Guardian Spins For Russian and Iranian State Media

guardian

The Guardian has published an article by a left-wing university crank spinning for Russian and Iranian state media and praising a far-left conspiracy theory site. Piers Robinson writes:

“one can gain useful insights and information from a variety of news sources – including those that are derided as “propaganda” outlets: Russia Today, al-Jazeera and Press TV should certainly not be off-limits. Mainstream media, wherever it may be based, is widely acknowledged to be overly deferential to political and economic power and that means, as consumers of news, we also need to think about exploring alternative news and information sites such as Media Lens and Spinwatch. And, more broadly, we need to become more aware of the strategies of manipulation that all governments employ in order to shape opinions and conduct.”

Russia Today is funded by Putin’s government and regularly airs conspiracy nonsense attacking the west and spinning for Moscow. Press TV was banned in the UK for filming the torture of an Iranian journalist. Media Lens is an extremely eccentric hard-left site which reckons Seumas Milne is a sellout and has been accused of denying the Srebrenica genocide. What an odd thing for the Guardian to publish…

UPDATE: Judging by his Twitter account Piers Robinson is also a big fan of the Corbynista conspiracy site The CanaryHis students at Sheffield University are lucky to have him…

Guardian: “How Did the Language of Politics Get So Toxic?”

viner

Today’s Guardian publishes an opinion piece asking “how did the language of politics get so toxic?”. It criticises the “verbal violence” of metaphors used by the media, those who use words like “treachery” and “vermin“, and asks: “Why have we forgotten Jo Cox?”. The article has been tweeted out approvingly by the paper’s editor Kath Viner…

Of course, this is the same Guardian which has in the last month published headlines claiming Brexit is “an act of treachery”, accused Michael Gove of “weapons-grade treachery” and another calling him a “political serial killer”. The same Guardian which sells on its online shop t-shirts, mugs and prints of the famous Nye Bevan quote calling Tories “lower than vermin”:

bevan

How did the language of politics get so toxic, indeed…

H/T Daniel Sugarman

Guardian Media Group’s Losses Total £173 Million

guardian logo

The FT reports that write downs and one offs took the Guardian Media Group’s losses last year to £173 million. Operating losses at the Guardian itself were £69 million – over a million quid a week. Unsurprisingly the redundancies have hit 20% of the staff – headcount had reached over 1000 employees. The question is will they retrench or continue the global expansion (of losses) in America and Australia?

Cash-Strapped Guardian Cancels Student Awards

Guardian SMA

Despite accruing millions in extra income through its systemic tax avoidance, the Guardian can’t scrape enough cash together to throw a student bash. The paper has placed the awards on “hiatus” while “reviewing our events portfolio and new opportunities for the future.” The awards, which have been running since the ’70s, have previously been won by Steve Dineen lifestyle editor of City AM, Heidi Blake of Buzzfeed, and documentarian Ruaridh Arrow. Wonder if they’ll be dropping their 25% student discount, too…

How Remainers Stitched Up Gove’s Elderly Father

GOVE

Michael Gove was as emotional as you will ever see on Question Time as he responded to the Guardian story about his father. Privately the Goves are genuinely furious, and say the paper “rang up an elderly man who is very hard of hearing and has serious diabetes and twisted his words”. The Guardian story is headlined “Michael Gove’s father denies his company was destroyed by EU policies”. Yet this was the actual answer 79 year-old Ernest Gove gave to the journalist’s question:

“There’s nothing really to go back about anyway because it just was, when Europe went into fishing, the industry more or less collapsed down and I just packed in and got a job with another firm, you know. That was all that was happening.”

He didn’t contradict Gove Jnr, he completely confirmed him to be telling the truth.

As the journalist repeatedly tried to get Gove Snr to contradict Michael, Ernest explicitly said: “I’m not going against my son”. The Guardian claim “Michael Gove’s office neither denied or retracted or contested accuracy of Earnest Gove quotes”. Except they provided the reporter with a statement from Ernest Gove, again rubbishing the story:

“I don’t know what this reporter is going on about. Everybody in the north-east knows it was Europe that did such damage to the fish trade. The common fisheries policy was a disaster, not just for Aberdeen, but all of Scotland. There wasn’t any future for my business. It closed as a direct result of Europe.”

For avoidance of doubt, here is Ernest Gove on camera last week giving the BBC his view:

Despite Gove Snr clearly agreeing with his son – on camera, in the phone call with the reporter and in a statement provided prior to publication – the Guardian published the incorrect headline anyway. The article was held back until shortly before Gove Jnr’s appearance on Question Time for maximum damage. Remain spinners Will Straw and lyin’ Ryan Coetzee then piled in on Twitter, knowing it to be untrue. Pretty low even by the standards of political campaigning…

Guardian Editorial Condemns Rivals’ Tax Affairs

guardian

Today’s Guardian editorial says vote Remain because the newspapers backing Brexit are owned by tax avoiders. Yes, really.

