Guardian

Do Guardian reporters, who consistently demonstrate an egregious bias against Israel, truly believe what they’re saying is true?


A few weeks ago, Yaacov Lozowick linked to, and commented on, Israelinurse’s widely read 6 Month Overview of Harriet Sherwood’s articles in the Guardian.

Lozowick argued:

There’s no way [Sherwood] can be as biased as she is without knowing that’s what she is.

But then asked:

Yet is this truly so?

He then reflected on the broader question:

It’s a question I’ve been pondering for decades, and have never quite convinced myself either way: when [anti-Zionists] frame reality to reinforce their animosities, do they do so in bad faith (i.e do they know they’re lying or framing in a deceitful manner), or are they so carried away by their detestations that they lose track, and really begin to sincerely believe what they’re? This is not an easy question to answer.

I think this is a very interesting question, so, we’ll leave it to you. In addition to participating in the poll below, feel free to express your opinion in the comment section.



27 replies »

  1. Both:

    they KNOW full well but feel justified to do it by “obeying” some “higher value”

    and of course they never care due to a certain preposition (like family lore for example) to check the validity of their “higher values”.

    to start at what seems to me the basis of the basis:
    there seems a wide-spread reluctance to put onself in the shoes of a Jew while one is perfectly willing to imagine one as a Palestinian or a Tibetan or an American Indian.
    But maybe that is only my non-Jew-view

  2. It is not anti-Zionism which motivates these reporters- it’s antisemitism. First, they apply double standards to Israel- one standard for the Jewish State and another standard for every other country. Second, the standards that they do apply are impossible for any country to meet. Third, they recycle well-known antisemitic myths- the blood libel being the most common. Fourth, they always assume the Jew is guilty-oops I mean Israel.

  3. Some of them at least know exactly what they are doing.

    The Guardian for instance has never apologized for its mis-reporting of the Jenin “massacre” that everyone now knows never in fact happened.

    If it was a case of being carried away, they would have printed a lengthy retraction when the facts came out. The fact they have never done so is a good indication that they know the truth but refuse to print it.

    Another piece of evidence is the BBC’s refusal to publish the Ballin report into institutional anti-Israel bias at the BBC. If the BBC was interested in the truth, they would not be suppressing this report.

  4. Stephanie Gutmann investigated this issue in detail in her excellent book-long review of the issue, “The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy”, which I recommend for anyone interested in the media bias against Israel. While she acknowledges the fact that many of those reporters, like Harriet Sherwood, who pump out negative article after negative article, are blindly opposed to Israel and its policies, she makes the important point that they actually collude with the Palestinians in order to get their stories.

    They do this for two main reasons apart from their bias.

    The first is that, since they generally speak no Arabic (nor Hebrew, of course) they need a “fixer” to take them around and translate for them. These fixers are invariably either Fatah or Hamas members, who are well-trained to show them only “what they need to know”, and therefore they are shown only the most negative situations and images that can be blamed on Israel. Ana Carbojosa’s article on sheep in Bethlehem at a checkpost (perhaps – after all, all we see is a soldier and an ambulance) is a case in point.

    The other is that the PA, Fatah, and Hamas make it clear that if reporters want to get a story (and they need to get stories, otherwise their livelihood is threatened) they must “co-operate” and report the news with the appropriate spin. If their reports are not sufficiently anti-Israeli, their access to the well-trained spokesmen dries up and they have nothing to report.

    Daniel Seaman, former head of the Government Press Office, became aware of this, and began employing similar rules for reporters based in Israel whose reporting was so biased as to be intolerable. An example was the disgusting Guardian reporter, Suzanne Goldenberg, the main source of the “Jenin massacre” lies reported so avidly and at such length in the Guardian. When her access to briefings by government and IDF spokesmen dried up, she became redundant, and the Guardian had to shift her to reporting on environmental matters in Washington.

    Gutmann also mentions a Dutch reporter she names as “Conny” permanently based in Jerusalem. This man has taken it upon himself to “train” foreign reporters new to the area on what to say in opposition to Israel, and what can be said to ensure their access to the PA and Hamas.

    Finally, she points out that most of the hundreds of foreign reporters are based at the American Colony hotel or are constant visitors at the bar there, the favorite watering hole for intrepid reporters who can travel down the road for 30 minutes to Ramallah, grab a story, and report back, or even just share stories in the bar without actually leaving the place (cue Harriet Sherwood, for example, who miraculously manages to be in multiple places at once even when she is not in the country.). The PA would also make sure to tip off the reporters there in advance of a conveniently close demonstration (remember the recent car stoning where a dozen or so photographers were already in position before it happened) so that the reporters would be on site to get their story and pictures.

