Guardian

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish


Yesterday the Guardian celebrated the fourth birthday of “Comment is Free”. For us however there was another cause for celebration – Georgina Henry, executive comment editor of “Comment is Free”, announced in the birthday thread that she is leaving CiF and moving to another role in the Guardian.

From the horses mouth (literally):

I have to say that in reading this I have to agree with  Henry on one thing – her comment about ATL (above the line) and BTL (below the line) “bring[ing] out the best in each other”.  Take for example the Nicholas Blincoe ATL article a couple of months ago lambasting the settler movement that produced a comment from one of the BTL regulars calling for the slaughter of Jewish settlers down to the “last man, woman and child”. The anti-Israel venom pouring out of the Blincoe thread certainly brought out the best of William Bapthorpe, the commenter who made this statement. And the nurturing of the anti-Israel narrative is par for the course both above the line in the editorial selection of anti-Israel writers and below the line with biased moderators that stamp out any dissent challenging the conventional wisdom of the anti-Israel narrative.

In a prelude to the fourth anniversary of CiF, Henry made a telling admission in an article she penned:

“The one reliable truth about the internet is that it never stands still. Competitors come … and keep coming. Change is constant. You have to work harder to understand and retain the loyalty of your community.”

And peddling in the lies of the anti-Israel narrative is a sure way to help retain that loyalty given the make up of the CiF guardianista community.

In the same thread that Henry made her announcement, Matt Seaton posed the question “Does Cif make a difference? You tell us.” I prefer to phrase the question in a slightly different way as I did in my article in the Jewish Chronicle “What makes Cif different?” There I stated that the “Guardian’s flagship blog reeks of antisemitism”. Its a statement that holds true from the launch of “Comment is Free” four years ago right through to the present day. That is the true legacy of Georgina Henry.

The question is will Henry’s successor pick up from where she left off or will her successor be bold enough to clean house.

Perhaps the more intriguing question is what is the reason behind Henry’s departure and to what extent did CiF Watch play a role in all of this?

28 replies »

  1. Oh joy. Happy days are here.

    But there is still the rest of the editorial coven to go.b

    Rustbucket would save them a lot of cash.

    And Matt and Brian have a lot to answer for.

  2. I just wanted to add my voice to those thousands who say that it must be a rumour that Henry has now regularised her previously unofficial post as PRO to Hamas and will be relocated to Gaza City. They also say that as a joining bonus she has been granted her own tunnel.

    Here’s to Henry and Hamas. You deserve each other.

  3. It Was Cif Watch Wot Done It. Here is Duvidl’s birthday song for Georgina:

    Cif Women
    (to the tune of: “Honky Tonk Women.”)
    (Hat tip: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and The Rolling Stones)

    (cow bell intro)
    I met a gin-soaked Georgina in Hoxton;
    She tried to pull me inside for a ride.
    She wasn’t wearing perfume, bra or knickers
    Was sick as a parrot ‘fore I got inside.

    Chorus: It’s the Cif reason-deaf women.
    Gimme, gimme, gimme some much better news.
    It’s the Cif bad dog-breath women.
    Gimme, gimme, rather, “The News of The Screws.”

    I saw Victoria changing in the toilet;
    Slapping the poly filler on her face. (poly filler slapping sound)
    She looked like she had got blue baby syndrome;
    Blue babes look better; her face a disgrace. (slide guitar dischord screech.)

    Chorus: It’s the Cif reason-deaf women.
    Gimme, gimme, gimme some much better news.
    It’s the Cif bad dog-breath women.
    Gimme, gimme, rather, “The News of The Screws.”(repeat with new last line:)
    Gimme, gimme, gimme my swift running-shoes.

    Guitar riff
    DS Al Coda

  4. There is so much antiSemtism that finds its way to CIF that I doubt much will change. The worst of the antiSemitism comes from nominal Jews like Tony Lerman. Lerman is the Guardian’s kind of Jew. He constantly writes of his disdain for the State of Israel (whether Labor, Kadima or Likud is in charge) and he urges Jews to find no common ground with Israelis. Lerman loves to quote bogus surveys or polls that purport to support his viewpoint. Lerman is really a timid, cowering chap who apologizes to antiSemites on behalf of Jews. This type of Lerman selfloathing is the worst form of antiSemitism on the Guardian pages. But it’s no surprise that Tony Lerman is Georgina’s favorite Jew.

  5. Duvidl is pleased Corkie brought up Lerman in this thread about the sticky end Georgina has come to. Duvidl has a song about both of them, thus:

    Brown Finger
    (to the tune of:”Goldfinger,” the eponymous theme song of the Bond movie.)
    (Hat tip: Dame Shirley Bassey)

    Brown Finger; he’s Ler-man;
    Ler-man with the brown nose and touch;
    Likes George too much.
    Schtinks linger; up her bum
    Lerman’s long brown nose goes;
    Finger follows.