“Questions also need to be asked about what lies behind the flag-waving certainties that are currently being served up by so much of Fleet Street. Imperfect as it may be, Europe-wide cooperation is the best hope we have on tax avoidance. And the typical tax-paying patriot may wonder whether they are on the same side on that question as the non-domiciled Lord Rothermere, who owns the Mail, or the Barclay Brothers, who own the Telegraph and have major interests in the Channel Islands and a Monaco address.”

“The typical tax-paying patriot?”

Readers don’t need reminding about the Guardian’s own offshore secrets, the assets held in the Caymans, the Scott Trust tax dodge. The lack of self-awareness is stunning…

Owen Jones’ Lexit U-Turn

Owen Jones Lexit

Owen Jones is a fully signed-up Remainer these days. He has joined John McDonnell’s Another Europe is Possible group in calling for a “radical In vote” and spent today lamenting polls putting Leave ahead. Yet only a year ago Owen was a self-proclaimed Lexiteer, making the left-wing case for Leave. As late as last July, OJ told us:

“The case for Lexit grows ever stronger, and – at the very least – more of us need to start dipping our toes in the water.” 

As for McDonnell, for whom a young Owen was once a bag-carrier, the conversion has been even more dramatic. This explicit call to Leave is from 2014:

Interesting that both Owen and McDonnell are ditching their long-held views on the EU. It’s not just Tories who are selling out to help their careers…

Rusbridger Out

Yesterday the Scott Trust, owners of the Guardian, met to discuss whether Alan Rusbridger would take over as chair as agreed two years ago. The Trust was split on whether this should still happen – current editor Kath Viner and GMG chief exec David Pemsel particularly opposed Rusbridger’s return amid staff outcry and swingeing cuts. Today Rusbridger has confirmed he is out. Coup successful…

Read his email in full:

Dear former colleagues

I wanted to let you know I will not be returning to Chair the Scott Trust later this year. Many of you will know what the Scott Trust has meant to me and for Guardian journalism. It is so unique that not many people – externally, or, sometimes, even internally – truly appreciate the crucial role it has had over many years in nurturing, resourcing and protecting what we do. When, in late 2014, the Scott Trust appointed me to succeed Liz as chair I was beyond honoured. But much has changed in the year since I stepped down. All newspapers – and many media organisations beyond – have been battered by turbulent and economic forces that were difficult to foresee last summer.

On my appointment to the Scott Trust job in November 2014 the Chair of GMG, Neil Berkett, was kind enough to say publicly : “Alan has set the standard for journalistic leadership in the digital age. His appointment to lead The Scott Trust coincides with rapidly rising readership, continued innovation and secure finances at the Guardian. His successor will inherit a global media organisation in very strong health and with clear prospects for further growth.” The difference between that assessment and the way things look now is a measure of how much the world has changed. I have been on the Trust long enough to understand its role.

We all currently do our journalism in the teeth of a force 12 digital hurricane. It is surely obvious to anyone that changed circumstances will demand dramatically changed solutions. Kath and David clearly believe they would like to plot a route into the future with a new chair and I understand their reasoning. I have a fantastically interesting new life in Oxford. I will miss you all. You have been the most wonderful colleagues and we achieved really amazing things together. I continue to read with immense admiration the journalism the Guardian and Observer produce. It’s all the more enjoyable for having played no part in it.

Thanks to all of you who have quietly emailed support in the past few weeks. And very best wishes to all as you negotiate the storms currently affecting pretty much everyone in our industry. We will come through….

Alan

Dave Gets His Daily Dose

Another happy reader – Dave shares with the House the news, as revealed by Guido, that the BBC, Mirror Group, and Guardian have all been using offshore investment funds. Sign up to the Guidogram here to get your daily dose too… 

Media Organisations Using Offshore Havens

cayman-papers-540

Guido is enjoying the squirming of the offshore elite as much as anyone – the Icelandic premier is a corker, the Putin case study is great, the Bollywood stars who make their millions from millions of poor Indians will find it hard to survive the reputational hit. All very enjoyable.

