The Guardian Wants to Be "the international liberal journalistic outlet"

British newspaper at center of reporting on American civil liberties scandal


press theoretically freer here
The Guardian

The Guardian is at the center of the NSA surveillance controversy, breaking the stories of the NSA's massive operations last week, courtesy of leaks from Edward Snowden. The British daily newspaper has been making inroads in the U.S. market since first opening an office in 2011, as USA Today reports:

"By setting up an office in the U.S. and doing the same in Australia recently it's quite clear what the ambition is," said Roy Greenslade, a professor of journalism at London's City University, who also regularly writes about the media for the Guardian. "It wants to become the international liberal journalistic outlet."

Greenslade said that the Guardian has an explicit mandate to ensure that it publishes as a "liberal organ" and that every editor of the Guardian — there have been four since World War II — has had an "avowedly liberal voice." It is written into the contract, he said. He said that the Guardian is one of the few newspapers to allow its staff to select its editor in chief, for example.

In Greenslade's view, the Snowden revelations ought to put the Guardian in line to be the first British newspaper to win a Pulitzer Prize. "No one likes to be beaten in their own backyard, and that is exactly what the Guardian has done," he said.

Perhaps feeling the heat, everyone's favorite "liberal rag" The New York Times released an editorial last week declaring President Obama had "now lost all credibility." The paper's discovery of a backbone was not long lived. That editorial was quietly edited within just a few hours to temper the criticism of a president whose government collects phone and Internet use data on millions and millions of Americans, because in 2013 liberalism seems to mean supporting the president. Will Americans increasingly have to look to reporting from overseas (and Reason, subscribe now!) for revelations about the civil liberties violations their government commits at home?

NEXT: Standard and Poor's Raises Credit Outlook For US Economy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. the Guardian has an explicit mandate to ensure that it publishes as a "liberal organ"

    Just a doggone minute!

    1. I see what you did there..

  2. "That op-ed was quietly edited within just a few hours to temper the criticism..."

    Compare that to Greenwald's high-profile, immediate, and clear corrections to every mistake (posted at the top of every applicable post) and you start to see the difference between real journalism and the sham "journalism" practiced at the New York Times.

    1. Uh...I remember a year ago or so they published a 'from space' photo of the earth showing how much ice had melted.

      It was a complete phoney. A computer generated illustration that they purported was a photo.

      An alternate spelling for liberal is l-i-a-r.

      1. Not all who are wrong are lying.

        1. Right, some are just retarded.

  3. How pathetic is it that a British paper broke such a huge US story? Amazingly the British papers left and right don't seem to be going broke. Meanwhile, the main US papers are going begging to lefty charitable foundations for money to stay operating. It almost makes you think that being a boring hack for one party or politician is bad for business or something.

    1. And I don't know about "don't like to be beaten in their own backyard." Since Obama was sworn in, there has been pattern of scandals or critical reporting emerging in UK rather than US papers. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a US paper (or other media outlet) knew about all the spying and sat on it.

      1. Isnt the LA Times sitting on some video of Obama in a circle jerk with some middle eastern terrorist types?

        That was from 2008? 2009? and as far as I know they have never released it.

        Water carriers will carry water.

        1. the LA times also sat on the John Edwards sex scandal and the Antony Villarosa sex scandal.

          1. Don't forget the Bill Clinton/empty Keystone XL pipe scandal.

      2. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a US paper (or other media outlet) knew about all the spying and sat on it.

        It would make sense for Snowden to have leaked to multiple news outlets (you wouldn't want to put all of your eggs in one basket, afterall) and the American news outlets decided to sit on it. Bad luck for them he also released the information to a British paper that still has some semblance of integrity.

        That, and given all the little snubs that Obama has done over the years (returning the Churchill bust, giving the queen an iPod full of his speeches, touching the queen, etc.) it wouldn't surprise me if the British press has taken a "fuck this clown" attitude towards him.

    2. But the Brits don't have a black president/emperor/king to felate. If they did, they'd totally go to being the king's stenographers.

    3. I think the Snowden case shows the huge value, to a news organization, of having a reputation for being a dogged government adversary who holds nothing back.

      It's not like the Guardian had to pound the pavement for this story. They employed Greenwald and let him write whatever he wanted. Snowden observed that Greenwald was there, and trusted him to actually print the stuff, and not just turn him in to Obama the way the NY Times or Washington Post would have. So Snowden picked up the phone and called THEM.

