Friday, November 04, 2005

More problems at the Guardian

This appears pretty shoddy. I commented a few weeks ago on the excellence of the Guardian's corrections procedures but perhaps there is a reason for this? Too much practice?

I have interviewed Chomsky and he is a pretty spiky customer. However, there is certainly no need to put things in his mouth to make interesting copy.

This is a bit by the bye, but I have also followed up Guardian stories about Living Marxism and LM before (which is one of the issues Brockes raises in the Srebrenica connection) and have been disappointed in the casualness of some of their writers in impugning people's reputations without having done even the basic journalistic proprieties like interviewing their subjects. I am not defending LM's coverage of Bosnia (neither was Chomsky), just saying that when I was commissioned to do a follow up of a tasty sounding George Monbiot piece about LM and their nefariousness, I found it fell apart in my hands. I had gone into the commission smelling an interesting conspiracy and left it writing a piece that read in large parts like a defence of one of the supposed conspirators because the attacks on his reputation seemed so insubstantial. Monbiot replied with a letter, in which he basically argued he was merely "reporting phenomena", then repeated his theory and then claimed that it was a limitation of the freedom of the press for his reporting and its effects on one of his targets to be publicly discussed.

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