It is worth mentioning that most of the UK’s big media organisations shelter assets and cash flows offshore. Top of the hypocrites in this respect is The Guardian. They put their assets in the Caymans, and they used a Luxembourg tax shell designed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers to funnel cash flows beyond the reach of HMRC. They previously blamed the difficult economic environment for committing the sins for which they condemn others. This isn’t just hypocrisy, this is an insult to us all. The Guardian’s entire heritage is one of tax dodging, the original founding Scott Trust was itself a tax dodge. They have year after year avoided tens of millions of taxes…

Other media organisations using offshore entities include the Huffington Post – whose journalists criticised Amazon for doing the same. The owners of the Mail, News UK and The Telegraph also have various offshore tax-efficient structures. Facebook, Google and Guido are not UK-owned though in the latter groups’ cases they have at least never claimed to be in favour of clamping down on tax havens. Guido’s point is that the likes of the Guardian should practice what they preach, hold all their assets in the UK and pay all the taxes which will consequently arise.

Read more:

Seumas Milne Floored in Guardian Game of Chicken

Some Easter holiday reading: don’t miss WikiGuido’s profile of Seumas Milne in this month’s GQ. Read Milne’s extraordinary defence of a self-confessed KGB stooge, the inside story of the ‘revenge reshuffle’ and how he was floored in a game of chicken in the Guardian newsroom:

Former colleagues reveal how, despite his slight figure, Milne had a remarkable habit of refusing to give way in corridors. Over several years, his fellow journalists grew tired of his insistence that oncoming co-workers make way for him. Eventually, one snapped, telling his desk, “I’m not going to do it again. Next time he plays chicken with me, I’m not going to get out of the way.” The whole office waited for the inevitable confrontation. Soon enough, it happened. As Milne walked down a corridor, the six-foot colleague approached from the other direction. They smashed into each other, sending Milne flying, along with the papers he was carrying. “Seumas was in shock,” recalls an onlooker. “No one had ever done that to him before. He expected people to show deference to him. There was a horrible silence in the office. It was a moment that demonstrated how aloof he seemed from the rest of the working environment.”

Read the full profile here

Guardian Cutting 250 Jobs

Guardian Media Group chief executive David Pemsel emails staff:

Given that over half our current costs are people, we propose to reduce our UK headcount by around 250 people. While protecting journalism remains our priority, we anticipate the impact will be spread across all departments, including editorial. We hope to achieve the target reductions through voluntary redundancy. If we do not achieve the reductions we are targeting through voluntary means, we will consider whether voluntary redundancies are necessary. 

Around 100 editorial redundancies expected. Will Seumas Milne be one of them?

UPDATE: The Midland Goods Shed is also dead. 20% cuts across the board mean that crazy idea “new space for debate, culture and curiosity” is no more. Thankfully…

Nicholas Watt New Newsnight Political Editor

nicholas-watt-newsnight

Congratulations to Nick Watt, the telegenic Guardian chief political correspondent who has been appointed the new Newsnight political editor. A deserved escape route from Kings Place for pretty-boy Watt after he was snubbed for the pol-ed job there. Ian Katz hires yet another Guardian journalist. More as we get it…

Guido Gets Guardian Gong

The Guardian’s Ed Snowden coverage in 2014 led to a series of high-profile awards, notably a Pulitzer Prize and an Emmy. So what on earth was this gong doing on sale in a Richmond Oxfam?

Guido dispatched a roving reporter to find out…

Apparently an unidentified benefactor turned up at the Oxfam on Friday afternoon and handed the Pulitzer in. It was quickly snapped up for a fiver by a mysterious telephone bidder just before the store closed, though Guido managed to get his hands on the Guardian‘s Emmy for just £4.99.

emmy award guardian

The prizes were most likely wall hangings for senior journalist’s offices. Guido’s new intern has only been here a week and he’s already landed an Emmy…

Guardian’s 13,000 Unpaid Students

Earlier Guido pointed out the Guardian’s hypocrisy in criticising the Tab for using unpaid student writers, when they do the exact same thing. The Tab has asked the Guardian’s press office how many student writers they have on their ‘Blogging Students’ site. The response is sensational.

A Guardian News & Media spokesman said:

“Blogging Students is part of our established Guardian Students network with over 13,000 members. As active members of the community, students are invited to share their experiences through blogging. The guidelines about how to pitch work for Blogging Students outline that these blogs are not paid. Some of our best bloggers have been commissioned to write paid pieces.”

So the Guardian has a potential total of over 13,000 unpaid student bloggers. That is more than four times the number who wrote for the Tab last year. The most successful Guardian student bloggers get paid, as do the Tab’s, but most do not. Amusing that the Guardian would accuse the Tab of “exploitation” when they do the same thing with four times as many students…

Hypocrisy of Guardian Attack on Tab

The Guardian has executed a drive-by shooting on The Tab, the popular student news site which has successfully disrupted the old student media establishment. Headlined “The Tab picks up business without paying”, the hit piece accuses the site of “exploitation” because some student contributors are unpaid. The Guardian article’s pay-off line implies the Tab is “starting to look like” a “bullsh*t company who are trying to f*ck [young people] over”. Miaow!

