Guardian publishes clarification of its Jewish Chronicle smear.

Two days ago Adam Levick wrote here on the smearing of the Jewish Chronicle and its editor Stephen Pollard by Guardian Diary Editor Hugh Muir, blogger Richard Silverstein and MPACUK over a BNP member’s use of the JC open blogging platform. 

The Guardian has now issued a clarification:

“In a Diary item about the presence of blogs by Carlos Cortiglia, the BNP’s mayoral candidate, on the Jewish Chronicle website we stated that the blogs were still available on 23 November. We went on to say that this “conflicts” with the account of the Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard, “that he became aware of Cortiglia’s blog and deleted all trace of it ‘last September'”. To clarify: he told the Guardian’s reporter that “in September we were alerted to the fact that Cortiglia had set up a user blog and the moment we were told, we blocked him and changed [the] entire system”. Mr Pollard has asked us to point out that this was not meant to imply that all traces of the blogs had been deleted in September – in fact the measure he took at that time was to block Cortiglia’s access. He ordered the blogs to be deleted more recently (20 April, page 35).”

Whilst it is good to see the Guardian correcting the record, one also hopes that this incident will serve as a reminder of the fact that when a mainstream news outlet finds itself following the lead of such dubious interested parties as Richard Silverstein and MPACUK, some serious questions regarding judgment calls need to be asked. 

But then again, those questions should also have arisen long ago when Silverstein was a regular contributor to ‘Comment is Free’. 

15 replies »

  1. But exactly what “smear” are you talking about here?

    Where did Muir suggest “that the Jewish Chronicle would knowingly associate with a BNP member” (as claimed in the previous CiFW article on this issue)?
    Or that “Pollard knowingly employed the services of an open BNP blogger”?
    Where is the “grossly defamatory smear”?

    And where exactly did Muir “smear the UK Jewish community” and “demonize” the JC?
    (and why call the latter “a mainstream UK Jewish publication” other than to imply anti-Semitism?)

  2. Question
    “Where did Muir suggest “that the Jewish Chronicle would knowingly associate with a BNP member” (as claimed in the previous CiFW article on this issue)?”

    “He penned at least three blog posts there, all moderate by the standards of JC bloggers, in fact “completely innocuous” as described by editor Stephen Pollard.”
    The clear innuendo is that his blogging was done with the knoweldge and consent of the JC

  3. This is all very well but this is based on more false information supplied by Pollard.

    “in September we were alerted to the fact that Cortiglia had set up a user blog and the moment we were told, we blocked him and changed [the] entire system”.

    This isn’t true.

  4. Duvidl is prompted to versify about Carlos:

    After “Mary had a Little Lamb” (children’s rhyme)

    Franco had a little shnuk; his name – Carlos Cortiglia.
    And everywhere that Carlos went, they called him “fascist pig-lia.”
    He published lots of Jew-hate trash, with self promotion big-lier.
    And when the old-Trot Graun approved,
    That worm turned much more wriggly-er.

    DS Al Coda

  5. The JC staff have happily put up with antisemites posting libellous nonsense about Israel and Jews for the last three years in the JC blog section, in spite of hundreds of complaints. His moderators have made a point of banning or silencing pro-Israel voices while giving antizionists a free reign to post whatever crap they like. But it wasn’t until he realised that the BNP were posting there – who are loathsome idiots but are also a legal political party – that he did anything about it.

    No sympathy from me.

    • None from me either, Matt.

      As for why they have been allowed to do it, the only thing that occurs to me is that the JC blog section has fallen into the same trap as so many other blogs – ie trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator and emotion rather than reason in order to get hits, and Pollard and his moderators make doormats of themselves and allow haters to continue to publish under the guise of “promoting debate.”

  6. For a thorough documentation of the kind of libellous idiocy that Stephen Pollard has allowed his blog to become a vehicle for, see:

    And what happened to the user who runs JC Watch who also used to contribute to the JC blogs? They banned him, of course!

  7. I am the owner-creator of JCWatch, which I began out of disgust that a so-called “Jewish” newspaper was allowing scandalous attacks upon the State of Israel.

    Just one example published by Pollard in May 2010:

    “Your loathsome country Israel who we all hate in the rest of the world was founded by terrorists has always been run by terrorists and now neo nazis are in charge. The best thing anyone sensible Israeli can do is leave.”

    you can view quotes collected over most of 2010, which were published in the Jewish Chronicle’s Blogs section.

    Pollard’s hypocracy is amazing!

  8. The JC is very selective about who can have free speech.

    No pity for Mr Pollard and the rest of the crew at the JC. They have allowed the blogs to become a playground of the Israel haters and a place to bully and abuse that fierce defender of our community, Jonathan Hoffman. The personal insults against him are never removed. Shame on them. You can read about my conversation with the JC chairman here

    The JC blog editors are very quick to remove any comments that do not agree with their political agenda. So if you are a supporter of Danny Ayalon (who Pollard is always criticising) and his party, whooosh….. your post magically disappears! Or dare to criticise Obama… again, whooosh…. your comment is removed.

    My friend Michelle asked on the blogs why these comments were being removed, instead of an answer, hers were removed too. When she persisted with these comments, her access to the JC website was blocked. Is this a serious newspaper?

    If you ever wonder why British Jews have become trembling Israelites…. it’s because of this newspaper. No better than the Guardian. It never gives it’s readers the full picture on Israel.

  9. Gina, like it or loathe it, Anthony Julius was right that the PSC can post anywhere it likes provided it doesn’t infringe the law. I am intrigued as to why you reserve all your vituperation for him it seems because he disagrees with your take and you were disappointed because you expected wholehearted support. Emotional reasoning helps no-one, does it?

    • I don’t know the inner workings of the JC but Gina is correct to say that on its blog the moderators allow the most spiteful Jew haters to abuse Jonathan Hoffmann personally without even trying to argue with him.
      Allowing the opponent to post is one thing, to tolerate bullying and personal abuse is something else. And if they are sooo liberal to give a forum to the PSC why are they removing other posts opposing their politics?

      • Exactly. In terms of stupidity, extremism and level of offence caused I’d put the BNP and PSC in about the same bracket. But clearly the thought of being tarnished as a BNP supporter by Mr Pollard’s chums at the Express fills him with horror and loathing, whereas he doesn’t give a shit about what people think about his paper’s association with the world’s worst Jew haters.