Glass houses v stones.

by Pseud O'Nym

A long time ago, when I was at school, the only newspaper allowed in library was “The Guardian”. I never saw anything else, noting else was permitted within its confines and as I think about it now, no-one ever questioned why this was the case, which was in essence censorship. Of opinions that our teachers objected to and to which we therefore never to pollute our fragile minds. Every other newspaper had an owner and were therefore, we were told, subject to following the owners political or business agenda. “The Guardian” was different, because it was owned by the Scott Trust. I’m sure the explanation given as to how this was a surer guarantee of of journalistic freedom must’ve made sense to me at the time, but like most of the maths and all of the classical history they tried to cram into my head, I promptly forgot it.

Still, the irony of a supposedly liberal paper being spared the fate of all the others by an unelected oligarchy only dawned on me years later. The point I’m trying to make is that for years after I left school, I believed that “The Guardian” was what I was always been told it was, a fair minded paper, full of impartial quality journalism and well, the best of a bad lot.

Perhaps the many ways that “The Guardian’ has changed out of all recognition from those more innocent times is why I feel such a sense of disappointment. Yes, things change and I hope that some of my views and beliefs have changed since then, in the same way that the newspaper industry has changed and the values of the society in which it operates have. But the changes “The Guardian” has undergone in the type of stories it covers – and therefore by extension the ones it doesn’t cover – seems to have been increasingly driven by its readerships values, not editorial ones. And given that most people now access “The Guardian” online, and because there is so much competition online, it has aggressively pursued pandering to those people.

Quality has been abandoned, replaced by clickbait journalism. Mind you, “The Guardian” of my schooldays would question exactly whose idea of ‘quality’ it was, and why they were so keen to preserve it. It would do the same now, but it would not only also tell you who they were and why they wanted to preserve it, but they would run endless opinion pieces banging on about how outmoded such notions were.

But in the same way that polite disagreement of differing views to one’s own, a basic acceptance of the fact that were some truths which were both fundamental and inconvertible and the frankly absurd notion that feelings were just that, feelings and that sometimes, they got hurt, those days have long since gone. I’ve had cause many times to reflect on this over recent years, mainly when “The Guardian” has chosen to frame an issue or to take a stance on a story which is so painfully right-on, that you wonder who on earth could possibly agree with it?

Well, if some of the revelations that emerged following the resignation of Guardian Media Groups former C.E.O, Annette Thomas are to be believed, more than 900,000 people do. Enough to pay £5 a month to be told how everything is the fault of someone else, and chief amongst those someones was Boris’s Johnson. But not enough to be told that despite leaving the job after only 15 months, she was given a £795,000 one off payment when she left and that was on top of her £630,000 salary. That’s nearly £1.5 million or to put it another way, what she got for every one of her 15 months, a senior teacher nearly 4 years to earn.

But not to be outdone, the editor-in-chief of “The Guardian”, Kath Viner was rewarded earlier this year with a pay rise of 42% – £150,000 -taking her annual salary to just over £500,000. It’d take a nurse a newly qualified nurse more than 18 years to earn that.

Yes, that would be the same editor-in-chief, who is seemingly at ease with her newspaper regularly running stories bemoaning what it considered what she considers to be derisory pay offers to public sector workers.

These pay deals are but small fry when compared to of the eye watering large salaries and renumeration packages other C.E.O’s are given, yet still for a newspaper that never passes up an opportunity to criticise’s what it deems excessive pay for some while lambasting below inflation pay rises to others, the word hypocritical leaps to mind. But what else did we expect? This, let us not forget, is a newspaper that saw no contraidiction whatsoever for supporting the idea of a second referendum, because the result that the first one produced wasn’t the one they wanted. The newspaper that claims to be ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’. Being liberal isn’t the same thing as being democratic, it seems, but it is about doing exactly what you denounce others for doing.