On The Guardian or, freedom of the press?

November 8, 2022

I’ve been a loyal and dutiful Guardian reader for more than half a century now. That statement immediately places me in a certain age category, and I need to remind myself that times have moved on. But I do wonder what is happening to the newspaper I’ve known and loved for so long.

I read it because it’s liberal/ social democrat/ vaguely left-leaning, and is the only such newspaper we’ve got in this godforsaken country. I won’t give Murdoch’s press a penny because of the bastard that he is, and the braindead and mouldering columnists of the Torygraph don’t bear thinking about (though you do need to know what the enemy is thinking), the Indy is in hock to the Saudis…only the Guardian finances itself. But did it make the right choice in aiming to be free-to-all rather than paywall itself like the Times, relying on advertising and moving into the US and Australian markets to shore up its finances? It used to be able to boast about its European credentials, but coverage of our near neighbours is pretty thin at the moment.

It’s become a lot more trivial and lifestyle focused, like most of the press nowadays, as if being well-informed about the world is too much like hard work; there are too many vapid columns of comment and twaddle: do I really need 250 words on why someone has cut up their supermarket loyalty card? At a quid a word (or more) it’s money for old rope; then I learnt that the writer is actually the husband of the editor. I mean, can’t they manage on her £400,000+ salary?

Now, let’s get a little more serious: comments by readers. This was an interesting idea when it was first dreamt up, and then trolls discovered they could make hay. But there did use to be a decent enough standard of commenting on articles which appeared in the Guardian. But, increasingly, certain articles are never open for comment, and I find myself wondering why. Larry Elliott is an interesting economics journalist, but also a pro-Brexit headbanger, and when he goes on about Brexit still being a good idea, we can never comment. Simon Tisdall I now regard as their warmonger-in-chief with his crazed articles about the situation in Ukraine, demanding ever more intervention, weaponry and I don’t know what else; again, we’re not allowed to comment on this madness. Why not?

And then there’s the gender debate. There seems to be some sort of actual censorship going on at the paper, as far as I can make out from snippets which have appeared in other media, and the disappearance of interesting (women) columnists who have packed their bags for elsewhere, because apparently the Guardian will not allow gender-critical commentary. Although I also find it strange that such writers, after years at the Guardian, can then go off and take Murdoch’s (or Harmsworth’s) tainted shilling. This is just plain weird, to this long-time reader who has followed umpteen complex feminist debates with interest in the columns of the paper over the decades. What is the Guardian afraid of?

If there were an alternative, I wouldn’t be so worried. I’d just read another paper. But there isn’t, and when progressive readers are driven to wondering what is happening with the only vaguely progressive newspaper we have, we are in trouble. We need to stick together, and it’s getting harder… I’ll carry on reading, and paying for the crosswords. Social media as a source of news is a very worrying concept, as is the idea of whole generations not bothering with serious news at all. The way is wide open for distortion and manipulation, and it’s going on before our eyes.

Rant over; I’ll go any lie down now.


6 Responses to “On The Guardian or, freedom of the press?”

  1. There’s always The New European! I think it’s weekly, but very liberal/left wing/thought provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wallyzed Says:

    Have you tried The i? OK – it’s now owned by the Mail group, but for now at least seems to retain its editorial independence. Its politics are definitely left of centre; as close to the old Guardian as you’re likely to get. Give it a go – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


    • litgaz Says:

      Well I do look at it most days and I have been surprised by its political line, but it’s thin in terms of news coverage and they do leave things up for days if not weeks on end. I just miss the Guardian of the old days!


  3. cooperatoby Says:

    Just to say that I really enjoyed this post, though you diminish it by calling it a rant. I was intending to comment at length – especially after reading Larry Elliott on Breixt! – but that urge has subsided. But thanks anyway!
    PS I do give money to the Guardian, and think everyone should.


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