    He’s Lerman, a house-Jew with a plan;
    Not a plan with very much elan.
    Up her bum his brown finger he’ll ram.
    To clear the schtink we think that they will need
    A high-speed fan from

    Mister Brown Finger
    Georgina beware his finger’s brown;
    The brownest in town. (repeat verse)

    DS Al Coda

  6. Corkie Simkiwicz

    “There is so much antiSemtism that finds its way to CIF that I doubt much will change. ”

    You are right in one sense…nothing will change. Whoever comes in you folk will not like.. because things are not going to go well over the next while and you will be looking for messengers to shoot.

  7. Are you volunteering, Berchmans?

    Are you agreeing to do the decent thing for the sake of the common good?

    You are the only typical CiF “messenger” who posts here after all.

    Where will you be and when?

  8. Duvid, I hope you won’t mind my own Ode to La Henry’s departure:

    (To the tune of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”)

    Ding dong the witch is dead )
    Which old witch? The Henry witch; ) sing twice
    Ding dong the Henry witch is dead; )

    She’s gone where the haters go
    Below, below, below
    Heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho
    We’re cheering just to see her go,

    So hey ho we’re merry-oh
    Light her broomstick, watch her go,
    Ding dong the Henry witch is dead!

    Yippeee!

  9. Hairshirt. Great song. Duvidl cannot stop thinking of them himself. Here’s another well-known goodbye song:

    Gin and Turpentine
    (to the tune of: “Auld Lang Syne”. Hat tip: Robert Burns.)

    Let’s hope Georgina be forgot;
    Hung on the washing line.
    She’s soon forgot; that sad old Trot,
    Her gin and turpentine.

    Her gin and turpentine, my dears;
    Worse than her meths and wine.
    She can’t afford “The Betty Ford.”
    For turpentine she’ll pine. (repeat several times.)

  10. Here’s another
    (to the tune of ‘Tipperary’)

    It took a long time to get rid of Henry
    It took a lot of work
    It took a lot of slog to rid us of Henry
    But in the end it worked.

    I won’t find myself crying
    I won’t find myself bereft
    I just find myself smiling
    Because the old witch left.

  11. I thought I’d deconstruct Henry’s post, as one might estate agents’ blurb to get past the words and to the truth:

    “Ok, I’m going to try and get back to the positives by saying Cif has made a huge difference to me, both as a journalist and a citizen.”

    I can’t help wondering what sort of “huge difference” CiF has made to Henry other than make her delusional that the monster she has birthed has been helpful to anyone, even the Palestinians whom she claims to support.

    Could it be that it yanked her out of obscurity and into infamy because she milked the very hatreds she herself was possessed of? That would not be without precedent – the little German corporal did the same in 1933.

    “As a journalist, I would never, ever want to go back to a world where we never heard from readers except through a filtered letters page.”

    Now that is rich coming from the Stasi like CiF. OK a hairsplitter might say that CiF is not a letters page but Henry and her Editors and moderators are so controlling that only certain readers get to make their opinions known (those whose opinions coincide with the Guardian World View), and the rest are well and truly “filtered” as she calls it.

    “I’ve learned that ATL without BTL is not complete. Personally I believe (many of you may disagree) that they are mutually dependent – at best, they bring out the best in each other.”

    What???? I wonder when she last saw her psychiatrist. A lot can be done for delusional thought disorders nowadays.

    “I’ve also learned how difficult it is for journalists who grew up a print world to cede authority and control.”

    I am reminded now of the cartoon here of Pinocchio with Henry’s face superimposed on it. If that were interactive and sensitive to economies with the truth Henry’s/Pinocchio’s nose would be off the page by now. Henry has exercised Stasi-like control over CiF, so is she evidencing delusion again, or could this be a sort of code to tell us that she has been given the Order of the Boot and finds that difficult to come to terms with?

    “It’s been the most challenging and also stimulating experience I’ve ever had as an editor.”

    Well, I certainly hope she has had sleepless nights about the hatred CiF has been instrumental in feeding and cranking up during her editorship, but somehow I doubt it. She lacks the conscience which is why CiF took the form it did. And as for it being “stimulating” I guess the followers of the little corporal (see above) were also “stimulated” by what they were called upon to do also.

    “Meanwhile, as a citizen, i’ve encountered views and opinions here that have made me think harder about all the assumptions i’ve made over the years – political and otherwise.”

    This really is like estate agent doublespeak. Note that she doesn’t admit (wily woman that she is) to having changed those assumptions or even that they have been at all challenged, or that any of them were erroneous. On the contrary, she seems to have thought harder and become even more entrenched behind them.

    “So – thanks to many of you for all that. Just thought I’d mention that I’m off to another bit of guardian.co.uk after the election, so will be watching Cif’s next four years from afar. I work with a great team of editors here, who in spite of your complaints are tireless in their efforts to listen and learn from you all. Be nice to them!”

    I wonder who she is thanking? LaRit? Moeran? Berchmans??????

    (She may even be thanking CiFWatch for forcing her into premature retirement from CiF, but somehow I doubt it. I’d bet she’d rather stick needles in her eyes).