Five days ago the Guardian updated its own “editorial experience” page for young writers. It “offers a limited number of short editorial experience opportunities throughout the year to those dedicated to a career in journalism”, and includes real work writing stories, “getting involved in editorial activities”. Applicants are told: “These placements at the Guardian and Observer are unpaid”.

The Guardian’s double standards are all the more bizarre since student contributors to the Tab do not expect to be paid. The Tab’s executive editor Joshi Herrmann cuttingly replies: “I think we’re one of the few media groups at the moment that’s employing people, not laying people off”. The Tab last night asked the Guardian’s press office how many unpaid interns they use a year. They have yet to receive a response…

UPDATE: Read the spectacular update on MediaGuido here.

Job Culls Coming at Indy, Guardian, Telegraph

indy

Evgeny Lebedev is expected to close the Indy and Sindy print editions as soon as tonight. Of the 150 full-time staff, just 20 or so look like they’ll moving over to the i paper. It will not be difficult for the owners to find voluntary redundancies. Many journalists at the Indy will be loathe to work for the much-derided, clickbait-obsessed online offering.

Meanwhile the Guardian is imposing 20% cuts, with staff warned in an email this morning that “As our staff costs are by far our biggest overhead, one outcome of the budgeting process may be that redundancies are proposed”. They are looking at 100 redundancies, and according to Beth Rigby they want to start with their “on leave” columnist Seumas Milne. He is in line for a £90,000 payout.

Media sources tell Guido that the Telegraph is set to announce a jobs cull next week. Print journalists there are furious at the dumbing down of content for their own ‘digital first’, Indy-style clickbait-based website. You will often find the exact same traffic-farming stories on the Telegraph site as you will on the Indy online. See the Telegraph’s “Man with two penises writes tell-all memoir” and the i100’s “The man with two penises has now written a tell-all memoir”. 

The FT have some killer numbers:

“Fleet Street’s large newsroom may be unsustainable. The Times had 454 editorial staff at last count, The Sun 525, the Daily Telegraph 662 and The Guardian, following expansion overseas, 925.”

Online-only is the only option. The question now is how proprietors and executives will reconcile the trend for traffic-driving churnalism to the pay the bills with actual, old-fashioned journalism in the digital age. The future of journalism is specialism, the most profitable online media operations have focus, that generates specific audience demographics that can be packaged for advertisers at premium prices.

Belam’s Back

BELAM-back

Martin Belam, possibly the most over-rated person on social media, is going back to the Guardian to continue wasting money on behalf of people who don’t really know what to do on the internet. He cratered over at Trinity Mirror, where the appeal of his Ampp3d / UsVsThem projects was lost on executives struggling to keep the media group viable. The Guardian itself reported “Trinity Mirror moved to close the sites last May, with the loss of almost 30 roles, citing high running costs for low volume of traffic”. Belam’s career is littered with supposedly innovative internet projects which are soon abandoned after having less appeal than cat GIFs. Read interviews with Belam over the years and he can sound a bit like fellow social media expert Siobhan:

The Guardian says “he is the perfect person to lead our new social strategy and team.” Belam says “It’s a fabulous opportunity to look at new ways of digital storytelling…” Guido can’t help wondering if any of these new ways of storytelling might include “making profits”?

Guardian Embraces Austerity

As we go to pixel, a major company meeting is taking place over at King’s Place where Guardian staff are being informed of 20% cuts to be imposed on their publisher, Guardian News & Media. The meeting had to be split into two parts – one at 11am, a second at 2pm – because the Guardian has so many members of staff. A neat illustration of the problem…

The key figures are:

  • Running costs cut by 20%, over £50 million
  • £52 million operating loss expected in year to the end of March
  • Operating costs reach £268 million, up 23% in the last five years
  • Cash and investment fund down £100 million on last year
  • Print advertising falls by 25%

Unbelievably the investment fund, which was supposed to finance The Guardian’s losses in perpetuity, lost 12% – down £100 million from £838 million to £735 million. Who is trading the fund, William Keegan?

GNM chief executive David Pemsel isn’t commenting on potential job losses. He told staff today: “It’s very easy to look back and say the Guardian has made mistakes”. Worth noting that Alan Rusbridger spent £4.5 billion during his tenure as editor…

Media Guardian Pulls “Disgraceful” Bowie Video

Media Guardian were not impressed with Channel 5 for showing Angie Bowie in tears on Big Brother, with editor Kath Viner tweeting that the footage was “disgraceful“. So disgraceful that the Guardian posted the clip in its entirety above their article.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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