Has the Guardian backtracked on Josh Trevino?


The Guardian’s August 15th announcement of Joshua Trevino’s joining its US politics team provoked a rather tedious, if predictable, rash of faux outrage (considering that Trevino has been writing for the paper since February 2011) from several of the internet’s prime anti-Israel campaigners. 

One of the first out of the blocks was every ‘one-stater’ racist’s favourite; Ali Abunimah – who took to the pages of the non-democratic, human-rights-abusing Qatari regime’s pet media outlet Al Jazeera, as well as his own electronic Intifada site, to protest Trevino’s new post. 

Not far behind was MJ Rosenberg, with other eccentrics such as Tony Greenstein, Richard Silverstein and ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’ (JfJfP) quickly jumping on the band-wagon. 

The main gripe of all of the above is the now famous flotilla-related Tweet by Trevino in June 2011 – one hundred and six characters which, according to Abunimah & co. represent “incitement to murder”.

Whilst one may certainly be able accommodate the notion (given his track record) that Richard Silverstein would believe that the IDF devises policy based on unsolicited advice from Twitter pundits, clearly anyone aspiring to be perceived as a serious commentator on the Middle East would not be making much of the issue if he did not have a much bigger axe to grind. 

Of course none of the above holier than thou ‘anti-racists’ ever put finger to keyboard when the Guardian provided column space for Azzam Tamimi – a man who really does support the indiscriminate murder of civilians by suicide bombing. Neither have any of the above seen fit to object to the fact that the Guardian has repeatedly published articles by senior members of Hamas – who, whilst their social media skills may be lacking, actually do engage in mass murder. 

The only reasonable conclusion, therefore, is that the objection of Abunimah and friends to Trevino’s appointment at the Guardian is in fact a product of their anti-Zionism – which of course so often goes hand in hand with selective anti-racism and curious definitions of ‘free speech’ – and their in-built knee-jerk antipathy to anyone perceived as ‘pro-Israel’.  

So what has been the Guardian’s reaction to this minor squall in a tea-cup cooked up by known (and in some cases, professional) anti-Israel campaigners? Well, if Ali Abunimah is to be believed, it seems that they may have succumbed to pressures from those who wish it to remain an unchallenged, homogenous, echo-chamber of anti-Zionism. 

According to an August 18th post by Abunimah, the Guardian has now downgraded Trevino from member of their editorial team to member of its commentary team.   

“If you look at the Guardian’s 15 August press release as it appears now it begins:

Today the Guardian announced the addition of Josh Treviño to its commentary team in the United States. Formerly of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Treviño will be the newest commentator for the Guardian’s growing US politics team through his column On Politics & Persuasion which launches on Monday 20 August.

But that is not what it said on 15 August, when I quoted it. Here is how it began then (emphasis added):

Today the Guardian announced the addition of Josh Treviño to their editorial team. Formerly of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Treviño will be the newest Correspondent for the Guardian’s growing US politics team through his column “On Politics & Persuasion” which launches on Monday, August 20.

Note the disappearance of the terms “editorial team” and “correspondent.” The Guardian also changed the headline from “The Guardian adds Josh Treviño to growing editorial team” to “The Guardian adds Josh Treviño to growing US team.” “

If correct, Abunimah’s claim has interesting implications. Trevino was appointed, according to Matt Seaton, to write about US domestic politics – not the Middle East. His opinions on Israel should, therefore, have nothing to do with his ability to do the job to which he was hired.

Despite that, it now seems that the Guardian may be susceptible to pressures from what it apparently perceives as being opinion-shapers among a large enough portion of its readership to matter. In other words, the Guardian apparently considers it prudent to appease some punters of particular ideological bent – even at the expense of diversity of opinion and expertise on its pages. 

The test of that theory, of course, would be to see what happened if four or five bloggers wrote articles protesting the Guardian’s also recent addition of author and anti-Zionist blogger Glenn Greenwald to its stable of writers. 

My money would be on a response resembling a collective yawn from Guardian HQ – perhaps accompanied by some anodyne statement about ‘representation of a diversity of views’  – just as protestations regarding the repeated provision of a platform for terrorists and their supporters have been greeted in the past. 

The bottom line of the as yet still cloudy ‘affair Trevino’ certainly seems to going in the direction of confirming that as far as the Guardian is concerned, whilst all opinions are equal, some opinions are more equal than others. 

 

 

16 comments on “Has the Guardian backtracked on Josh Trevino?

  1. Personally I loved Trevino’s tweet that he’d be cool if the IDF shot any Americans participating in the Gaza flotilla.

    Those who aid our sworn enemies like Hamas deserve our contempt. Collaborators have always been regarded as the lowest of the low.