    And as for the move to “another bit of guardian.co.uk” – I wonder whether this is the equivalent of booting her upstairs to a place where she can do no further harm – CiF’s version of the Peter Principle?

  12. I couldn’t resist it – to the tune of “Hello, I must be going” by Groucho Marx

    Thank God, thank God she’s going
    She mustn’t stay
    Send her away
    Thank God she’s going
    Her poisoned pen
    Won’t write again
    Because she’s going
    Thank God she’s going!

  13. There’s also a rumour that Georgina will be the UN’s special envoy to Afghanistan. She accepted because she’d look good in a burqa.

    After her it cannot possibly be “out of the frying pan into the fire.” No-one, except perhaps Azzam Tamimi or the Ayatollah Khomeini or I’madimnutjob (and we can’t rule out that Rustbucket has offered any of them the job, can we?) could possibly bring CiF any lower than it already is.

    And as for Henry’s statement that the above the line and below the line on CiF bring out the best in each other, if that is true then I shudder even thinking about what might be the worst.

    But there’s every reason for believing that Seaton is becoming as delusional as Henry (a vital prerequisite for taking up any position of authority with al-Grauniad, it seems) if his contributions are anything to go by

  14. I’ve just been to the site and found this from poor benighted Teacup:

    “Teacup

    18 Mar 2010, 1:16AM

    Georgina Henry,

    Thank you for starting this site. As another poster has said, up-thread, that CiF helped her/him at a difficult point, CiF did the same for me. At a time when I felt that my mind and spirit were in prison, CiF helped to keep me going. Thank you for that.

    If you are moving to a different job, the very best of luck”

    I am struggling with the notion that CiF could help anyone at all even at an easy point let alone at a difficult one, unless it was to channel their hatred and, because they are glued to their keyboards, they are not out mugging old ladies or fire bombing synagogues or attacking Israeli embassies.

    I feel really sorry for people with mental health problems but the real measure of Henry’s and CiF’s inveterate nastiness is to make use of them and give them a spurious purpose in life. That is unforgivable.

  15. You shouldn’t tell anyone because it’s supposed to be a secret but I heard that when Richard Silverstein heard that she was leaving he put in an urgent application to take her job.

    He cited his excellent qualifications for the work, years of running Israel into the ground should be grounds for being offered Henry’s position. They turned him down though. He was too sickening even for them.

  16. Has anyone been to the CiF thread?

    If the birthday “cake” is anything to go by, my guess is that they are kicking the old witch out because they are almost bankrupt and can’t even afford a cake with candles let alone her salary.

    Seaton’s contributions are getting more and more bizarre and infantile, too.

  17. I keep hearing that the Guardian is in serious financial trouble.

    Is LaHenry the archetypal rat deserting the sinking ship?

  18. I felt quite sorry for Seaton trying to justify La Henry’s hard-line moderation policy of not responding to emails by people who have been arbitrarily banned because some smeary mod was having a bad day. But really, do people think that c.i.f. should shell out lolly just to employ people to be polite to BTLs when there’s a never-ending supply of the suckers anyway, especially when they’re losing money hand over fist?

  19. Duvid Crockett

    Re Robert Burns.

    Heres to the greatest poet who ever lived. A man is indeed a man for a’ that.

  20. Arabella, Henry is a bitch. I got into correspondence with her in the heady days for CiF before it became a criminal offence for them to commission articles which glorified terrorism, and set out my views about an article she’d commissioned from a Hamasnik which openly condoned the murder of Israeli civilians.

    I was forthright but polite. She was not – indeed far from it. She behaved like a petulant child because I had dared to criticise the article (I had not criticised her) and rattled on along the lines of “..people like you make me glad that CiF exists …. why do you post there if you don’t like it…. you should go away and post somewhere else…. don’t continue to write for me because I’ll delete your posts…” etc etc.

    Totally unprofessional, in other words, and totally bonkers.

    Thank God she’s going elsewhere to cause trouble.

  21. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Henry has been dispensed with because she had to take ultimate responsibility for the mess CiF made of the business with Prof Alderman. Hardly a scapegoat or a sacrificial lamb, more a sacrificial lump.

    Her and Seaton’s letter in the Jewish Chronicle was pathetic in the extreme and a last ditch attempt to stave off disgrace. Of course it had the opposite effect – they made complete fools of themselves, and that cannot have been the first time that Henry had overstepped the mark.

    So she had to go because, given what SarahLeah writes above, it’s impossible to believe that Henry is capable of apologising for anything she does wrong. And Rustbucket probably required an apology from her to Prof Alderman.

    Ho hum. How are the high and mighty fallen…

  22. Astute analysis Silver Trees.

    I saw that Prof Alderman rather bizarrely wrote an article on football, (Are all Englishmen sports experts?) which led me to believe that apologies had been made and accepted..

  23. The proof of that pudding, and of Prof Alderman’s strength of character, will be when he next writes for CiFWatch and/or writes an article which takes issue with the GWV

    My guess is that he’s content to play safe, but I will gladly apologise if I am incorrect.