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Medialens’s embarrassing archive (part 7) – betraying Monbiot November 15, 2008

Posted by dissident93 in Iraq mortality, Medialens.

In 2003 George Monbiot wrote privately to the editors of Medialens about his colleagues at the Guardian. The Medialens editors decided to broadcast this to the world (“In private, Monbiot has talked very differently of a cell of hardcore reactionaries on the Guardian…”). Monbiot wasn’t pleased, and responded:

Finally, you ask me “what is your view of the Guardian’s reporting on Iraq?” Last time I gave you my opinion on the Guardian’s coverage, I asked you to treat it in confidence. You betrayed that confidence. (George Monbiot, email to Medialens, October 14 2003)

Spanish Inquisition

The reply, in turn, from Medialens to Monbiot sounds almost comical in a Pythonesque way:

Your silence in response to our question about your views on the performance of the Guardian is remarkable. You say we betrayed your confidence. Even if true, that would hardly justify not speaking out honestly now on such an important issue. (Medialens alert, 28 October 2003)

A poster to the Medialens message board probably best summed up this embarrassing episode:

Monbiot spoke candidly in private with the Daves [Medialens editors Edwards & Cromwell] about his own working environment on the understanding that they would respect his confidence. But they ratted on him instead, paraphrasing his remarks about his employers on the internet, although there was no value whatsoever to publishing the source of remarks of that kind, except to their own attempt to batter him [Monbiot] into a recantation and the barely disguised slightly sadistic satisfaction of hurting him personally and claiming to be doing so for the public good. They had, they said, not only the moral right but the moral obligation to trick Monbiot in this low down dirty way, in disregard of the consequences to him, because clearly George Monbiot has no right to decide for himself what he wished to say in public – the editors, who are divinely inspired, will make those decisions for themselves and for everyone else… (Molly, Medialens message board, 3 February 2005)