Here’s an overview of the ongoing ‘Sassygate’ scandal at The Guardian, which has now caused the departure of two Guardian staffers.
But nobody seems to have articulated the larger issue here — this whole affair cuts to the heart of the western media’s stance vis-a-vis terrorist organizations. In the name of journalistic ‘objectivity’, The Guardian and many of its local and transatlantic colleagues have not only avoided denouncing terrorist groups (lest they be accused of partisanship), but in many cases have drawn those groups and their supporters into the fold of legitimate discourse. Witness the op-ed space that’s been granted to the likes of Michael Neumann (who actively supports – in his own words – “vicious racist anti-Semitism” to bring on the destruction of the Jewish state), Palestinian hijacker and hostage-taker Leila Khaled (an ‘expert’ on BBC radio), John Pilger, and a certain contributor by the name of Osama Bin Laden (in The Guardian itself).
So, far from outrageous, it’s perfectly natural that The Guardian would hire a ‘trainee journalist’ who belongs to a pro-terrorist group. What we’re seeing with Albert Scardino’s resignation is a long-overdue reckoning with this untenable editorial (and ethical) stance.