Media Watch 21 August 2012
Because Treviño’s brand of extremism, hatred and incitement is “ascendant,” an editor claimed, the Guardian is somehow obligated to give it a platform.
At the same time, The Guardian continues to refuse to correct Treviño’s blatant lie that he never made such statements, despite a growing mountain of uncontradicted evidence to the contrary.
In this post I take you through Treviño’s shocking incitement to murder and how he lied about it in The Guardian and provide you with information if you want to write to the editors.
The Guardian: a platform for extremism?
On 20 August, the Guardian published Treviño’s first branded column about the debate over Medicare in the United States. However, almost two hundred reader comments to date focused almost entirely on Treviño’s history of racist and violent statements.
Today, Matt Wells, The Guardian’s New York-based blogs editor, made the following statement in the comments section of Treviño’s 20 August article:
I completely understand the strong reaction against Josh [Treviño]. Much of what he has said in the past on Twitter and elsewhere is tasteless, to say the very least. But we have taken Josh on to write about the Republican side of the US presidential campaign because he represents a strand of thinking in the GOP that is in the ascendancy. Whatever we think about it, the Republican party has taken a significant lurch to the right in recent years and we should try and understand why that is, and what’s going on there. Josh is well placed to articulate that.
Who else deserves a column?
This is utterly bizarre reasoning. It is also true that extreme Islamophobia of the kind that inspired mass killer Anders Breivik “is in the ascendancy” in many parts of Europe. Indeed, many of Treviño’s columns have appeared in the virulently Islamophobic Brussels Journal.
Does this require the Guardian to provide Pamela Geller or Geert Wilders with columns and to arrange media bookings for them in the name of helping us to “understand” their views? What about David Duke? If his brand of racism and anti-Semitism finds itself “in the ascendancy” can we expect to find Mr. Duke joining the team too?
For many years it was thought Osama Bin Laden style jihadism was “in the ascendancy” in many countries. I don’t recall the Guardian offering a branded column and a media-booking service to any members of Al-Qaida.
Surely when extremism of any kind is “in the ascendancy” you report about it using people who are genuinely knowledgeable, rather than providing its proponents a privileged platform and a media booking service.
Has The Guardian noticed that Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian extremism are central to US electoral debates and campaigns? Thus writing about “the Republican side of the US presidential campaign” is not separate from these issues and Treviño’s hateful and violent views are not irrelevant to them.
Notwithstanding his violent hate speech, the claim that Treviño has something valuable to offer is not particularly convincing. He is a marginal figure with little influence or following. He has never been part on any significant conservative or right-wing platform – except for the website he co-founded – in the United States.
His known experience as a political consultant was primarily to work for the campaign of Chuck DeVore, a right-wing California state assemblyman who came third in his 2010 bid for the Republican nomination for a US Senate seat from California.
Treviño has not disclosed all his consulting clients – a major problem for someone who is supposed to be helping readers understand as Wells claims, and a possible violation of the Guardian’s editorial code related to conflicts of interest.
And while he’s sometimes described as a “Bush speechwriter,” according to his own Linkedin profile, Treviño was a speechwriter for the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, not for the president. He was hardly at the center of anything.
There are many more informed and influential conservative commentators in the United States who at least come without Treviño’s history of violent hate speech.
Refusing to correct a lie
As I detailed in a post yesterday, The Guardian has ignored requests to issue a correction to a blatantly false statement Treviño made in a “clarification” the Guardian published on 16 August after the initial outcry over a June 2011 tweet in which he wrote:
Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.
In his “clarification,” Treviño claimed:
any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.
However, this is simply a lie, and one that Guardian editors have continued to spread in Treviño’s defense. There are numerous examples of tweets by Treviño in which “applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings.” Here are a few:
Incitement to murder and hate speech
- On 3 June 2010 in reference to 19-year-old American Furkan Doğan, killed execution-style aboard the Mavi Marmara, Treviño wrote, “Make no mistake: in choosing to aid Hamas on the #flotilla, Furkan Dogan raised his hand against his country. His fate was deserved.”
- On 3 June 2010, Treviño tweeted, “There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them: http://bit.ly/abfbLl #flotilla.”
- On 1 June 2010, the day after Israeli forces murdered 9 unarmed civilians aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters, Treviño tweeted, “Only way the #flotilla story gets better is if it’s revealed the IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead.”
- On 2 June 2010, Treviño tweeted, “After examining the facts on #flotilla, I condemn Israel: for being too nice, too soft, too accommodating to the scum of the earth.”
- On 31 May 2011, exactly a year to the day after the killings aboard the Mavi Marmara, Treviño tweeted, “Today is the one-year anniversary of the Gaza flotilla, on which I salute the IDF for doing the right thing, the right way.” You can find many more examples at Topsy.
Write to The Guardian and demand correction of Treviño’s falsehoods
The Guardian’s editors have so far been unresponsive to requests that they correct the blatant falsehood in Joshua Treviño’s “clarification,” detailed above, that he never “applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings.”
