(In a statement that has shaken but not stirred the world of UK journalism, the Guardian’s new editor-in-chief Katharine Viner has confessed to her newspaper’s long-term agenda of vilifying the Israeli state. UK Media Watch’s Joe Geary has ‘obtained’ the first public interview with Ms Viner on the topic.)
‘When Alan [Rusbridger] called me into his office to explain the policy, I have to admit at first I was perplexed. Why run a campaign against a small far-away country that, to most fair-minded people, seems far more sinned against than sinning.
‘Look Kate – may I call you Kate?’
‘Look Katharine, we’re losing money hand-over-fist – 50 million a year to be precise, even though we employ mostly unpaid interns these days So, I was quietly tinkling the old ivories in my second home in the Cotswolds the other day and it suddenly struck me. There’s a lot of unfair-minded people out there. There’s a whole ocean of Israel-haters out there – some because they’re anti-Western, some because they’re political ignoramuses, some because they’re simply old-fashioned antisemitic bigots. But there’s a huge potential to be tapped into. We need some way of bringing in the readies and we won’t achieve that with Polly’s boring drivel about public services or Giles’s lunatic rants on Anglicanism and Planet Earth’.
It was then when I realized that, behind the public façade of odious moralizing prig, Alan was in fact a true capitalist visionary. That he was worth every penny of the £450,000 salary the Scott Trust lavishes on him.’
Ms Viner quickly brushes away a tear. ‘I’m sorry. I still get emotional when I think about Alan and his money’, she confesses.
We were always very careful to balance Israel-bashing pieces from non-Jews with ones from Jews – we didn’t want to appear openly antisemitic. I always wondered what motivates those Israel-bashing Jews. Terrified of not fitting in with their PC friends maybe. Or just wanting to be noticed. Who knows?’
‘But then Alan called me to say it wasn’t working, sales were still bombing, readers and advertisers were still deserting us. ‘We need to be bolder’, there was a hint of desperation in his voice, ‘much bolder’.
‘And so that’s when it began to get serious. The security fence became “the Wall of Shame”. Israel was the “apartheid state”, guilty of “ethnic cleansing”, Israeli policies arguably evoke the crimes of the “Nazis”. Its sworn enemies were virtue personified. Iran’s blood-curdling threats were merely poor translations.
‘Then it suddenly struck me. The Big One. The epiphany, or l’épiphanie, as the French call it. The idea that would unlock the gates to Editor of the Mothership. I rang Alan at once. “Have you heard of the new play Rachel Corrie? I’m going to get involved in its production. And then there’s Seven Jewish Children? It actually says Jewish children, not even “Israeli”. It’s written by a famous writer, Carol Churchman, or something, so we’ll be able to show the play on our website and run a whole series of pieces, and no-one can accuse us of antisemitism. Well no-one apart from Howard Jacobson and some other sore Jewish losers”.
Alan didn’t speak but I could hear him panting on the end of the line. Those were the days.’
‘Well there you have it’, Ms Viner concludes with a sigh, staring at the carpet. Then suddenly she raises her head and there is a flash of defiance in her gaze. ‘Do I regret it? No. Would I do it again? Yes, I would and I will. Fairness and balance be damned, Israel-bashing is a gift that keeps on giving’. Then she leans forward and glares hard into my eyes ‘Facts are sacred’ she says slowly, ‘but prejudice is profit’.
*This post is an April Fool’s satire