I Read The Guardian, But I Don’t Know Why

A few weeks ago I came across a free copy of the Daily Star. For those higher mortals who don’t live in Britain, the Daily Star is a tabloid newspaper. Noted for its bums-and-boobs approach to journalism, the Daily Star makes the Sun look like the Encyclopedia Britannica.

It’s a throwback to an age when humans shared the earth with Neanderthals. In fact you might say the Daily Star came along forty thousand years too late. It’s original editor was a toothy Cockney called Derek Jameson, nicknamed Sid Yobbo by Private Eye. The Spirit of Yob lives on in the Daily Star; brief of sentence, limited in intelligence, it isn’t read by white van man, it’s read by the van.

Curiously, what the Daily Star has that the Guardian lacks is integrity. Again, for you higher mortals, the Guardian is a British broadsheet. Left wing and right on, the Guardian, like many titles in the industry, struggles to survive in an age of plentiful online free news.

But reading the Guardian there are times when you wouldn’t know this is supposed to be one of the leading newspapers in the world. Famously known as the Grauniad because of a succession of editors who couldn’t spell, the Guardian throws up on a daily basis puff pieces, fillers and clickbait, and then sits back wondering why its ‘below the line comments’ look more like the minutes of a meeting chaired by Josef Goebbels.

For a supposedly left wing newspaper, The Guardian is often behind the curve when it comes to effective campaigning. (photo Morburre)

The columnists line up in groups of desperate antagonists like Jessica Valenti, and champagne socialists epitomised by Polly Toynbee. There are still one or two journalists hanging on to standards, John Harris championing social justice, George Monbiot fighting environmental despoilers and corrupt business, and Marina Hyde skewering anyone who walks on the wrong side of life, be they crap celebrities or the spivs of the IOC.

It’s hard to know when the Guardian is taking the piss. Can Tim Dowling’s ultra-mundane wittering about nothing in particular be real? Was the paper’s extraordinary obsession with Beyonce journalistic altruism or a lucrative advertising campaign in disguise? They stopped short of crediting her with the First World War Armistice, but only because she wasn’t old enough to appear in any photographs taken at the time.

When it does its job the results are explosive, such as the Edward Snowden revelations. But these world-shaking exposes are rare, and getting rarer, preferring instead to commission ever more dubious commentary pieces on why it would be a good idea to upset the French (at a time of multiple terrorist attacks), or why men look stupid in cargo shorts (the ongoing mass rape and murder of women and girls in Syria not fitting the Guardian’s preference for clever-dick feminism.)

With its weak journalism above the line, and thuggish depravity below it, the Guardian is becoming a laughing stock, unable to decide whether its future and integrity should be free or paid for. Its dithering lands it in a nether region of serious news gathering cheek by jowl with stories about a man selling wands in Huddersfield.

It’s a sad sight; the once proud campaigning Manchester Guardian sitting at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Daily Star, but winking and giggling with its silly competitor, sharing a knowing joke. But is the joke on them or us?

(featured image Mark Buckawicki)


13 thoughts on “I Read The Guardian, But I Don’t Know Why

  1. I loved this piece, and you said, (much more cleverly and succinctly) what I’ve been saying for a while. I always feel the Grauniad has an ulterior motive which favours the government and conservative attitudes. Poor old George Monbiot must be worried for his gig, it can’t go on for much longer. I didn’t read it at all during the Brexit fiasco as I knew what I would find- but their bias against Corbyn is disgusting. Thanks for an amusing and insightful observation on the paper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monbiot was recently the subject of a Guardian article letting the whole world know he’d been disciplined by the paper for not declaring an interest in one of his articles. A minor infringement, not mentioning his relaationship with a charity he was working for (he had agreed to do a number of hours with them following a lost libel action.)

      I thought it was a real kick in the teeth for one of their best writers and said a lot about the Guardian’s badly distorted sense of judgement these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cancelled my Kindle subscription to the Guardian/Observer (after reading both papers for 28 years). Fled to the Independent for two months then cancelled that because it seemed so shallow in comparison. Returned somewhat sheepishly to the Guardian/Observer, then cancelled them a second time only TODAY because there was so much anti-Corbyn bias in the Observer that I honestly thought I’d received the Mail on Sunday by mistake. So now I inhabit a no-man’s-land. I was beginning to think there was only me in here, but perhaps I’m mistaken.
    Cheers, Alen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed your journalism takedown, Chris. Especially the line about the Star being read by the van. More, I say. I have to admit I do love the Guardian though, so much so that I actually went so far as to subscribe. But not because of the news coverage. It’s because of the Culture section – Books and TV especially. Can’t get enough of it, in fact. I tried mainlining it the other day but it went down the wrong tube.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I bet it went down the right tube instead of the left. (ba boom!)

      Some of the culture features are quite funny. I thought one from a couple of years ago claiming Miley Cyrus to be a feminist role model was hilarious.

      I suppose subscribing means you’ll never see the adverts for fine wines and artesan holidays in Mogadishu.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t remember the last time I read an actual, made-from-paper newspaper. For years now, we’ve watched the ABC [the Australian equivalent of your BBC] and a couple of current affairs programs [also on the ABC], but when we want up to date news it’s online asap. Methinks the era of the newspaper has passed, but no one knows what to do with the corpse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This year two new newspapers were launched in the UK and both failed within a couple of months. I think the Guardian trust fund has over £800 million to cover the losses of the newspaper side of their business.

      It seems to be a broken model and and a lot of commenters on the Guardian’s site say they won’t pay a subscription for the kind of articles the paper currently produces. I think I last bought a newspaper in 1992 or something!


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