Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's the Guardian guarding?

The Guardian has been promoted a liberal with small l newspaper for a long time. It is the newspaper of choice for the ‘progressive’ reader. The editorials are supposed to be reflect the ‘left-centre ground’.  

The Guardian is not independent, the old Scott Trust was wound up in 2008 and replaced by a limited company using the same moniker. The new Scott Trust Ltd appoints a board to run the show – the composition of which might startle those who still regard The Guardian as a left leaning newspaper. The Scott Trust Limited appoints the editor, sets the commercial direction of the newspapers it owns and has total responsibility for their overall development. The Guardian is beset by the same pressures around cut-price churnalism, advertising revenue and its relationship to power as any other commercial media giant. The Scott Trust Ltd is a commercial board, the governing body of The Guardian and The Observer. Much of the Guardian’s reporting could mislead people into believing that their journalists should be just be stenographers for government and corporate spokespeople repeating press releases.

Neil Berkitt – a former banker (Lloyds, St George Bank) who then helped vulture capitalist Richard Branson with Virgin Media.
David Pemsel – Former head of marketing at ITV.
Nick Backhouse – On the board of the Bank of Queensland, formerly with Barings Bank.
Ronan Dunne -  On the Telefónica Europe plc board, Chairman of Tesco Mobile. He has also worked at Banque Nationale de Paris plc.
Judy Gibbons -  Currently a non-executive director of retail property kings Hammerson, previously with O2, Microsoft, Accel Partners (venture capital), Apple and Hewlett Packard.
Jennifer Duvalier – Previously in management consultancy and banking.
Brent Hoberman – Old Etonian with fingers in various venture capital pies including car rental firm EasyCar.
Nigel Morris – Chairman of network digital marketing giants Aegis Media.
John Paton – CEO of Digital First Media – a very large media conglomerate which was sued successfully in the U.S. for rigging advertising rates.
Katherine Viner – Not a banker, in marketing or venture capital. She is a journalist.
Darren Singer – formerly with BSkyB, the BBC and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Secretary Philip Tranter –from some posh law firm in London.

Note the total absence of any trade unionists, social workers, academics, activists or even journalists (save for Editor-in-chief Ms Viner).

The Guardian is run by people predominantly from banking, venture capital and marketing – with all manner of connections to companies like Virgin Media, Tesco, O2, Microsoft, HP etc. Perhaps this explains its well documented expertise in off shore tax avoidance schemes that hypocritical exercises, the abrupt dismissal of dissenting voices such as its ex-reporter Nafeez Ahmed, its stance against Scottish independence, and, of course, its own supposedly neutral coverage of the Labour leader election and the demonization of Jeremy Corbyn. The few truly radical voices it allows space for are merely fig leaves for a right-wing bias disguised as ‘balanced’ journalism. A memory hole is any mechanism for the alteration or disappearance of inconvenient or embarrassing documents, particularly as part of an attempt to give the impression that something never happened and the Guardian is adept at expressing such.

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