CST Blog

Guardian partly alters Juan Cole article

28 August 2012

The Guardian's Comment is Free (CiF) website has partly amended an article by Juan Cole, following CST's intervention.

Cole's article had been recommended by senior Guardian figure, Brian Whitaker, as being among the “best blogs and analysis from the Middle East”. The Guardian had sub-titled the article as:

The Republican presidential hopeful is holding a fundraiser and playing war enabler in Israel – it’s wrong on so many levels

CST's complaints were laid out on CST Blog the day that Cole's article appeared on 30th July. Cole's article consists of 10 points against US presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. We pointed out that Cole had provided insufficient proof for his dangerous claim at number 7, which alleged Romney is promising his pro-Israeli donors a war against Iran; and claimed that a similar war had been similarly delivered for Israel against Iraq. Cole had written:

7. Romney is promising his donors in Jerusalem a war on Iran. When George W Bush promised his pro-Israel supporters a war on Iraq, it cost the US at least $3 trillion, got hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, destabilised the Gulf for some time, cost over 4,000 American soldiers’ lives and damaged American power and credibility and the economy. As Nancy Reagan said of drugs, so US politicians must say to constant Israeli entreaties that the US continually fight new wars in the Middle East on their behalf: “Just say no.” Instead, Romney is playing war enabler, and that abroad.

Now, the article's sub-title has lost the "war enabler in Israel" sting. It is changed to:

The Republican presidential hopeful is holding a fundraiser – it's wrong on so many levels

Number 7 has also lost some, but not all, of its sting. It has been cut to state:

7. Romney is promising his donors in Jerusalem a war on Iran.  

The foot of the article now carries this:

This article was amended on 28 August 2012. The original version commented on US involvement in the Iraq war in terms that were capable of misinterpretation. The relevant sentences have been removed and the standfirst amended accordingly.

So, the Guardian appears to stand by Cole's assertion that Romney is "promising his donors in Jerusalem a war on Iran": even if it is now, belatedly, removing the alleged photofit US war in Iraq in "terms that were capable of misinterpretation". The change is to be welcomed: but it should never have been necessary in the first place. Furthermore, its worth is compromised for having taken so long to implement and, of course, for retaining the Iran warmongers allegation. As we previosuly pointed out, Cole's link for this promised war in Iran is an Associated Press report that falls short of the proof that ought to be required for such a succinctly overblown claim. The AP report ends:

He [Romney] later clarified his comments in a written statement, saying that the candidate “believes we should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course and it is his fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded.”

CST's orginal piece noted the sad inevitablity of the Guardian getting its knickers in a twist about a right-wing American Presidential candidate raising money in Israel. We also noted that Guardian Comment is Free is "journalistically subnormal"

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