Government Intrusion A-OK at the Guardian When It Was Aimed At Their Competitors

From Brendan O'Neill via JD Tuccille

If there was a Nobel Prize for Double Standards, Britain’s chattering classes would win it every year. This year, following their expressions of spittle-flecked outrage over the detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda by anti-terrorism police at Heathrow airport, they’d have to be given a special Lifetime Achievement Award for Double Standards.

For the newspaper editors, politicians and concerned tweeters now getting het up about the state’s interference in journalistic activity, about what they call the state’s ‘war on journalism’, are the very same people – the very same – who over the past two years cheered the state harassment of tabloid journalists; watched approvingly as tabloid journalists were arrested; turned a blind eye when tabloid journalists’ effects were rifled through by the police; said nothing about the placing of tabloid journalists on limbo-like, profession-destroying bail for months on end; said ‘Well, what do you expect?’ when material garnered by tabloid journalists through illegal methods was confiscated; applauded when tabloid journalists were imprisoned for the apparently terrible crime of listening in on the conversations of our hereditary rulers.

For these cheerleaders of the state’s two-year war on redtop journalism now to gnash their teeth over the state’s poking of its nose into the affairs of the Guardianis extraordinary. It suggests that what they lack in moral consistency they more than make up for with brass neck.

Everything that is now being done to the Guardian has already been done to the tabloid press, a hundred times over, and often at the behest of the Guardian.


  1. norse:

    Not even close - note that this story is attempting to portrait as equal the hacking of the phones of private individuals by a corporation (intrusion into the privacy of individuals for monetary gain) with the publication of things classified as state secrets that said state with blatantly lying to the public about (intrusion into the "privacy" of a nation state to expose the doings of that nation state to its subjects, also know as "doing your job" for journalists).

    The rather important difference in this case is that the parties interested in the exact details of have a different relationship to the parties injured. We are subjects of a state that's lying to us and theoretically should be able to build an opinion based on facts and then consider our options while voting. Milly Dowlers parents have much less control over us, and deleting voice mail messages from their answering machine about their murdered daughter isn't really helpful to us in the business of deciding what we'll do about them, not that that is any of our business in the first place.

    The relevant terms here are public interest, monopoly of power and role of the press in a democracy.

  2. bryan fine:

    Oh, come on norse, they were threatening castration! Are we gonna split hairs here? Am I wrong?

  3. norse:

    No hairs in sight AFAIK, but I'll bite: I am not understanding the castration reference. Please explain!

  4. obloodyhell:

    }}} over the detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda by anti-terrorism police at Heathrow airport

    What? What? Surely he got read his Miranda rights...?

  5. mesaeconoguy:

    That was my thinking as well - slightly ironic name as a candidate for indefinite detention.

  6. bryan fine:

    "Norse, ya know, it's Smokey, so his toe slipped over the line a little, big deal. It's just a game, man"