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March 24 2010


March 22 2010


Guardian publishes correction… before the readers write in

A curious correction in the Guardian on Saturday: for “inappropriate language” in its Guide magazine, published in the same newspaper. It would seem that someone spotted the potential fall-out, in time for a correction in the main section but not in time to amend the Guide.

So the Guardian has in fact apologised for something before the complaints came in and my Googling would suggest there’s has been little to no online comment (correct me if I’ve missed a forum thread etc.).

The correction (Saturday 20 March):

Apology: In today’s edition of the Guide there are two instances of inappropriate language. The headline for a film article on page 17, and the section in Charlie Brooker’s column, page 52, which begins “Take Jews” were intended to be satirical but should not have appeared in the Guardian. Brooker says that he is “aghast at the prospect of my satiric intent not being clear, or my choice of words causing genuine upset”. These elements will not appear on the website versions of these articles and we apologise for any offence their inclusion in the Guide has caused.

As outlined above, the amendments were made for the online versions. In the headline case: “Hollywood might be run by Jews, sinners and Scientologists these days, but the Catholics once called the shots” became “Hollywood might be run by Scientologists these days, but the Catholics once called the shots” for the online edition.

In the other incident, Brooker’s Jewish analogy in his piece about MTV show Jersey Shore does not appear in the online version. Brooker criticised the programme for its ethnic stereotypes of Italian Americans and re-wrote its structure with examples of  Jewish sterotypes, to explain how in another context a Jersey Shore format could be “altogether more incendiary”.

Brooker says it was satire, but it was of a kind that was later considered inappropriate by the Guardian editors. Who was right? Should the Guardian have pulled the extract?

Writing on LiveJournal, AlexS, thinks the correction was wrong:

Properly placed in the piece, this thought experiment is clearly intended to demonstrate just what a grubby little exercise Jersey Shore is. Anyone reading it in that context and failing to understand that it is satire rather than anti-Semitism is too stupid for their opinion to be worthy of consideration. But the ‘Corrections and Clarifications’ column says that while the piece was “intended to be satirical”, it “should not have appeared in the Guardian, before dragging Brooker himself on for a little Maoist self-criticism session. The Guardian: officially the paper for people too retarded or permanently offended to recognise satire.

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February 01 2010


Heather Brooke on how British journalists avoid accountability by not naming sources

British journalism was under attack from two fronts this week. Satoshi Kanazawa, evolutionary psychologist at the London school of Economics accused the UK press of making things up. And on Charlie Brooker’s satirical TV show Newswipe Heather Brooke, investigative journalist and freedom of information campaigner, lambasts UK journalists for not always attributing official sources and therefore avoiding accountability. [Update: watch the video and read Brooke's comment to understand the difference between protecting confidential sources and not naming official spokespeople...]

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January 28 2010

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