November 29 2021 — On Sunday, I decided to watch the third game of the World Chess Championship 2021 between reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi. Although I do not trust The Guardian when it comes to intelligence matters, I thought that the online UK newspaper could at least report accurately a chess game. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
UPDATE (November 29 2022) — Once upon a time, The Guardian was a serious newspaper. Today, it is no better than a tabloid written by brain-damaged ‘presstitutes’ for a brainless audience. How did that happen? Short answer is that the UK security services bought The Guardian’s management.
Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified. He was previously director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, and before that a reporter for the Financial Times in the US and UK. He is the author of two books, Irregular Army and The Racket.
Mark Curtis is a leading UK foreign policy analyst, journalist and the author of six books including Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World and Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam.
Kennard and Curtis have written a magnificent piece [How the UK Security Services neutralised the country’s leading liberal newspaper] detailing how the spooks managed the breakup of The Guardian’s celebrated investigative team, whose muck-racking journalists were told to apply for other jobs outside of investigations.
Shiv Malik, Nick Davies, David Leigh, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Ian Cobain were dismissed.
The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, has no history of covering national security.
The UK security services encouraged The Guardian to appoint a new editor, Katharine Viner, who had ZERO experience of dealing with the security services. Viner had started out on fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan! She had no history whatsoever in national security reporting.
One year ago on this day, I asked a rhetorical question: Is The Guardian a reliable news source? Here is the answer from Kennard and Curtis.
A reliable publication? On 20 May 2019, The Times newspaper reported on a Freedom of Information request made by the Rendition Project, a group of academic experts working on torture and rendition issues, which showed that the MOD had been “developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees”.
This might traditionally have been a Guardian story, not something for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times. According to one civil society source, however, many groups working in this field no longer trust The Guardian.
A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: “It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian.”
And these authors come to the logical conclusion:
The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go?
Perahps, you may remember that, in early 2018, the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee (DSMA) issued at least two D-Notices to request the complicity of the UK media over crucial pieces of information related to the Skripal Affair.
Why did The Guardian agree to follow these D-Notices? Well…
The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that “the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member”.
At some point in 2013 or early 2014, Johnson – the same deputy editor who had smashed up his newspaper’s computers under the watchful gaze of British intelligence agents – was approached to take up a seat on the committee. Johnson attended his first meeting in May 2014 and was to remain on it until October 2018.
The Guardian’s deputy editor went directly from the corporation’s basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing.
Perhaps, this explains why serious people no longer trust The Guardian these days…
END of UPDATE
Research from media regulator Ofcom has rated the Guardian as the most trusted newspaper in the UK among regular readers.
The Guardian was also rated the most trustworthy online UK newspaper brand – ranked as such by 73% of regular readers.
According to the report, the Guardian was the second most trustworthy online news source overall, one percentage point behind the BBC. It was regarded as accurate by 74% of regular users – the joint top score alongside the BBC.
Well, let’s go back to game 3 of the World Chess Championship 2021. As soon as I saw the White 5th move (5. Kf1), I had a mild heart attack.
After the next one (6. Ke1), I began to wonder if Nepomniachtchi may have been poisoned with Polonium or novichok?
After a few seconds, I realized that I better go to a serious source of information.
The real game actually began with a well-know classical opening [Ruy Lopez, Closed, Anti-Marshall System 8.a4 (ECO C88)] :
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4
Please, note that this is not a simple typo as you can observe these moves in the chess diagram posted by The Guardian. [No castle, and the King is really on e1!]
Ask yourself a simple question. If The Guardian journalists can not report accurately a list of chess moves, what is it they can do right?
What we got wrong: the Guardian’s worst errors of judgment over 200 years — The Guardian (May 7 2021)
The Guardian is most trusted by its readers among UK newspapers, finds Ofcom — The Guardian (August 13 2020)
World Chess Championship 2021 — Wikipedia
Is The Guardian a reliable news source?
One Year Ago — Is The Guardian a reliable news source? [UPDATE : How the UK security services silenced The Guardian.]