  5. The CBC (the Beeb’s Canadian little brother) has an article about the return of the Mavi Marmara to Turkey, and the Jew-haters are out in force. I don’t know how many of them truly believe the foul crap they write, and really, I don’t particularly care either way–however, if you have a CBC login, the forces of good would appreciate some reinforcement. http://tinyurl.com/2vvjfky

  6. @cba – even if people don’t have a login, they can go to CBC and upding pro-Israel comments and downding the anti-Israel ones. I even reported a few outright anti-semitic comments, and at least one has been deleted. So it does pay to get involved.

  7. It is not anti-Zionism which motivates these reporters- it’s antisemitism.

    Unfortunately for you, even the most rabid Zionists are dropping the antisemitism smear. For instance, no less a brain than Melanie Phillips had this to say:

    We should accuse them, not of Jew-hating motives we cannot prove but of absurdities and contradictions and untruths they cannot deny.

    So that Lumière, I’m afraid you’re being more Catholic than the Pope on this. Update yourself, man.

  8. Like Silke, I wanted to vote for both. I suspect that this varies according to the intelligence and critical thinking capability of the reporter. An idiot like Hattie “the Hen” Sherwood will misrepresent because she’s too bone idle to check out the facts and wants to remain at al-Guardian, whereas The Venerable Al-Babler (Brian Whitaker) is deliberately selective about what he reports and routinely lies by omission because he has a built-in pro-Muslim/pro-Arab bias which includes a mindless hatred of what they hate.

  9. They are in denial of their biases. In doing so, they are able to maintain a “professional” view of themselves that they doing a good job telling the truth, as well as maintaining a “personal” view of themselves that they are good, moral persons exposing the evil acts of the “oppressing” party. (Most people like to think of themselves as being correct and moral). Otherwise they would experience too much cognitive dissonance with their professional role and personal self view as moral persons. Because they also see themselves as communicating with a like-minded audience, the anti-Israel framework is accepted as conventional wisdom with specific articles selected to fit this broader perspective. Criticism of their viewpoint is denied and cast-off as perceived as motivated by “Zionism.”

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    They are in denial of their biases. In doing so, they are able to maintain a “professional” view of themselves that they doing a good job telling the truth, as well as maintaining a “personal” view of themselves that they are good, moral persons exposing the evil acts of the “oppressing” party. (Most people like to think of themselves as being correct and moral). Otherwise they would experience too much cognitive dissonance with their professional role and personal self view as moral persons. Because they also see themselves as communicating with a like-minded audience, the anti-Israel framework is accepted as conventional wisdom with specific articles selected to fit this broader perspective. Criticism of their viewpoint is denied and cast-off as perceived as motivated by “Zionism.”

  11. HasBust, what you did there was the most hilarious example of selective quotation. You have shown yourself to be no better than the journalists the OP is discussing.

    As you know because you were very smug about ensuring CiFWatch readers read about it, she apologised for wrongly claiming someone used an anti-Semitic slur.

    In her speech, she does NOT say that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, but that we must be careful to only call those people anti-Semites where there is proof. I take the view of the EU working definition on anti-Semitism:

    “Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

    * Denying the Jewish people their right to self­determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
    * Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
    * Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
    * Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
    * Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

    However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

    Just for the record then, HasBust, would you like to show us any meaningful volume of criticism of other countries similar to that which you level against Israel?

    Didn’t think so.

    If it has four legs, barks, likes to chase a thrown stick, eats Pedigree Chum, and answers to the name Rover…

  12. Other: somewhere between the two.

    ‘Belief’ is always a tricky thing, and often lies somewhere between what you think is so, and what you would like it to be. The two reinforce each other, naturally, in a positive-negative feedback loop.

    Many people’s beliefs are compromises between the real and the ideal, whatever that might be.

  13. It is my considered opinion that they absolutely know the truth, but they cannot bear to admit it to anyone else because of their political opinions and their desire to remain on good terms with their like-minded comrades. In the case of the Jewish ones, they are so very terrified that they will be rejected, on the basis of being born Jewish, by their desired in-group that they are the biggest hypocrites of all. (They also know that their “friends” are anti-Semitic, and this is why they feel so insecure. They need to try not to admit it, of course.)

    I do believe that they try to deny to themselves what they know to be the truth. They need to think of themselves as “good people,” and to admit that they, and their friends, have been anti-Semitic, racist, duped by the Arabs, and wretchedly, terminally unfair is too overwhelming for them to accept. I also believe that there are times when they willfully lie because they believe it is “for the greater good.”

    There is not one of them whom I would consider honest or honorable. There are some who are dreadful, and the others are worse.

  14. Lumiere,

    First, they apply double standards to Israel- one standard for the Jewish State and another standard for every other country.

