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The Guardian: climate change and dependence on advertising

 
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David C
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Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 234
Location: Southampton

Post Post subject: The Guardian: climate change and dependence on advertising Reply with quote

Email sent to The Guardian on 29 January, 2004:

Dear Sirs

A free press abjures censorship.

When I saw that there were no letters printed in your Letters Page on
January 9 in response to your article on the environment on 8 January - in
particular, none raising the apparent contradiction between concern for the
environment and a wedge of ads for cars and cheap flights - I must confess I
was surprise. Why? Because I know that Media Lens issued an alert to draw
the attention of its subscribers to the articles and it is common for
recipients of its alerts to write.

Why were none of the Media Lens-inspired letters published, or even referred
to? Has The Guardian adopted a two-tier approach to its readers - that it
will take notice of those who don't receive information from Media Lens, and
ignore those who do? Something about 'a number of letters have been received
on this topic' is a common newspaper letters page comment when a particular
issue has generated a response.

I do understand that any journal will receive letters from or prompted by
committed organisations, of whatever hue. But whether the stimulus comes
from the Tory Party, New Labour, the Countryside Alliance or the WI, they
still reflect a proportion of your readership and I'm surprised that they
aren't acknowledged.

We could be faced with a serious assault on freedom of the press, in the
wake of the travesty that is the Hutton Report. Any newspaper that would
seek to defend its right to free comment must have clean hands. Are you sure
that yours are as lily-white as they could be - and should be?

With best wishes
--
Ruari McCallion
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David Cromwell
co-editor
Media Lens
www.medialens.org
Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:17 am
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David C
site administrator


Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 234
Location: Southampton

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

On Wednesday, January 28, 2004, at 06:33 pm, Eddie D'Sa wrote:

Dear Editor,
The Guardian has acquired a worldwide reputation for its competent coverage of not just news but a range of subjects. This no doubt calls for a large workforce, including news reporters, section editors, columnists, assorted specialists. Vast resources are needed for salaries, travel expenses and God knows what. As there is no billionaire owner or parent profit-making corporation, the Guardian is crucially dependent on advertising revenue for support.
 
Among your advertisers are the environmental polluters (from the car & aviation industries) - these are big corporations which exist solely to make maximum profits; they pay scant attention to social or environmental impacts. On the other hand, the media are meant to be socially responsible and report events impartially. This is where the conflict arises. Since the Guardian is seemingly not prepared to forego the income from this lucrative source, it cannot risk  launching a frontal assault on the behaviour of polluting industries. So how does the Guardian resolve the ethical dilemma?
 
It pathetically advocates tepid conservation measures like taking fewer baths or planting trees.  People who know the real cause of global warming express their concerns in letters to your paper. But they are either ignored or, as Media Lens nicely puts it, "channelled into futile cul de sacs with corporate power free to pursue maximum profits". How can you treat your innocent readers so rudely?
 
More importantly, how long can your hypocritical concern about the environment go on? It is time to come clean and announce a new editorial policy on the environment.
Admit honestly that in view of your paper's dependence on advertising revenue
1) the polluters cannot be denounced,
2) you are therefore unable to offer an impartial coverage of environmental issues,
3) your paper cannot accept letters that are critical to the polluters.
 
That's being honest. People will appreciate that and won't bother to write again.
 
Eddie D'Sa, London
_________________
David Cromwell
co-editor
Media Lens
www.medialens.org
Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:51 am
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