Ten years ago, a small group of dedicated activists concerned about inaccurate and inflammatory coverage of Israel in the British media, and the antisemitism such reporting often fuels, had an audacious idea: to take on the Guardian, the central address for such bias.
The blog established by this group in August 2009 was called CiF Watch, reflecting our initial focus on the Guardian’s online home for op-eds and commentaries, known as ‘Comment is Free’ (‘CiF’). The first post at CiF Watch pledged to expose and combat the bigoted and one-sided nature of the Guardian’s obsessive focus on Israel and, by extension, the Jewish people.
Over the years, we were able to boast quite a few quantifiable successes.
- The Guardian’s egregiously skewed coverage of Israel, and their legitimisation and promotion of antisemitic tropes, increasingly became part of the media conversation.
- Guardian moderators began to more promptly delete antisemitic claims in the comment section of articles and op-eds.
- The Guardian implicitly acknowledged our impact and admitted that they needed to “avert” “accusations” of antisemitism.
- The Guardian dramatically curtailed the output of commentaries from some of more extreme anti-Israel contributors, such as Richard Silverstein, Antony Lerman, Ben White and Ali Abunimah.
And, later that year, both CiF Watch and BBC Watch became part of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis), the oldest and most prolific pro-Israel media monitoring organisation.
Since then, we adopted the CAMERA model of media monitoring by directly engaging with journalists and editors (via email and social media) to challenge false or misleading claims about Israel. This method proved extremely successful, garnering substantive corrections to Guardian articles and op-eds which, we successfully argued, were in violation of the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
Our success prompted us to look beyond the Guardian, and we began systematically monitoring and corresponding with editors at other British news sites. Thus, in 2015, CAMERA’s UK Media Watch was born.
Since then, we’ve prompted dozens of corrections each year (including a record 51 corrections in 2018) at publications such as The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mail, The Economist, the Financial Times and of course the Guardian. Further, our reach has extended well beyond our own blogs and social media accounts, as our op-eds have appeared in places such as The Independent, Irish Examiner, The Jewish Chronicle, The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel JNS, and The Algemeiner.
After ten years, we remain dedicated to promoting accurate coverage of Israel, and to combating antisemitic narratives and tropes which often accompany reports compromised by anti-Israel bias.
As always, we thank you – our loyal followers – for continuing to support us in carrying out our vital mission.
Categories: General UK Media