Here are the people to write to should you wish to add your voice:
- Alan Rusbridger, Editor in Chief: [email address removed]
- Janine Gibson, Editor in Chief Guardian US: [email address removed]
- Matt Seaton, Editor Comment is Free US: [email address removed]
- Ombudsman Chris Elliott: [email address removed]
Feel free to send a copy of your letter to me at: [email address removed]
Note: Guardian email addresses are public information.
- August 23: Listen: Ali Abunimah on FAIR’s Counterspin about the Guardian and Joshua Treviño
- August 22: How The Guardian’s Joshua Treviño injected anti-Muslim hate into 2010 California senate race
- August 20: American student shot dead by Israel “deserved” to die says Guardian’s Joshua Treviño
- August 19: Guardian’s Treviño: Only way Mavi Marmara killings could be “better” is if “IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead”
- August 18: The dishonesty deepens: Guardian demotes Joshua Treviño but hopes we won’t notice
- August 18: “What’s gone wrong at The Guardian?” (Al Jazeera)
- August 15: New Guardian team member openly incited Israel to murder Alice Walker and others
Off topic posts
Permalink James replied on
"On 20 August, the Guardian published Treviño’s first branded column about the debate over Medicare in the United States. However, almost two hundred reader comments to date focused almost entirely on Treviño’s history of racist and violent statements."
So that was almost 200 off topic comments. How many were deleted according to the Guardians's own rules? not very many. Wouldn't it be a more fair, and intellectual discussion to have people respond to the actual topic rather than dis the OP's past opinions?
Trevino IS the 'actual topic'
Permalink Christina replied on
Trevino IS the 'actual topic'.
And the fact that The Guardian has chosen to appoint an unapologetic bigot and advocate of murder is of considerably more interest to most Guardian readers than a mundane article about domestic US politics.
On the contrary, Trevino's
Permalink James Arnold replied on
On the contrary, Trevino's statements quoted by Abunimah and others were made very recently, not in the "past". His record is significant, not only because it speaks to Trevino's (lack of) trustworthiness and basic integrity (important qualities for a journalist to possess), but also because the Guardian have given him a platform to lie about his recent statements; lies which a member of the editorial team then sought to defend. To talk about violations of the Guardian's "own rules" is rich, given that it is also supposedly a principle of theirs to correct falsehoods, and that no correction of Trevino's lie is forthcoming!
Permalink refaat replied on
I will unfollow the Guardian & unlike its FB page and will try not to check its website in reaction to appointing a bigot and lying about it
All Guardian Folks Now on Vacation??????
Permalink Linda J replied on
Email response says they are away or on vacation. Guess I'd leave if I were them too.
I doubt it.
Permalink Ali Abunimah replied on
There’s ever reason to believe they are reading their emails about this, vacation or not.
Permalink Sarata replied on
Myself & many people I know we're once fans of your newspaper.
We won't be purchasing or viewing anymore & will be making considerable efforts to educate others why they shouldn't either.
Permalink Kubis replied on
This is good work by Ali Abunimah on Josh Trevino. He has exposed the frauds at Guardian who masquerade as Liberals and who peddle nothing but disinformation on so many matters.
But I won't be writing to Guardian editors to to protest Trevino's hiring, as Abunimah advocates. If anything, I have no problem with this hiring. I want my enemies to sink lower and lower and lose all credibility in the process.
I prefer Guradian without any credibility among leftists to Guardian with lots of credibility among leftists as is now the case.
Guardian has unjustifiable credibility among international lefties as a progressive ,liberal minded media outlet. But their fame is undeserved. They open their pages and website to some mild (or sometimes not so mild ) leftist voice on some matter and then carpet bomb their audience with elite propaganda.
They have supported Blair, even after his war crimes in Iraq, They have undermined the importance of climate change by publishing corporate advertisements by Fossil fuel companies and not contradicting them. They have smeared people like Edward Herman as genocide denier. They have played a despicable role in destroying Assange and Wikileaks. They also played a dishonorable role in Yugoslav wars.
I recommend to read Media advocacy group Medialens' writings who keep tab on Guardian. Instead of answering their objections , Guardian columnist Monbiot attacked them as apologists of genocidaires and ethnic cleansers.
Guardian's contributors list
Permalink eGuard replied on
Trevino has published his first "political commentator" piece on August 20.
Still he is not mentioned in the Comment US-edition header, while his fellow new guardian Glenn Greenwald is.
Joshua Trevino is also not mentioned in the "Contributors" list. His position will be right above Desmond Tutu.
Joshua Trevino during the attack on Gaza
Permalink eGuard replied on
JT last week: "... that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record."
"Playing to Win in Gaza"
By Joshua Trevino, January 9, 2009
[...] For all the vitriol the Jewish state receives every time it attacks those who attack it — be it […] the United Nations () harrumphing about the sanctity of its property —
[…] For all the grief and horror at the deaths of “civilians” in Gaza (and the word must be in quotes, not because there are none, but because apart from the young they are so tremendously difficult to definitively identify), the cold fact is that the IDF has done an admirable [sic] job of safeguarding the lives of the Gazan population. If, after nearly two weeks of modern war, only a few hundred out of just under 1.5 million, in a region with an average density of over ten thousand persons per square mile, are dead — and if the number of dead includes combatants — this is nothing short of extraordinary [sic].