      1. Yeah. And it also shows that these kinds of stories sell papers. If you are in the NEWS BUSINESS, you need to be willing to print whatever kind of story sells. Stories that sell are hard to find. If you refuse to investigate one side, you make them doubly hard to find.

      2. Uh, You know Snowden gave an interview to WaPost, too, right?

        1. That was Mark Felt.

          1. Washington Post. It was linked in the reason post yesterday.

            1. You know Felt was a joke right?

              The Guardian was the first to publicly identify Snowden, at his request.

              The video on the WaPo page you linked to is the one with Greenwald.

              I don't see how this contradicts that Snowden went to Greenwald first because he didn't trust NYT or WaPo.

              1. You expect me to get a joke and RTFA? Its like stopping Bluto about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor, forget it, I'm rolling!

                1. We are all multi-taskers now.

                2. Iceberg, Steinberg, what's the difference?

    4. some of it may be that regardless of ideological tilt, the Brits remember that the newspaper business revolves around "news", not providing cover for favored pols and slamming those other bad guys.

      1. Some of it may be that the Brits are just more into takin' the piss, especially if it's the yanks or the frogs.

    5. I find non-US English language journalism to be a lot less deferential to powerful people than US media tends to be. Even the BBC or CBC tend to be a lot more aggressive in interviews than most American media. I rarely hear an American interviewer even try to follow up on a question that the interviewee gives a non-answer to in order to get a real answer.

  4. The nice thing about the UK is that political leanings are openly acknowledged (except for the BBC, of course, they are absolutely, 100% neutral). NYT and WaPA still go through the pretense of being totally neutral and fair-minded.

    1. Yeah, gotta love that about the UK press. You know what you're getting. Just like US papers used to be: the idea of objective press is BS. You look at a lot of the 19th century papers, and they printed their political stance at the top of the editorial page. I remember looking through some 19th century Kansas papers for a project I was working on and their declaration was something like "We are a progressive Republican paper."

      1. The blatant hypocrisy has surely contributed to the rot of the Fourth Estate.

  5. (and Reason, subscribe now!)

    A little late on the draw there Ed. Watch out or the Jacket will send you to the Welch school of self promotion.

    1. Maybe Ed should write a book. Just sayin'....

      1. I thought he ghost-wrote that book the MW and NG were shilling.

  6. criticism of a president whose government collects phone and Internet use data on millions and millions of Americans

    Oh, you mean George W. Bush, amirite? Cause all my libtard friends are now posting 2006 articles about the govt monitoring data about millions of phone calls.

    As I noted for one of them, "Oh, so we be should celebrating the anniversary???" I haz a confuse...


    1. I never realized how much liberals loved Bush until Obama got elected.

    2. I have fun with my libtard friends by pointing out that, of course Bush did this, but right after the inauguration, Obama is going to fix it. Like Guantanamo.

    3. Because we all know that if this had been revealed in a Romney administration, the left would simply say "Bush did it, too" and leave it at that, right?

      Trivia: Due to a famous typo, the Guardian is also known in the UK as the Grauniad.

  7. Off Topic: Chad Ochocinco craps the bed. What a loser.

    1. His name is Johnson again.

      And he already proved he was a loser many times over.

    2. I'll bet the Broward County Sheriff's jail team has already sheduled all 4 weekends for re-enacting "The Longest Yard".

  8. I have great respect for Glenn Greenwald and all of the work the Guardian puts into publishing the U.S. government's misdeeds, but I suspect that the Guardian is not nearly so critical of their own government, especially when the right Top Men are in power. Much like the U.S. press.

    1. That's part of what makes reading foreign press so rewarding. British political biases are oblique enough to American political biases that one can get a decent picture of what's going on by comparing US reporting and British reporting on something going on in the States. Canadian or German news reporting can serve the same function.

  9. The paper's discovery of a backbone was not long lived. That editorial was quietly edited within just a few hours to temper the criticism

    Heads rolled.

  10. The Guardian is horribly left wing. They published some of the most idiotic editorials around.

    1. And then they whipsawed The Most Transparent Administration Ever?

  11. And RT is miles ahead of CNN in real reporting.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.