As we say around here

Guardian is that way ——————————->

Derek Robinson
Reader
Derek Robinson

Are they challenging though.
The letter challenges exactly that premise !

dinesh70
Reader
dinesh70

Actually I’m a lifelong Labour voter and onetime member. If Corbyn and cronies are giving someone like me misgivings, then Labour is heading for years in the political wilderness as an ever-decreasing debating society.

Derek Robinson
Reader
Derek Robinson

Are they challenging though.
The letter challenges exactly that premise !

John Fudge
Reader
John Fudge

I would never soil my mitts with this excuse for a newspaper
Left wing my arse.
Coverage of Scottish referendum was an absolute disgrace and anti Corbyn stance just as bad. Has joined up as establishment slave.

Bye
.

Richard
Reader
Richard

Have to agree with Tom. The balance has gone, very sad of a paper I’ve trusted for years…

tommyfazz
Reader
tommyfazz

A “socialist” veneer keeps the paper alive, scratch that vaneer and reveal the paper for what it is- a midde-of-the-road rag.

Ivan Pope
Reader

Was never a socialist paper, that’s just your delusion.

shatnersrug
Reader

No always quite anti socialism, I don’t think it’s ever backed labour has it? It certainly didn’t in 97

venusdewangbar
Reader
venusdewangbar

well, there was always Polly Toynbee’s ‘Hold your nose & vote for Labour’, but I don’t know if that actually counts…

shatnersrug
Reader

😉

Wojciech Pisarski
Reader
Wojciech Pisarski

This sums up my sentiments to a large extent.

A year ago I was moved to write an angry protest in answer to an editorial telling us “It’s alright to talk about immigration now” meaning it’s alright to be racist towards immigrants now because they are white rather than black. I did not receive any acknowledgement and the letter was not published.

What i have found most unsettling however, is the tone “lifestyle” articles in the Weekend magazine. Clothes costing many hundreds of pounds sometimes thousands. Cars reviewed that are far beyond the reach of ordinary people. Consumer goods that likewise are exorbitantly expensive. Who do they think their readership consists of? Certainly not the traditional left leaning or liberal intelligentsia that it once embraced.

Like other comments I am now more likely to read the Independent or i

Angela Kennedy
Reader
Angela Kennedy

In my fifties now, I’d read the Guardian since I was a teenager. However the turning point for me was the disgraceful way it covered the illness M.E. and treated its sufferers, under Sarah Boseley’s health editorship. By the early 21st century I realised that if the paper could be so damn unreliable, ideologically unsound and prejudicial towards a group of disabled people, something was rotten at the core. Since then Its anti-Corbyn bias has become merely another example in a long line of cynical journalistic ontological gerrymandering which renders the paper unreliable as a news source, like so many others.

Colin Burke
Reader
Colin Burke

Here’s a letter I wrote to the Guardian in June. Give them their due, they published it, but not the last sentence about the baby giraffe. Sad the way it has gone.

As a Mancunian proud of the city’s history and achievements I was saddened today to discover not only that I have had an unwanted and unelected mayor imposed upon me at the behest of a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, but also that the (once Manchester) Guardian did not even see fit to report the fact, never mind comment on such a stitch up by politicians of all parties. Still, at least there was a nice photo and report on the birth of a baby giraffe(Page 14, 30 May)
Colin Burke