I do this more in sorrow than anger, although it is true that the recent trend since the election of Jeremy Corbyn and the appointment of new editor Katharine Viner has been abruptly and overtly to the right. But this move has been on my mind since The Guardian decided to throw its weight behind the Liberal Democrats in 2010. “The liberal moment has come” it said. “If the Guardian had a vote, it would be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats.”
What came of course was the Liberal Democrat collusion with the Tories.
Don’t misunderstand me. I can cope with the odd right-wing diatribe most mornings, even when it is compounded by my other constant companion, the BBC’s Today programme, which is also presenting a political agenda that plays into the hands of the egregious Osborne and his friends. I can even cope with Nick Cohen on Sundays, although that is slightly more problematic: I might as well read Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times for all the insights I glean from Cohen and Clarkson would probably be better for my blood pressure.
I am not looking for my newspaper to write stuff with which I agree wholeheartedly.
But I am looking for balance. Which I am not getting from the new regime at The Guardian and am not getting under the aegis of James Harding at the BBC.
The problem, of my own making, is where do I turn? As a news junkie, I need regular fixes, so this self-imposed form of asceticism is already causing the odd flutter of apprehension, prompting me to scour the net in search of other sources of information and opinion.
I have discovered Off-Guardian, founded by regular contributors to The Guardian’s Comment Is Free site; or rather, ex-contributors, because they were being regularly culled from the site for expressing views which ran contrary to the new regime’s agenda. The problem is, in its determination to oppose current Guardian thinking, it moves too far the other way.
I have discovered Slate and the Huffington Post, which appear to have minimal editorial control over contributions and, by reading voraciously and widely, one can achieve a kind of balance.
And I have discovered Democracy Now!, a ‘progressive’, non-profit organisation which sits roughly where The Guardian when I was young and which has similar priorities and writers of the calibre of Sy Hersh.
If you wish to be better informed about the issues which receive either no coverage at all or, at best, loaded coverage in the mainstream media, I commend it to you.
Meanwhile, a merry Christmas and happy new year (a Jerry Christmas and a happy Bob Weir) to all my readers. And, indeed, to readers of all media of all persuasions.
Today from the everysmith vaults: My annual playing of Bob’s Christmas in the Heart has still not taken place as I enjoy a festival of Chris Forsyth with and without the Solar Motel Band. His stuff is cerebral and coruscating, passionate and profound. Awesome.