Readers Letters to the GuardianFebruary 26, 2001 12:00 by ManagingTeam
We want to share with you some of the e-mails that HonestReporting members have sent in. We think these serve as encouraging examples of how to effectively communicate our thoughts to the media.
When contacting the media, it is important to always remain polite and respectful, in order to preserve the integrity of your complaint, and of the HonestReporting campaign. The one area where David Leigh had a legitimate grievance is that some of the letters he received were belligerent and even threatening in tone.
We thank all the HonestReporting members who took the time to write the Guardian, and we regret that space limitations do not allow us to include them all here. There is no doubt that our efforts have succeeded in putting the Guardian on alert. They know they are being watched, and though the same biased reporting may continue, at least they will think twice about what they write.
A new media critique will follow in two days. Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.
TO THE GUARDIAN:
As a professor of Information Systems, I thank you for providing great material for class discussion.
As part of the course that I teach at NJIT, we cover the transfer of power from governments, media, and so-called opinion makers, back to the people. This happens thanks to technology such as the Internet.
Your reporting about Israel, and the number of individuals who responded via e-mail in protest are great material for upcoming classes. To start with, several of your articles provide recent examples of a purposeful disregard to ethics and moral obligations of professionals. Such a Machiavellian example is helping me drive my point home, when speaking to my students about ethics, professional responsibilities, and social responsibilities.
The attention-grabbing responses from thousands of individuals around the world to your version of “journalism” gives me a great example of how individuals in societies can claim back the power they have relinquished (sometimes involuntarily) to what became contemptible institutions.
Professor Eli Rohn, New Jersey
TO THE GUARDIAN:
Your intention to make readers assume that most HonestReporting members are right-wing pro-Israel extremists is not just anti-Israel, it is an erroneous presumption that undercuts your credibility as an objective source of information.
If anything, you should take pride in the ability to acknowledge mistakes. Otherwise, you will develop an agenda, and should that happen, then you cease to be a newspaper, and you begin to be a propaganda machine. While it is your privilege to choose sides in the Middle East spin cycle, you claim to be an objective journal, and therefore, you have been cyber-smacked for violating your trust.
As for your 19th-century view that corresponding en masse with a news organization and its staff is harassment; if you didn’t want reader feedback, why did you go into journalism? Maybe you prefer your readers to be mindless unresponsive puds who believe everything you tell them. But the free press is an interactive application, not just an ideal of politics.
The fact that we responded to you in large droves shows our collective disapproval of your written attacks against the Middle East’s only legitimate democracy, not to mention your defense of the corrupt Palestinian administration — which most Palestinians would rather do away with.
Welcome to grassroots lobbying — internet style.
After you simmer down and consider the qualified arguments made against you, I will look forward to your reply — public or private. But I won’t expect one.
Ysha Harari, Washington, DC
TO THE GUARDIAN:
Your article “Media Manipulators” is really deeply unfair, and represents, in my opinion, misuse of the power a media like the Guardian holds.
I am a member of HonestReporting. That means I’ve read their charter, and I agree with what they are trying to do. HonestReporting is a fair, reasonable and balanced approach to attacking bias in the media. Mr Leigh makes it sound so much more sinister than that!
His attack has no substance — he doesn’t criticize the charter, he criticizes the fact that the Guardian was accused in an organized manner. What’s wrong with that? He doesn’t criticize the definitions, he chooses instead to try to paint a picture of extremism where there isn’t any. The article seems to promote itself as investigative reporting — as if it’s uncovering some sort of secret organization!
I am flabbergasted at this article. I think it’s so way off the mark, that it seriously questions the Guardian’s integrity. We accuse you of printing a biased article and we give you our reasoning and substantiation — and you just dismiss us as extremists. That’s not much better than responding with “Yuk, you smell.” Come on! Respond like adults or don’t respond at all.
Tim Cowland, England