What's Wrong With The Guardian? June 8, 2021 2:41 PM   Subscribe

A moderator removed a link to the Guardian because of something about that paper's LGBTQ stance. This is the first I've heard. What caused this reaction from MetaFilter? It seems to have come up only now, but I cannot find anything in recent Guardian issues that might have prompted the action.
posted by CCBC to MetaFilter-Related at 2:41 PM (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

It's a very transphobic website. Here are some links, that I found with a five-second google:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/terf-trans-women-britain.html

https://xtramagazine.com/power/transphobia-britain-terf-uk-media-193828

https://www.buzzfeed.com/patrickstrudwick/guardian-staff-trans-rights-letter

It's been building for a long time. What's your concern here, exactly?
posted by sagc at 2:46 PM on June 8 [7 favorites]


The Guardian—specifically, the Guardian's UK division—has earned a reputation for propping up transphobic writers and pundits to the point where e.g. their own staff have organized protests against that practice. It's not unique to the Guardian among UK press, which just in general seems to be on the transphobia train, but it's enough of a thing that the Guardian link being in a post specifically about queer/Pride stuff hit some folks the wrong way. And as thyme notes, it's something worth keeping in mind for sourcing articles about topics that they have such a poor reputation on.

The article itself was short and innocuous, I think coming from the US Guardian group which I don't think? has had the same conspicuous shitty issues, so there's an argument for just leaving the link. But it was also an inconsequential supplementary link in the post the content of which can be found from other sources, as folks have noted in the thread on the blue, so removing it wasn't a difficult issue for the post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:46 PM on June 8 [29 favorites]


Thank you for drawing attention to it because I am an infrequent reader of it (only ever heard here that people think it's a fairly lame news source), and now I will be a non-reader! I appreciate MeFi taking a stance on this.
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:01 PM on June 8 [19 favorites]


Perhaps it's because I read the global edition that I've missed this. It seems to be editorial/opinion pieces that draw people's ire. (One of the links above cites Germaine Greer in a 1989 column.) I seldom read these opinion pieces, so...
posted by CCBC at 3:11 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I will note that a poster explained in an early-on comment what was wrong with The Guardian, but that comment got deleted (along with The Guardian link). I suspect that leaving that comment would have made things a lot clearer in the first place, and (while 100% recognizing there's no objectively right answer or universally definitive line) I would suggest there is still work to be done in recalibrating mod approaches to what should be deleted and what should remain in threads.
posted by DingoMutt at 3:22 PM on June 8 [15 favorites]


This is the first I've heard.

It's been going on for a long time.

What caused this reaction from MetaFilter? It seems to have come up only now, but I cannot find anything in recent Guardian issues that might have prompted the action.

recent things from the guardian that are transphobic:
  • 2 days ago: an op-ed alleging Stonewall UK, being supportive of trans people, is somehow anti-feminist and anti-woman
  • 2 days ago: platforming and both-sidesing the transgender "debate", wherein it gives credence to toxic bigots and fails to even talk with a single trans person
  • 4 days ago: it casts trans equality in opposition to women's equality
  • 2 weeks ago: interviewing an anti-trans bigot and providing her a platform, belying her constant statements that she's being silenced
pointing out that this has been going on a while:
  • 2018: again, casts trans equality in opposition to women's equality, and this one was bad enough that the guardian us protested
additional context:
  1. Trans academic Natacha Kennedy writes:
    The Guardian has permitted misinformation and menadacity about trans to be spread in the same ways that the other MESTT’s do;
    • quoting transphobes indulgently without fact-checking what they have said or allowing an opposing viewpoint
    • allowing transphobic commentators to include misinformation in ‘opinion’ pieces
    • carefully presenting the myth that trans people are “silencing” transphobes, and repeating them Goebbels-style over a period of days
    • failing to challenge the myth of competing rights between trans women and cis women.
    To deal with the last two of these in particular; by any objective reasoning a cursory examination of the media shows that it is trans people who are being silenced, not transphobes. Tea Uglow counted 878 articles in 9 media outlets (including the Guardian) in the year to the 7 August. Of these it is hard to find more than a dozen written by trans people campaigning for trans rights. So we are looking at maybe 2% of articles about trans people written by trans people. Pretending that trans students and their allies calling out transphobic hate groups and transphobic academics constitutes “silencing” while systematically excluding trans writers from mainstream media is just plain dishonest.