  2. You see, here, I disagree with you.(About the wisdom of ever hiring Tervino, to begin with)
    I noted on Harry’s Place that there’s something very specious about the invitation of both Greenwald, and Trevino, at the same time.
    What exactly could Trevino advance, that the Guardian readership will stomach?(He, Trevino, is a founder of “Redstate.com”, and Texan Conservative(some might say, reactionary))…
    His views on Gay Rights?
    Abortion?
    Challenging all of that(ridiculous in my view), is obviously impossible at the Guardian(unless done, by Hamas members/acolytes).
    I think he was brought in solely for discrediting the Right. Lending an encouragement to those, among the readers, who had a preconceived notion of the Right’s arguments and stances, but particularly(despite what Mr. Seaton may say), on foreign policy
    Greenwald, as Mr. Levick noted in his article for the T-o-I, is a quixotic crusader against what he calls-”Imperialism”; Tervino is meant to exemplify the “neo-con” in situ.
    There are MANY left-wing intellectuals(I mentioned, On Harry’s Place, A. Ostrovsky), who abhor Greenwald’s monochromatic view of the world(rife, naturally, with anti-Israel conspiracies; not to mention, as recently witnessed on his Salon blog, incitement for the killing of Israelis. Of course, there’s always his defence of Neo-Nazis to fall back on).
    Why insert someone as Trevino, not used to, or vetted for the G. mindset(the UK’s “flagship of the left”), who will only irk his readers, and discount his own side?
    Sadly, the Guardian has wrenched defeat from the jaws of Victory, yet again.(there was finally a chance here, to rectify a long-standing bias, while keeping the liberal voice chiming)

    • The hiring of Tervino may well be a tool to draw more conservative readers to the site. The quota-guy so to speak. It won’t hurt reader numbers and ad revenues I am sure.

      • I think the Guardian is beyond financial salvation now, I think.(With regards to your point on Ads and Revenue)
        But Trevino, does seem, if you add up his positions, like a “Trojan horse” – discrediting, in the Guardian, any views of the Right.

    • I had thoughts similar to this on reading about Trevino’s appointment.
      If the Guardian really wants to display a diversity of views, surely it can find a conservative with less contentious views?

      • Thanks Pretzel, my point exactly!
        (In fact, they could just as easily have hired a liberal, no so keenly anti-American/anti-Israel as Greenwald, who would’ve opposed Greenwald, from a position very close to, and familiar with the G.’s loderstar).

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  4. I admire your willingness to dig through the cesspool of blogs like Elctronic Intifada, which ios more than I am usually willing to do.

    Nevertheless, following your link, I noticed that Abunimah also wrote:

    A few hours after my article appeared, I received a surprising email from the Guardian’s press office:

    Josh Trevino is not a correspondent for the Guardian. He is a freelance writer on contract to write opinion pieces. His articles will appear on the Guardian’s Comment is Free section of the site (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/us-edition) along with articles from many other freelance writers.

    Thank you in advance for making this correction.

    So Trevino is not even part of a mythical “commentary team” employed by the Guardain, but is a contractor, presumably paid by the article, to write for CiF.

    Seems like Mr. Abunimah launched a targeted drone strike against a civilian.

    And so much for the Guardian expanding its “team” to include people of many different views.

  5. A very Hadar Sela article indeed, thoroughly investigated, with all the stones turned over and the wrigglers exposed.

    I think that the principle is that the Guardian’s motives with regard to Israel should always be seen as suspiious and you won’t go wrong.

  6. Another Lefty who is joining the US Groan, as far as I am aware is Robert Mackey from the NYT’s The Lede. Mackey is twitter mates with Joseph Dana and Lisa Goldman and many other hard core antizionists. He links Ali Abunimah through his feeds.
    About two years ago Mackey had a more serious antizionist fit and posted only antizionist feeds on The Lede. This to the point when there were only anti Israel stories running under his watch. I took the opportunity to write to the editor and the next day the emphasis changed.
    They will be a merry bunch over at US Groan once it takes off.
    Mackey fancies himself as a bit of a Islam specialist having lived in various muslim Nations. He certainly one to watch…..
    The beauty of twitter is the ease with which one realizes how they are all interconnected, even tweeting dinner sessions in NYC. The supposed right wing/Jewish conspiracy is put into perspective when tweets and cross posts are added up amongst the antizionists.

  7. I wonder if Ali Abomination really wonders why he gets no respect outside of the Israel bashing lunatics who are so easy to be tripped up by facts.

    But then I remember that Ali Abomination is a victim… and he will always be a victim… because that mighty Joo Cabal which controls governments and media and birds and the weather is simply out to get him.

  8. That Matt Seaton post is a reply to a certain RafaelFS – who in the same post actually makes this ludicrous comparison:

    “just picture if, instead of pro-Palestinian activists and Iraqi resistence fighters, Treviño had asked for a massacre of Jewish resistence fighters or women rights activists.”

    While it might not be Seaton’s place to go and tell the poster to go f**k themselves – surely somebody else BTL should’ve picked up on that.

  9. Who is afraid of Josh Trevino?????????

    The Guardian,Ali Abunimah and the rest of those hypocrites that complained to the Guardian……….

  10. Not sure why this is not going through, but it’s important information that need to go along with your—4 pieces in support of a Jonathan Pollard hater and anti-Semite that tries to endanger Jewish and Christian supporters of Israel?

    I don’t know why you’re so supportive of Trevino. If you look at many of the facts, it makes perfect sense that they hired him. First of all, he absolutely hates Jonathan Pollard, and supports Jonathan Pollard’s anti-Semitic sentence. Trevino has also repeatedly tried to endanger Jews and Christian Israel supporters who are active in an anonymous Jewish pro-Israel effort, even working directly with Hamas supporters and anti-Semitic Christian missionaries in that effort. The guy is no mensch, not a solid Israel supporter, and certainly not worth defending. And if you really think about all the facts (granted, some aren’t necessarily public, but I’m speaking the truth), you’d see how the Guardian’s hiring of Trevino makes perfect sense. He’s weak on Israel and is in bed with Jew haters. His extremist remarks make him a perfect target for Guardian readers. All true Israel supporters should be against him, as he makes us all look insane.

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