Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Divine Right of Neo-Conservatives to Jump the Queue

The divine right of kings is long gone- but the divine right of neo-conservatives to jump the queue and have their voices heard above everyone else is still with us. Here's a very revealing insight from The Cat's Blog-on how they operate- and the disproportionate influence they have, even sadly it seems with the Guardian's Letters Editor.
The only way to beat these people is to play them at their own game. To monitor every single claim they make and challenge them to come up with the evidence. Don't let them put us off with their usual 'stop spamming me' brush-offs.
For the past ten years the propagandists for endless war have had far too easy a ride.

Subject: Problems with Oliver Kamm
http://www.thecatsdream.com/blog/2005/12/guardians-readers-editors-strange-idea.htm

The Cat's Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Guardian's Readers' Editor's strange idea of democracy

Dear Mr. Mayes,
Regarding your last piece, “Open door. The readers' editor on ... a complaint about a controversial correction” (Ian Mayes, The Guardian, Monday, December 12, 2005), there are a few questions I would like to ask. You write:
Throughout the entire period of my consideration of the complaint I, like Emma Brockes, was among the targets of an electronic lobby group, Media Lens, lobbying broadly in protest at the treatment of Prof Chomsky. Other targets included the editor of the Guardian.What you describe as “an electronic lobby group, Media Lens, lobbying broadly in protest at the treatment of Prof Chomsky” it seems to me an open community of citizens, exercising their rights to be fully participatory in a mature democracy, demanding a correct and honest information by the mass media. Since you disagree with me, how would you describe democracy?You write:
I did not engage with or respond to this lobby, whose members poured several hundred emails into the Guardian. I did not read more than a tiny sample of the emails directed at me. I consider organised lobbies in general to be in effect - whatever the rights or wrongs of their position - oppressive to put it mildly.Aren’t you the Readers’ Editor at the Guardian? Aren’t you the Organization of News Ombudsmen’s President? If you “did not engage with or respond to” the Guardian’s readers writing to their editor; if you “did not read more than a tiny sample of the emails directed” by the Guardian’s readers to their editor; if you consider your readers “oppressive to put it mildly” may I ask you what you consider to be your job? You write:
In the case of Media Lens, those who respond to their Media Alerts are asked to be polite. They do not all manage to follow that advice. I also consider that it is unreasonable to expect me to read the contents of any email bombardment while dealing with a complaint from the principal person involved.I can’t speak for others, but I think to have always been more than polite, every time I wrote to you. Still, I have never received any answer from you. Why? I hope you don’t consider being frank and voicing dissent a sign of impoliteness. About your second point here, with all the respect, I completely disagree with you. I do NOT consider “unreasonable to expect [you] to read the contents” of your readers’ emails. Again, isn’t this your job?You write:
The new complaint, which has prompted this column, is concerned with what Noam Chomsky, and Diana Johnstone, who was also referred to in the Chomsky interview and in the correction, do or do not believe with respect to the events at Srebrenica and to the description of the massacre itself. It comes in the form of a letter to me of about 4,500 words (an estimate) signed by three people: David Aaronovitch, Francis Wheen and Oliver Kamm. All three write for other publications. Oliver Kamm in addition runs a lively website.

So, let me understand here. You “did not engage with or respond to (...) several hundred emails”. You “did not read more than a tiny sample” of these emails. You “consider [these emails] to be in effect (...) oppressive to put it mildly”. But a letter written by three people “has prompted this column”. Does the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor apply a double standard to his readers?I hope you won’t find this email too “oppressive” and I look forward to reading the prompt reply from my editor.
Thank you.
Kind regards,
Gabriele Zamparini
PS I also “write for other publications” and “in addition [I run] a lively website”.
posted by The Cat's Dream at 1:11 PM

7 comments:

RobBBB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RobBBB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

There's no smear at all. The post is there just to show how neo-conservatives exert pressure on editors- and sadly how successful they are most of the time.

RobBBB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

It's hard to please some people! When I post a 'terrific' piece by Seumas Milne or someone else from the Guardian, I'm accused of being a 'creep'. Yet when I do post someone else's criticism of the complaints policy of the Guardian- I'm accused of being unwise.....

1defender said...

What nonsense! It is the editor's job to present a balanced view. He is paid to read the letters. He should show this balance in the selection of letters for and against. Just because three people with clout and the ear and eye of the editor write in, is no reason to take their viewpoint and ram it down our throats.Everyone keeps telling us that this is democracy. Let's see some of it!

RobBBB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.