  2. Buzzfeed article from 2020 about an internal letter from employes, quoting:
    We are also disappointed in the Guardian’s repeated decision to publish anti-trans views. We are proud to work at a newspaper which supports human rights and gives voice to people underrepresented in the media. But the pattern of publishing transphobic content has interfered with our work and cemented our reputation as a publication hostile to trans rights and trans employees.

  3. in March of last year 200 feminists signed a letter denouncing the Guardian's decision to publish more anti-trans articles and op-eds:
    “We reject the argument put forward in a column by by Suzanne Moore in which she implies that advocating for trans rights poses a threat to cisgender women,” the letter begins. “The British Social Attitudes Survey (2017) found that a majority of the British public were supportive of transgender people, with women more likely to be in favour of trans rights than men. Moore’s column does not represent the views of the public, nor is it representative of the views of most women.”

  4. In 2020, a third trans person resigned from the Guardian due to its editorial transphobia:
    The worker confirmed to HuffPost UK she had handed in her notice a few weeks earlier, but chose to speak out in the busy news meeting on Tuesday over what she called “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

  5. An NYTimes op-ed pointing out that the Guardian is falling sway to the climate of anti-trans hatred in the UK:
    In response to demands for the bill to allow self-determination of trans and nonbinary identities, The Guardian — which as the country’s only center-left broadsheet newspaper plays an outsize role in political debate — published an editorial that attempted to find a center ground. But to do so, it took its framing and talking points from organizations implacably opposed to trans rights, as the writer Jules Gleeson noted. Many British trans writers, including me, have since declined to contribute to The Guardian, repeating a pattern played out in the New Statesman several years earlier.

  6. This Vice article from March has two quotes, the first highlighting a column published by the Guardian, the second discussing the way the Guardian's progressive/left-leaning credentials threw trans people under the bus:
    Only months after her decision to pull back, Jacques and other trans people saw two major moments in British anti-trans history. In January, Julie Burchill wrote an Observer column “attacking” (the words of the paper itself, in a later apology for printing it) transgender people, calling them "screaming mimis", "bed-wetters in bad wigs" and "dicks in chicks' clothing". The piece, which was removed online, was written in defence of her friend and fellow writer Suzanne Moore, who had written that women were too often expected to look like a “Brazilian transsexual”.
    The final domino to fall was the Guardian. To many trans people and trans allies, the one progressive broadsheet in the UK posting its editorial view on trans rights in October 2018 was almost as striking a landmark moment as the overall response to the GRA. Rather than support the fairly minor reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, the Guardian highlighted the differing rights of trans people and women. It concluded with something no one on either side would disagree with: “Social media have unhelpfully amplified the voices at both extremes of this argument. The current divisions are troubling.” Trans activists and allies noted that the editorial was fence-sitting: it didn’t entirely invalidate trans rights, but it did dodge the issue.

  7. In 2019, two trans employees quit the Guardian:
    A transgender employee of the Guardian — which once called itself the “world’s leading liberal voice” — has resigned, accusing the newspaper in an email to staff of being “an incredibly transphobic organisation”.
    In a cutting resignation letter sent last month, the employee said the paper “fundamentally not only stands against my own values but also against what I am”. A second trans staff member resigned weeks later, also citing the “harm” they say the newspaper is doing to trans people.

  8. The Guardian US taking the UK branch to task in 2018:
    the Guardian published an editorial that we believe promoted transphobic viewpoints, including some of the same assertions about gender that US politicians are citing in their push to eliminate trans rights. Guardian journalists in the US had no input in the editorial, which we felt was misplaced and misguided, and nearly all reporters and editors from our New York, Washington DC and California offices wrote to UK editors with our concerns.


  9. as a trans person, i don't fucking like spoonfeeding cis people unwilling to do basic fucking googling and having to review or re-read all of these things again
    and again
    and again
    and again
    and again
    and again

    i don't like having to read people dismiss these problems by saying "i don't read these opinion pieces" when the critiques point out that this goes deeply into actual editorial and news reporting again
    and again
    and again
    and again
    and again
    and again

posted by i used to be someone else at 3:25 PM on June 8 [172 favorites]


The article itself was short and innocuous, I think coming from the US Guardian group which I don't think? has had the same conspicuous shitty issues, so there's an argument for just leaving the link.

