19January2019

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Limits Of Dissent - Glenn Greenwald And The Guardian

When we think of prisons, we tend to think of Alcatraz, Bang Kwang and Belmarsh with their guard towers, iron bars and concrete. But in his forthcoming book, '33 Myths of the System', Darren Allen invites us to imagine a prison with walls made entirely of vacuous guff:

'Censorship is unnecessary in a system in which everyone can speak, but only those guaranteed not to say anything worth listening to can be heard.'

Is this true? For example, how easy is it to encounter genuinely uncompromised analysis locating the Guardian within a propaganda system designed to filter news, views and voices to serve powerful interests?

It is a key issue because the Guardian is the best 'centre-left' newspaper we have. If The Times and Telegraph define the limits of thinkable thought on the 'mainstream' right, then the Guardian does the same at the other end of the 'spectrum'. In other words, the Guardian defines corporate media limits in accepting left views and voices. If it's not in the Guardian, it's not going to be anywhere else in the 'mainstream'.

Are the Guardian's famous in-house dissidents willing and able to address this crucial issue? How about leftist firebrand Owen Jones? In November 2017, Jones lamented on Twitter:

'I'm barred from criticising colleagues in my column. Weirdly this doesn't seem to work the other way round.'

Jones can tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the corporate media, as long as he doesn't dish the dirt on his employer. Ironies inevitably abound. Last April, Jones commented:

'The main thing I've learned from working in the British media is that much of it is a cult. Afflicted by a suffocating groupthink, intolerant of critics, hounds internal dissenters, full of people who made it because of connections and/or personal background rather than merit.'

Even as Jones was speaking out on this 'suffocating groupthink', his comment was being suffocated by his obligation to spare his colleagues' blushes.

In December 2014, former Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook challenged George Monbiot:

'@GeorgeMonbiot Guardian, your employer, is precisely part of media problem. Why this argument [on the need for structural reform] is far from waste of energy. It's vital.'

Monbiot brazenly stonewalled:

'@Jonathan_K_Cook that's your view. I don't share it. Most of my work exposing corporate power has been through or with the Guardian.'

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