The Guardian Questions Itself

The Guardian (UK), a frequent target of criticism from HonestReporting, has now been forced to take an introspective look at the criticism leveled at them.

The Guardian’s ombudsman (in the UK, he’s called the “readers’ editor”) interviewed the entire Guardian staff to get their perspective on the paper’s Mideast coverage. The responses were surprisingly critical. One Guardian journalist said the paper’s coverage was “so anti-Israeli it was embarrassing.”

Another Guardian staffer complained about a recent front-page headline: “Israel faces rage over ‘massacre.’” She writes: “The newspaper has a responsibility, especially given how delicate the situation is, not to report such damaging accusations unless it has the proof to back it up. Where was the bold headline saying, ‘Lies, there was no massacre’?”

Alas, rather than admitting it flubbed, the Guardian ombudsman defends the headline, saying that the word “massacre” was enclosed in single quotation marks, and the article itself cited the “massacre” claim in the name of a Palestinian spokesman. Yet it was, to use the Guardian’s own words, “a subtlety lost.”

The articles are online at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4415456,00.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4420610,00.html

Next week’s ombudsman column will be devoted to readers’ response. Submit your comments to:

Email: reader@guardian.co.uk
Phone: 0845-451-9589 between 11am – 5pm Monday to Friday
Fax: 020-7239-9997
Mail: Readers’ Editor, The Guardian, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER

HonestReporting acknowledges important background information from an article by Sharon Sadeh, London correspondent of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:
http://media.guardian.co.uk/mediaguardian/story/0,7558,710532,00.html

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