Email to George Monbiot re Guardian and fair debate
By Joe Emersberger at Jul 21, 2011
UPDATE July 22, 2011: After deleting several comments posted by serveral users, the Guardian uncensored David Peterson's comment (on his his own article!) where he points to the replies rejected by the Guardian.
Outrageous behaviour by the UK Guardian as it hides from readers how it stifles fair debate - in this case shielding George Monbiot from devastating rebuttals of his June 14 article that called Edward Herman and David Peterson "genocide deniers". Monbiot also smeared Chomsky, Pilger and Medialens in the same article.
For some background see the following 2 blog posts of mine..
July 20, 2011
How do you feel about the following two comments being removed by the Guardian from the comments posted underneath Herman and Peterson's reply to you? You've posted on the Medialens message board in the past. Would you have objected to this kind of treatment if Medialens had dished it out to you? With great bravado you claimed to be "confronting" "genocide deniers". Why not confront your employer's actions - assuming you disapprove of course? I'll assume your silence signals approval of their policy.
My comment was disappeared:
The reason it took 5 weeks for a very terse rebuttal to Monbiot's article to appear in the Guardian is that previous responses were rejected by the Guardian editor Joseph Harker The following replies - archived on Znet - are the rejected responses.
1. Edward S. Herman: http://www.zcommunications.org/reply-to-george-monbiot-on-genocide-belittling-by-edward-herman
2. David Peterson: http://www.zcommunications.org/george-monbiot-and-the-anti-genocide-deniers-brigade-by-david-peterson
The Guardian insisted that Herman and Peterson limit a joint reply to about 500 words. Monbiot's article was 1000 words along. Given the seriousness of the charge - "genocide denial" and the fact that two topics were dealt with - Rwanda and Srebrenica - the Guardian's restrictions are impossible to defend. Would a 1000 word rebuttal have crashed its website?
Check out Peterson's Znet blog for more details and updates on the Guardian's odd "right to suitable reply" policy. You will be able to read a very detailed response to specific "objections" Harker riased about Herman and Peterson's rejected replies.
Then David Peterson's:
Friends: On or about June 17, both Edward S. Herman and I each separately began submitting responses to The Guardian, directed at countering false and misleading claims made by George Monbiot in his June 14 commentary.
Over the next several days, Herman and I tried different editors at The Guardian, including editors with responsibility for The Guardian's print edition as well as its online Comment Is Free edition. I also submitted my response to the editor of the Response column, as did Edward Herman.
From roughly June 21 through July 5, both of our draft-responses were under review by The Guardian's staff.
Then on July 5, the Response column editor Joseph Harker informed both Edward Herman and I that in their current draft forms, The Guardian couldn't use them. But, Harker added, if we'd revise and resubmit them jointly as one response, at a length below a maximum of 550 words, he would consider the revised draft.
This we managed to do, at the 550-word limit exactly -- and after some additional cuts by The Guardian, our single joint response was posted and published by The Guardian (July 19-20) -- though the title was chosen by the editor, note well.
However, on July 19, after The Guardian finally did post our response to its website, Edward Herman and I also posted copies of our original responses to each of our own webpages at ZNet in the States.
So as not to lose this work, I'm posting hyperlinks to each below:
Edward S. Herman: http://www.zcommunications.org/reply-to-george-monbiot-on-genocide-belittling-by-edward-herman
David Peterson: http://www.zcommunications.org/george-monbiot-and-the-anti-genocide-deniers-brigade-by-david-peterson