Do Guardian editors fact check the letters they choose to publish?


I’d imagine that the Guardian receives thousands of letters submitted by their readers for publication, of which only a few are likely published.  

letters

Their Letters page notes that the paper reserves the right to edit each submission, which prompted me to wonder whether the following letter, one of many about Syria published on Aug. 28, was even minimally fact checked: 

• Just to get a bit of balance on the excessive coverage of the children who were perhaps killed by a chemical attack by either Assad’s forces or the rebels. On 15 January 2009, Israel attacked Gaza and 210 to 300 children were killed in the raids; 700 adults were also killed. The list of names was published by al-Jazeera on 15 January 2009. Children have been killed throughout the Middle East, but the west only focuses on certain cases that help its political interests.
Janet Salmon
Richmond, Surrey

First, whilst the prose is quite confusing, Ms. Salmon’s letter could easily be understood as (falsely) asserting that, just as Syrian children were (“perhaps”!) killed by chemical weapons (“by either Assad’s forces or the rebels”), Israel perpetrated a similar crime in January of 2009. Of course, the writer doesn’t say this explicitly but, based on the wording, that is how it could easily be interpreted by an average reader. 

Second, in reading the letter you’d be forgiven for assuming that on January 15, 2009 Israel launched an attack on Gaza, resulting in the death of a thousand Palestinians, including 300 children, on that one day alone.  Of course, however, Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) lasted a little over three weeks – commencing on Dec. 27, 2008 and ending on Jan 18, 2009. And, whilst claims regarding the total death toll varied, the casualty figures cited in Salmon’s letter did not occur on that one January day, but over the course of the entire 23 day war. 

All of this information could easily have been revealed by a simple Google search, a fact-checking task which doesn’t seem too arduous for a team of professional Guardian editors.

52 comments on “Do Guardian editors fact check the letters they choose to publish?

  1. I’d like to add that, of course, Israel did not use chemical weapons against the terrorists of Gaza, that Israel was targetting terrorists who attacked its civilians (and hid amongst civilians), whereas the Syrian attack was entirely indiscriminate, and that her implication that Israel somehow escaped censure for its acts in Gaza is frankly laughable. Did she not turn on a TV or pick up a newspaper during those months (or the months afterwards)?

  2. ” just as Syrian children were (“perhaps”!) killed by chemical weapons (“by either Assad’s forces or the rebels”), Israel perpetrated a similar crime in January of 2009″

    Whilst you are right that the children killed by the IDF did not die from poisonous gas, the kids are still dead. I salute the bravery of the article that highlights ghastly epidodes by both countries.

    • Whilst you are right that the children killed by the IDF did not die from poisonous gas, the kids are still dead.
      But of course jasper. We Jews killed these kids for their blood we need for the Passover festivities. Their deaths have nothing to do with the rockets launched by Hamas at Israel from populated areas in Gaza.

    • Every civilian casualty in Gaza is on the hands of Hamas. There is a reason that hiding behind civilians and launching rockets from schools are war crimes. There is also an enormous moral difference between defending yourself against 8,000 rockets fired at your civilian population and purposely using chemical weapons on civilians.

    • What a shock… Jassie-Jasshole “salutes” the bravery of a letter writer to the Guardian making false assertions AS A WAY TO AVOID THE REAL ISSUE OF THE ARTICLE WHICH IS SYRIA.

      Yeah. Bravery. And Intelligence. Which is why you don’t believe in History.

      Shove it up your gaping Jassie-Jasshole.

  3. Do Guardian editors fact check the letters they choose to publish?
    Why should facts disturb the Jew-bashing in the world’s leading liberal voice???

        • Pretzelberg makes a point. Expressions like “Jew bashing ” are for imaginary enemies from another era. You are trying to turn a discussion that is not one hundred percent for Israel …settlements and all ….Jewish state and all..wars and all into one about Jew baiting. If you wish to damage the Guardian get them at their weakest spot…they will not apologise for backing Iraq . The UK is more warlike than Israel

          Don’t prat about reinventing phantoms from history

          • I’m happy that one Jew-hating shit (this is you jasper) found his spiritual companion in an ignorant asshole…

            • “ignorant asshole”

              … says the hate-fuelled bigot who called me a Holocaust denier!

              Pathetic – and that goes for the ignorant assholes cheering him on.

