H/T Just Journalism
In Guardian Assistant Editor Michael White’s Blog yesterday, on the topic of media self-censorship – in the context of recent crackdown by the Turkish government on voices critical of the regime – there was a remarkable admission about his paper’s coverage of Israel.
White, who’s been with the Guardian for over 30 years, said:
[The Guardian has] always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive tribal habits of the working class, which is more easily ignored altogether.
Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and US Republicans are more straightforward targets.
So while we hacks do not fear the knock at the door in a Turkish dawn, we should not feel too pleased with ourselves. And remember, dear reader, that we are also striving much of the time to tell you what you’d rather know rather than challenge your prejudices and make you cross.
No, Mr. White, you’re right. You and your colleagues shouldn’t be too pleased with yourselves.
While its refreshing to hear White seem to acknowledge (or at least suggest) that The Guardian’s obsessively negative coverage of Israel serves to reaffirm its readers’ considerable prejudices about the Jewish state, I frankly doubt that he realizes just how injurious his organization’s legitimization of this bigotry is to both Israel and the broader Jewish community.
Yes – as White suggests – a responsible newspaper (especially one which claims a liberal orientation) should challenge its readers’ prejudices, not grant them moral license.
Indeed – outside the comfortable bubble of White’s London Salon – for those of us living in Israel and diaspora communities around the world who are increasingly vulnerable to the real world consequences of anti-Zionist and Judeophobic narratives, such egregious journalistic bias isn’t a mere abstraction.
White’s candor is to be commended, but it would seem that only those predisposed to the most puerile optimism could sustain a belief in the capacity of such an enormous institution to break free of its own ideological inertia.
Our battle against the Guardian will be a long and arduous one.