    Could you please provide examples of the double standards you are referring to?

    Second, the standards that they do apply are impossible for any country to meet.

    Could you please provide examples of the impossible standards you are referring to?

    Much appreciated.

  15. AKUS

    I found your post interesting, though somewhat lacking in perspective, or rather, Stephanie Gutmann’s does.

    Let’s consider her complaints:

    1. Israels PR apartatue does have the advanatge of speaking Arabic and Hebrew, and has ample opportunity to give their version of events.
    2. I’m sure you would agree that Fatah and Hamas have a right to give their version of events, so why would you begrudge the exietnce of the “fixers”?
    3. Did the IDF not control what the foreign media got to see in Gaza durign the Gaza 2008/2009 war – violating the ruling of their own Supreme Court by refusing to lift the ban?

    While it is unfortunate that the the PA, Fatah, and Hamas might favor reporters that produce the appropriate spin, is this not a practice we see the world over, especially in the US, where “embedded” reporters are given special access?

    This man has taken it upon himself to “train” foreign reporters new to the area on what to say in opposition to Israel, and what can be said to ensure their access to the PA and Hamas.

    How is this any different to the NYT Chief Editor on the Middle East, Ethan Bronner, who’s son is serving with the IDF?

    Finally, she points out that most of the hundreds of foreign reporters are based at the American Colony hotel or are constant visitors at the bar there, the favorite watering hole for intrepid reporters who can travel down the road for 30 minutes to Ramallah, grab a story, and report back, or even just share stories in the bar without actually leaving the place

    And how is this any different to what was/is taking place in Iraq or any other hot spot?

    The PA would also make sure to tip off the reporters there in advance of a conveniently close demonstration (remember the recent car stoning where a dozen or so photographers were already in position before it happened) so that the reporters would be on site to get their story and pictures.

    This is a pretty lame complaint. All in all, the Gutmann’s compaints could be made about anyone, including Israel.

  16. Shingo, where are all these pro-Arab reporters when Sderot is being attacked again?

    Where’s Israel’s equivalent of Pallywood?

  17. Generalising is always dangerous (ahem!) so that some people, even journalists, probably really believe that Israel is evil and that the accusations levelled at Israel are true. I should imagine that these are the ones who live in their mother’s basement and don’t get around much.

    The rest live in a sort of haze where Israel is concerned. They know that everybody they know, all the chaps at the pub, expresses a certain opinion of Israel which is fashionable and must be correct. If they have a moment between beers they might have a slight niggling doubt that a country that they considered the acme of morality a few decades ago has really degenerated to the extent that their friends, the Beeb and the Guardian say.A few more moments of uncertainty might be generated by things like the hospital Israel brought to Haiti, by the academic & technological work that emanates from Israel, by the academic prize-winners. However, sticking one’s neck out for Israel when one has to feel sorry for their victims, isn’t something one wants to do after glimpsing their victims bleeding all over the television screen. Nobody has ever seen an Israeli bleed all over the television screen. After all, why stretch oneself to work things out when we’re talking about a country that consists mainly of Jews, and the memory of Jews being considered a bit iffy is strong.

  18. I have always been baffled by the claim of many –including the Zionist Organization of America and Alan Dershowitz– that the IDF’s code of ethics requires its soldiers to put their lives at stake in order to avoid harming civilians.

    What do you think; are they knowingly lying or do they actually believe such nonsense?

  19. What do you think; are they knowingly lying or do they actually believe such nonsense?

    In your case the answer is very simple HB – you are lying knowingly because no human can be so stupid to believe the BS you are posting.
    Did you serve in the IDF? (only a rhetoric question, you never would be accepted – profil 21 and moral incompability) If not how would you know about its moral code?

  20. Dershowitz quotes from public sources and you are denying its credibility. If you don’t have any firsthand knowledge about the subject (like serving in the IDF) then you are simply trying to smear the IDF without any factual source of knowledge – that’s right HB – nobody expects anything better from you, all similar anti-semite would do the same.

  21. Shingo, where are all these pro-Arab reporters when Sderot is being attacked again?

    And where are the pro Israeli reporters? Clearly, the atatck is not exciting anyone;’s imagination in Israel either, or even Sderto for that matter.

  22. Dershowitz quotes from public sources and you are denying its credibility.

    Correction: Dershowitz misquotes from public sources, becasue he assumes his audience is too lazy to check them.

    If you don’t have any firsthand knowledge about the subject (like serving in the IDF) then you are simply trying to smear the IDF without any factual source of knowledge – that’s right HB – nobody expects anything better from you, all similar anti-semite would do the same.

    Do you have any firsthand knowledge about the subject of WWII (like serving in the Nazi military)? After all, how can we know what happened unless we hear it from first hand accounts?