              • I used sarcasm to demonstrate your amazing inanity, but never called you a Holocaust-denier as it was absolutely clear reading the relevant posts. in order to demonstrate how you use faux indignation for non existent offenses lacking any sensible argument I’m going copy here our sweet dialogue making possible for other readers to judge.

                pretzelberg
                JULY 19, 2013 @ 4:09 AM
                8 Votes
                Anti-Semitism has won new popular support in most of the EU? Please do go into further detail.

                peterthehungarian
                JULY 19, 2013 @ 4:18 AM
                12 Votes
                You should read the world media pretzel not only the Guardian then maybe you wouldn’t post these laughable inanities of yours.

                pretzelberg
                JULY 19, 2013 @ 5:00 AM
                11 Votes
                Just show us the evidence of this “popular support” in “most of the EU member states”.

                peterthehungarian
                JULY 19, 2013 @ 8:59 AM
                12 Votes
                A suggestion pretzel before you make an even bigger idiot of yourself. Type please into the search box of your browser this string of characters: “Present European anti-Semitism”. You will get about 4,770,000 results. Try to read the first ten articles.
                You will be surprised to learn something about the reality of your own environment.

                Here there was your answer containing only personal abuse and allegations that historical European anti-semitism is an exception and not the rule – it has been deleted and I can’t find it. Finally my answer (also deleted)

                Thank you for your well thought counterarguments pretzel. My mistake naturally – in Europe the Jews never were forced to live in designated areas only, their numbers in academy and public life never was limited. (And naturally the Holocaust never happened, but if it did then the numbers are grossly exaggerated and only the German Nazis are the responsible)

                pretzelberg
                JULY 19, 2013 @ 9:03 AM
                12 Votes
                Why should I bother talking to some freak who accuses me of Holocaust denial?

                Fuck off.

                The habit of ignorant assholes when losing the debate they accuse their counterparts falsely with something – racism, Nazism whatever and getting offended. This is only natural behavior pretzel at the above mentioned category of persons.

                • You keep a record of your own posts? Creepy.
                  Or is it because you suspect some will – rightly – be deleted?

                  And you didn’t use sarcasm to “demonstrate [my] amazing inanity”. You used it to imply I was a Holocaust denier. An incredibly cheap and tasteless slur.
                  But thanks for pasting your offending comment here.

                  You may apologise – asuming you have a scrap of human decency.

                • Thank you for proving my point pretzel regarding your inanity. Your allegations about keeping records of my posts – I suggest you to go to the right side of this page and scroll down to the archives section. You will be surprised. My deleted post has been sent me by the system administrator of CW by mail signaling its deletion. How feel to getting caught on lying?

                • If anyone’s a liar here, it’s you.

                  Bizarre how you paste in your disgusting comment and even then try to defend it!

          • “Expressions like “Jew bashing ” are for imaginary enemies from another era”

            ‘imaginary enemies’

            “Don’t prat about reinventing phantoms from history”

            So jasper “Jew-bashing” was carried out by ‘imaginary enemies from another era’, or by reinvented ‘phantoms from history’.
            Have you ever considered a career as a historian jasper?

            And I thought when George Orwell wrote ’1984′ he wrote it as a novel not as a guidebook for the likes of jasper to re-write history to suit their own twisted and perverted agendas.
            jasper you are one sick person in urgent need of treatment.

      • Do you distinguish the constant bashing of the Jewish state from Jew-bashing and of Jews supporting the Jewish state? And when, how exactly?
        In my consideration Antizionism is Jew-bashing, an effort to divide into good Jews and bad ones,which are nominally called Zionists denying to call them Jews for the sake of, for the good conscience, for the self-righteousness of the masses of “antizionists” superficially hiding the thinly veiled underlying Antisemitism
        Do you believe that Antisemitism, a conspiracy religion in a material world explaining it to the semi-educated, just vanishes after the demise of the Nazis? It just altered the forms. And took up the chance when the Sovietunion declared their own Antisemitism after WWII, the “Antizionism”.

        http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/140328/timmerman-disinformation

        http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/103576/the-cold-wars-arab-spring

        http://www.tabletmag.com/podcasts/142448/globalization-daniel-goldhagen

        http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/76511/final-battle

        • Do you believe that Antisemitism, a conspiracy religion in a material world explaining it to the semi-educated, just vanishes after the demise of the Nazis?

          Of course not.
          I just find it childish/hysterical (or whatever) to call the Guardian a “Jew-bashing” newspaper.

  4. I like it – the letter did not say that Israel used chemical weapons – but the letter got blamed because it was implicit to the blogger wjhy and how was it implicit? –

    poppy cock – what the letter said was that Israel attacked Gaza and killed 300 children. It did not say about one day. The letter quite justly was pointing out that the killing of 300 children in Gaza went unpunished whereas in Syria the West wants to punish the regime.

    Now I think two should be kept separate and each should be dealt in its own right. However, if one is punished and the other excused it calls into question the West’s motives and the charge of double standards remains valid.

