The Guardian Admits Its Cowardice Over Paris

From the horse’s mouth: For fear of upsetting readers, the paper silenced any commentary in the first days after the Paris attacks that might have suggested there was a causal relationship between western foreign policy in the Middle East and those events.

Instead, writes the Guardian reader’s editor Chris Elliott, the paper waited several days before giving some limited space to that viewpoint:

On the Opinion pages, one factor taken into consideration was timing – judging when readers would be willing to engage with an idea that in the first 24 hours after the attacks may have jarred. The idea that these horrific attacks have causes and that one of those causes may be the west’s policies is something that in the immediate aftermath might inspire anger. Three days later, it’s a point of view that should be heard.

In other words, the liberal Guardian held off offering a counter-narrative about the attacks, and a deeply plausible one at that, until popular opinion had hardened into a consensus manipulated by the rightwing media: “the terrorists hate us for our freedoms”, “we need to bomb them even harder”, “Islam is a religion of hatred” etc.

Excluding legitimate analyses of profoundly important events like those in Paris when they are most needed is not responsible, careful journalism. It is dangerous cowardice. It is most definitely not a politically neutral position. It provides room for hatred and bigotry to take root, and allows political elites to exploit those debased emotions to justify and advance their own, invariably destructive foreign policy agendas.

In the paragraph above, Elliott happily concedes that this is the default position of mainstream liberal media like the Guardian.

Jonathan Cook is an award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth, Israel, since 2001. This article is reprinted from his blog with permission.

18 thoughts on “The Guardian Admits Its Cowardice Over Paris”

  1. All too true, but it's revelation is unlikely to change the practice by the mainstream media of their self censorship on issues that reveal our culpability. As Chomsky would say, the requirements of the doctrinal system are paramount.

  2. If our vassal state, France, bombs ISIS, doesn't it make sense that ISIS should want to bomb the French?

  3. Oh yeah, the "mainstream liberal media." Along with "welfare queens," a term made hugely popular during Reagan's presidency and parroted by rightwing hacks until it just becomes accepted as truth.

    The Guardian and other so-called "liberal media" outlets don't operate under the principles of left-wing thinking. They currently exist to benefit the ruling class. See the NY Times, which Reagan would have called the liberal media's flagship, was absolutely on board with the illegal invasion on Iraq and even aided and abetted it. If the Mainstream Liberal Media existed, you might actually hear something about Bernie Sanders, an actual liberal, instead of Hillary, the establishment's choice, basically having been crowned by mainstream media as the Democratic presidential candidate months ago.

    1. What I left out was, clearly it's in the best interest of the establishment to absolve Western aggression of any blame whatsoever for blowback in the form of terrorist attacks on Western soil, so of course they let the alternative (blaming Islam for everything) become accepted as truth before they let another narrative be printed in any mainstream media. I have a feeling you could find agression/blowback stories in actual liberal media outlets, not on the pages of the Guardian or the NYT however.

  4. "The idea that these…attacks have causes…is something that…might inspire anger."

    Remove the extraneous and you have the logical statement in its essence. Yes, people might very well be angry, and rightfully so, if more of them understood that it's not "crazy Islamic fundamentalists" but governments, war corporations, and banks that cause war.

  5. Thank you very much for this bit of freedom of speech, a shame the guardian doesn't believe in such, except when it suits their agenda. I.e. non-free speech. So much for the liberal mindset..

    1. As I retorted above to this article already, the Guardian's reporting doesn't reflect the liberal mindset. It, like all current mainstream media, is owned and operated lock, stock and barrel by and for the Establishment and the wealthy, and it's in the Western Establishment's best interests not to connect terror attacks against the West with the same's illegal wars in the Middle East. Trying to smear liberalism in general by connecting mainstream media to liberalism is weak and a strawman argument.

      1. I am talking about the decline of the liberal mindset, and this is an instance of it. I don't know what this smearing you are talking about is, these are just plain facts about who is powerful, that their agenda is not in any way liberal. It is lamenting how powerless liberalism currently is. Mainstream media is quite influential and they need to be exposed, surely we are on the same side here? Maybe you are reading too much into a short statement, or just plain misreading it?

        1. not only lamenting that, I am thanking this article for exposing this Guardian tactic and being truly liberal… so you are arguing with an empty chair, forget about strawmen

  6. And what do the left-wing media come out with now, as their powerful response? Climate change caused it… What a limp, nonsense, irrelevant thing to say, and once again more cover up of the western foreign policy in the area that really caused this

  7. Unless I misunderstand events, why is no one in the media following up on early reports of the very muscular black-clad WHITE chap who arrived in the Mercedes and calmly and methodically machine-gunned the outdoor diners while his driver provided cover? Who were THESE guys, and were they involved in the other attacks or did they just drive away into the night? Pepe Escobar finds the media’s lack of interest in this angle troubling to say the least.

    1. I hadn't read about the white guy in the merc.Interesting . I have to say I didn't even read the details of
      the attacks themselves , partly because i go a lot further than liberalism , I've followed the political context of events since the 80's , and the documented raising of Islam itself from nothing , by the U.S. and Euro promoting and financing it all over the world. Christianity was taken up , radicalized and promoted in much the same way , in U.S. and Euro. At the same time the west ensured that christianity proper was driven out of the previously casual islamic /christian united lands .
      The truth is that the east is mainly controlled by west Gov.through 'religion' and ideology, Which is not as comfortably assimilated by those people ,as by the diseducated thoroughly selfish Western people .
      Hence , I have a lot less sympathy for western victims of their own ignorance and selfish outlook .

  8. The Guardian didn't need do anything. The French were almost as quick off the mark accusing M. le Presidente of 'letting it happen' as he was announcing they were 'officially' at war. They've upped that to a lot of comments about 'false flags'.

    That Charlie Hebdo thing cuts more than one way – while some get their jollies mocking religions, other Frenchmen maintain a healthy dose of sang froide, especially when Hollande starts wrapping himself in the tricouleur, vowing 'relentless' revenge and pretending he's Napoleon.

    And the rest of NATO in the EU is worse.

    The only following he'll get are the Ukrainians – who would follow a three-legged dog right now.

  9. this is not easily solved. Mainstream media is quite influential and they need to be exposed, surely we are on the same side here? Maybe you are reading too much into a short statement, or just plain misreading it?

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