The ‘Guardian Spring’: Is ‘Comment is Free’ easing its ban on CiF Watch?

As we’ve noted previously, despite the relative improvement of the moderation of comments beneath the line at ‘Comment is Free’ over the years, moderators seem to have an at least unofficial policy of immediately deleting any mention of, and links to, this blog.  Indeed, as we recounted in a post, though I was for some time allowed to comment using my real name, with a bio noting that I spent my days guarding the Guardian, at some point I fell out of favor with the politburo and was banned – and my comments airbrushed from ‘CiF’ history.

Now, being the official nemesis of a paper cheekily yet accurately described by one prominent commentator as “the English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on earth” is a badge we wear proudly, and, happy warriors that we are, we take their hostility in the face of our dogged efforts to chip away at their dwindling journalistic legitimacy as a sign of our effectiveness.  Though they may fancy the notion that they’re indifferent to our presence, the fact that even furtive attempts to allude to our presence are immediately flagged by their “professional” moderators would suggest otherwise.

However, yesterday, something quite curious occurred.

In the comment thread beneath the Guardian editorial praising the East London Mosque (fisked by Harry’s Place in a post cross-posted here), there was this, by a commenter responding to a comment (which, as you see, was deleted) that had dared to mention these blogging critiques of their apologia for radical Islam.


And, then there was this:


A few observations:

  • Yes, as the first commenter above argued, CiF Watch has indeed published a number of posts, which would disturb genuine progressives, about the Guardian’s licensing of illiberal, decidedly Judeophobic commentators at ‘Comment is Free’.
  • Yes, one would certainly expect the Editor to establish a transparent dialogue with these critics and take a closer look at the ideological extremism they are implicitly endorsing.
  • The two comments posted above have garnered nearly 200 recommends and, remarkably, have NOT been deleted by CiF moderators.

Will 2013 be remembered as the year in which the spirit of openness, tolerance and liberalization (what may be known as Glasnost and Perestroika to the Cold War brats among us) finally penetrated the anachronistic and suffocating radical chic political environment which has long dominated the Guardian’s London salon?

Have the liberal journalistic upheavals of the ‘Guardian Spring’ arrived? 

19 replies »

  1. Well Adam, I do hope you are right, and that a constructive dialogue emerges.
    with good will on all sides 🙂

    But can you be sure the software there was working ok? It may have thought my post was already gone, meaning that a sysadmin was needed to do the delete, and maybe he was out to lunch.

    Anyway, I have a positive view of The Reader’s Editor, and the original editorial was so far round the moon some common sense may have prevailed during the snafu.

    This is just guessing though.

    As for the number of recommends, well those should be taken with a pinch of salt, eh?

    Sorry to hear about your ban. Tut tut. It should be revoked at once.

    But still CiF is a lot more tolerant than other boards. In some respects clearly too tolerant.

    PS if you need to mod my comments for any reason feel free. It is your blog.

    • Thanks for your comment. And, btw, we have a generally laissez faire (some would say “liberal”) attitude about comments at this blog.

      • Hmm, too much of laissez faire concerning JasonIsmailNickNatzie who tries to occupy the space of comments by endlessly repeating the same refuted lies, smears and denunciation since years under different monikers.
        The lines about Ben Gurion f.e. were x times refuted and corrected, but he keeps on posting them again.
        According to my opinion his tactics of endlessly repeating lies and occupying space with them is quite similar, if not identical, to those of the Nazis.
        And it is not only trolling he has in mind, this new nazi.

  2. ‘Guardian’ spring not a chance.
    They are well into Autumn and about to enter Winter.

    ‘The Guardian’ and its coffee house flop;

    And the June ABCs (circulation figures) are out;
    ‘The Guardian’ 187,000 year on year DOWN 11.59%
    month on month DOWN 2.79%
    ‘The Observer’ 212,376 year on year DOWN 12.94%
    month on month DOWN 4.65%

    All I can say to the loyal ‘Guardianistas’ is So Sad, Too Bad, now Pi*s Off!

  3. “moderators seem to have an at least unofficial policy of immediately deleting any mention of, and links to, this blog.”

    The articles are fine .Predictable, rightish wing, very pro Israel but not outlandish , however it has a reputation for intolerance .If the extremists who call folk Nazis at the drop of a hat , could moderate their language maybe it wouldn’t be seen as so eccentric.

    • Rosco as you have so many wonderful ideas about how a blog should be run why don’t you lead by example.
      By which I mean go away and start your own blog then we can all see how wonderful it is when a blog is run correctly.

      • “ have so many wonderful ideas ..why don’t you lead by example.”

        Like the best art critics being hopeless at art… I am in fact a failed writer how kind of you to suggest otherwise. I should say I have failed so far.

  4. Yes, I’ve noticed how ruthlessly the moderators pounce on any comment or link to do with CIF-Watch. So it was quite surprising that they let those few through.

    I tend to go with the conclusion that they just overlooked them, but it’s quite possible that such a cringingly dhimmi editorial aroused a degree of opposition even among the moderators and they decided to let at least some CIF-friendly comments stand.

    The moderators are naturally Guardian friendly but they do demonstrate a degree of fair play at times. As an example, when some shmuck told me I’m drawn to Israel topics like a fly to shit, they deleted his comment. I hadn’t reported it, since I prefer to let shmucks condemn themsleves by their own words but I suppose it’s possible someone else complained.

    In contrast, the only comment I’ve ever reported was one calling quite directly and seriously for the killing of a British politician unpopular with the left. I figured that was so way out of line that they would surely delete it. They didn’t, thereby demonstrating that have difficulty following their own rules, at times blinded by ideology.