    Ming Campbell raised exactly this today. He asked would it make any difference if conventional weapons were used to cause the same casualties in Syria. Of course it wont. I commend the letter and the blogger here is totally frivolous in criticizing the letter.

    • The letter was supposedly inspired by the article in Syria.

      But if you want to justify unfound allegations, I think it’s near criminal (like, child abuse) that your parents would raise you with the inability to grasp intent through hate filled letters to the editor of a rag that spends 365 days a year bashing on Israel.

      Your parents, it seems, should be punished.

  5. At least two people have totally forgotten the deceitful and biased coverage Operation Cast Lead actually got. That’s the generous view.

    Does anyone else remember Israel getting a good press?
    Does anyone else fail to see differences between terrorists and a democracy, or a dictatorship and a democracy?

    Goldstone Report, anybody?

  6. Why should Israel have got a good press for bombing Gaza and killing 300 children? Perhaps Akusia will explain -

  7. Another bla-bla-moniker won`t help Dave the Antisemite
    or Ramesh Patel/Andrew Jackson/Dave Ernst/Janet Burke/Jim Davison/John Atkins/falsefalse/ RObert Alright/Kumar Chaudry/Rebuttal/Jim Chance, Frederick, Richard/Patrick/
    NSIsmail/NSIsmael/Jason Helper/John Walsh/ranamirza/Rafi Mirza, from NSIsmail to Antisemite Rana the antisemitic member of the Diane Shame Group of aliases like Mondoweiss Chris/Isac/ liar/Peter Ounce/Islamabadi/diane/dianeshammes/Angel/Rafi aka Sharon/Jane/Catherine/Samantha/HarpalSingh/AaronPatel/AnrewBird/Jeremy Bowles/AlanThornton/Jabal/Alan/Deborah/Jim/Jason/Dirk/Nick/Natzie/Rob, amended by Gerald with Dopey/Grumpy/Sneezy/Sleazy/Tosser/Dorothy/Straw Man/Dick Head/Drek

  8. No, Akusia thw question is why should Israel get good press for killing three hundred children in Gaza. Somebody else is a murderer or a thug or genocidal or whatever else is not the answer – It is typical Zionist defense but my lord the murderer in the next cell to mine killed women and children. He will be judgedat his trial. This is your tiral. It is not the defense. Please answer the question why should Israel get a good press for killing three hundred children in the attck on Gaza?

    • Ramesh, your screed reads like the usual trash from supporters of terrorists and wannabe genocidal killers. Hamas killed those kids just sure as if they had pushed them into traffic on the autobahn.
      Why should Israel get good press? Because in the real world the sky is blue and grass is green. Delusional people such as yourself can only see rivers of blood.

  9. Another bla-bla-moniker won`t help Ramesh Patel/Andrew Jackson/Dave Ernst/Janet Burke/Jim Davison/John Atkins/falsefalse/ RObert Alright/Kumar Chaudry/Rebuttal/Jim Chance, Frederick, Richard/Patrick/
    NSIsmail/NSIsmael/Jason Helper/John Walsh/ranamirza/Rafi Mirza, from NSIsmail to Antisemite Rana the antisemitic member of the Diane Shame Group of aliases like Mondoweiss Chris/Isac/ liar/Peter Ounce/Islamabadi/diane/dianeshammes/Angel/Rafi aka Sharon/Jane/Catherine/Samantha/HarpalSingh/AaronPatel/AnrewBird/Jeremy Bowles/AlanThornton/Jabal/Alan/Deborah/Jim/Jason/Dirk/Nick/Natzie/Rob, amended by Gerald with Dopey/Grumpy/Sneezy/Sleazy/Tosser/Dorothy/Straw Man/Dick Head/Drek

  10. a fact-checking task which doesn’t seem too arduous for a team of professional Guardian editors.

    Excuse me? Did you say “professional”?!

  11. Perhaps in Israel it is a legitimate defense in most courts of other countries it is not permissible even as evidence – I can just imagine a defense lawyer calling 2oo other murderers in defence of his client accused of murder. Can you pretzel?

  12. So Peter you have nothing intelligent to say – so you might as well say it in Latin – I am happy in my identity if it bothers you buzz off

  13. Hi Ramesh – I have a problem to follow your incessantly changing nationalities and personalities – the only way to connect them is the overuse of Wikipedia and their exceptionally ignorant stupidity. I have a suggestion – as botanists and zoologists are using Latin common names for different specimen you should use a Latin name too. I suggest you the scientific name of Faecalia Maialis Olidus – it sounds really aristocratic and serious. But in case you find it too long and snobbish the moniker Turdus Giganticus will do instead. No need to thank my efforts to solve your problem, I hope I helped you wit the idea.

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