[Note: Already January 5, reports (and IDF denials) were published that white phosphorus was used. At the time of JT writing, approx 700 Palestinians were killed; the number would double].
[…] The careful restraint [sic] of Israel at war is not a regrettable thing, except in the realm of amoral power politics: indeed, it is a signal reason we of the non-Jewish, non-Israeli world ought to prefer Israel to its neighbors in sentiment and policy.
 JT links to NYT (6 January 2009) “Israeli Shells Kill 40 at Gaza U.N. School”
The Guardian is deliberately
Permalink Raimo Kangasniemi replied on
The Guardian is deliberately changing it's political stance and moving towards the right from the centre. It's also trying to get in to the USA market, get visibility there. Last autumn it made this announcement - basically that criticism of Israel is antisemitism - and stopped publishing for months pieces that were critical of Israel in it's Comment is Free -section: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm...
Trevinõ is just a logical step in this process.
Official Zionism has no bottom
Permalink Anthony Shaker replied on
Unfortunately, there is simply no bottom to official Zionist Anglo-American insanity. I value the idea of "ecosystem" as much as the next guy regarding public debate, which Ali Abu Salima clearly upholds. I wholeheartedly agree with how he formulates the accepted context of genuine debate.
Lately, though, the Zionist cancer has been spreading too wildly in Western countries. Decision time is fast approaching us as a society. Are we going to continue like children in our little self-serving fantasy right here? We are on the eve of a vast regional conflagration, with incalculable global consequences. Alarmingly, the sparks have already made their way to the nuclearized Far East. Should fire catch there, thanks to the US addiction to endless superpower rivalry, the last two world wars will look like a fond dream. Zbigniew Brzezinski, as tainted by the Trilateral cabal of the rich and powerful as he may be, has commented a bit on this grave possibility.
That aside, and for the little time that remains, BDS is an effective--I would say fair, even merciful--way to handle a brainwashed Israeli public and to defuse Westerners' fears and indecisiveness. That anyone should consider it "distressing," as some Jewish community leaders are now complaining, shows the moral and material bankruptcy of the West's Zionist project. What other alternative is there? Putting bombs everywhere? That's like feeding the beast, in which al-Qaeda has excelled as a proxy force for the West so far. Their ideology, traceable to the Wahhabis of the 1920s and all the Muhammad Abdus that ever lived in the Middle East, is centered on the mass murder of Muslims.
The panic is on. It shows panoramically in the West's interference in Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan...Our fears and focus should now be on the ill-advised but determined effort of the Anglo-American Axis to undo (in some cases, demolish) every competition.
Wake up, Children!
Permalink Linda J replied on
"Are we going to continue like children in our little self-serving fantasy right here?" from Anthony Shaker, above.
I am reading Jonathan Cook's book "ISRAEL AND THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS." I had the same thought as Mr. Shaker upon reading Cook's enlightening explanation of the long-term planning Israel has put into developing (with U.S. help) its mini-empire. In reality, the crux is still of course the effort to cleanse the Palestinians, but a by-product of this effort is control of the whole Arab world. How childish Western popular political discourse is! Bad Palestinians vs. good Israelis!
Permalink Anthony Shaker replied on
It's getting late, Linda! What you and I are now thinking has been thought before, but today's mindset is forgetful, unthinking, and infantile (or senile?). We are sleepwalking into WWIII! It's also late because we have entered a dangerous period of world conflict, at the heart of which lies the question few still have a stomach for--the Israel Question.
What is the world going to do with the State of Israel, not the Palestinians or Palestine. Israel remains a borderless entity without a recognizable capital, a predatory "state" masquerading as the home of a "returning" population, which of course has no demonstrible links to Palestine--whether historical, cutlural, genetic, spiritual or even religious.
The only link "Israel" has to something called Palestine is in the overactive imagination of Europe's many dilettantes and pseudo-intellectuals. All on paper. The Torah (and its Old Testament version) is not a hitorical document, but a collection of tribal tales (much of it pilfered from other peoples' stores of legends), vengeance prayers, blood-curdling threats and acted-out threats against lesser races. Yet these are the very tales Israeli schools and Jewish schools around the world use to inculcate new generations in race pride and race hatred. To them, the "book of God" promised Palestine to the "Jews" (although no Jews even existed at the time).
This is an archaic form of religion that has no place in the modern world. We must own up to this fact and end the teaching our kids any aspect of this Zionist fraud.
The very concept of a "Jewish Israel" on foreign soil reveals only the rot of Western tribalism and the ongoing disintegration of the Middle East. The West is now relying on a modern phenomenon we like to call Islamic fundamentalism, a sibling of Zionism (minus the racial doctrine), to recreate the Muslim world in its own image.
And we can admire all the wonderful results of that policy in Syria and North Africa!