Friday, October 03, 2008

The Guardian and racism

For all it's faults (e.g. employing prize twat Seamus Milne) I'm proud to call myself a Guardian reader; it's the paper that best embodies my social and political views. That said, it does occasionally suffer from the malaise affecting part of the left where supposed anti-imperialism leads to unbalanced criticsm of the US and Israel and tacit support for illiberalism. Nowhere is this better embodied than on Comment Is Free; wade into the comments to many of the blogs and you will find yourself in a conspiracy theory obsessed, anti-semitic, flat-out racist swamp. DavidT at Harry's Place has been following up one particularly interesting case of this. One commenter, Tehrankid77, was notorious for her racist views towards Israel. One such example:

Star of David has been flying inside number 10 since Thatcher days; you are just too blinded by your hatred for the Muslims to notice it.
Now The Graun supposedly have "a zero-tolerance policy on antisemitic postings or any other form of hate speech." This is somewhat contradicted by their tolerance of comments like that above. It is further contradicted by the fact that they ended up commisioning Tehrankid77 to write a column. Then another.

The Guardian is now aware of this situation and they won't be accepting any more articles from Tehrankid77. Which is fine. But you have to wonder why she was on board in the first place. To me it looks like a generally lax attitude towards anti-semitism, that simply wouldn't be allowed were it racism directed towards other groups.

The Guardian needs to shape up and take a firm and consistent stand for anti-racism.

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