The Guardian US has not had those issues, so far I'm aware of, but so long as they share the same branding and ownership, any ad revenue and brand recognition they receive goes towards propping up the UK branch as well.

I don't care if they're posted for other types of news, but on LGBTQ/Queer issues, until the Guardian and its sister publication The Observer deals with their institutional transphobia, I think it continues to be poor form.

Incidentally, the BBC is in a similar spot: outside of Gal-Dem and New Socialist, I have a hard time thinking of British news sources that aren't hostile to trans people and prone to platform anti-trans bigots talking about trans people rather than ever reaching out to a trans person, period.
posted by i used to be someone else at 3:30 PM on June 8 [16 favorites]


I used to love the Guardian. It was really hard to let it go, but I had to over transphobia. I bought a subscription to my local paper instead as a substitute. It's not the same, but at least they don't provide a platform for transphobia. Neither does Metafilter, thank goodness.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 4:42 PM on June 8 [5 favorites]


A really good guideline for anything that makes you say "This is the first I've heard"?

Google it first.

But at the very least don't...do the thing, with the outrage that you hadn't been informed about the thing, phrased in a way that makes your outrage more important than the thing and expresses doubt that the thing is a thing because you haven't decided personally whether it is or not.

This is general advice any time one experiences a surprise in a fast-moving media landscape, but it is extremely applicable in this case. It's so dismissive. It's dishearteningly dismissive, to people who care.

I'm really disappointed in this question in this format making it through moderation. I am unsurprised that the spoonfeeding is necessary, but a moderator could have put a post here saying "there are some questions about this deletion, here's a google search (or an already-written overview, which do exist in this case) if you're unaware, our position is that we're going to avoid sources that are this problematic because it hurts people, don't insist they explain it to you, but if anyone has other sources they'd like to include here that's great but not an obligation, thanks."

I have to believe it would have taken the same amount of time to do that, out of consideration for the people it harms, as it did to post the question above with the microaggression in it and write up the explanation posted a few minutes later.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:38 PM on June 8 [32 favorites]


I am sorry.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:23 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I also used to like the Guardian. Before the current round of TERFiness, I had thought they were becoming less awful (when they sent Suzanne Moore packing last November, for example).

I'm thinking of the Byline Times as a substitute; though I distrust the way they phrase the headlines on their website-- it seems a little too clickbait-y. But they do decent local reporting, which I appreciate, since local journalism can be a cesspit. Anyone know of any caveats with them?
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:35 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Here's a Twitter thread talking about racism and hateful discrimination in the UK news industry as a whole. It seems wise that we seriously weigh the benefits of including any UK-based articles whenever we post, until they decide treating people with basic respect is an editorial stance worth taking.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:02 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]


It seems to be editorial/opinion pieces that draw people's ire.

Having spent a huge chunk of my life reading newspapers, yeah. Of course.

As a cis gay white man I can empathize with and stand in solidarity with people currently being attacked by editorial/opinion pieces (everything from general derision to specific calls to strip or deny basic human rights, or insinuations that are without question subtle calls to violence). I've been on the receiving end of that shit and know exactly what it feels like. And I don't want anyone else to feel that way.

Moreover, this shit, by being platformed via "respectable"/"mainstream" legacy media organizations gets tons of currency when it's further shared out by people who really want to go out there and commit violence.

Even being outside the UK, I was able to see a certain trend with Guardian stuff, and also see people pushing back against it. So none of this is a surprise.

Being upset by intensely bigoted editorial pieces that threaten one's erasure as a human being -- figuratively or literally -- is not some weird, untenable position. You could have just Googled all of this, or walked back through a bunch of discussions that have happened on this very site before saying , in effect, "Please explain to me something I should just be able to reasonably infer by using the electronic device I'm currently touching to seek out some of that information on my own and educate myself a little before going off on it."

Yeah, of course people are pissed. They should be.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:05 PM on June 8 [15 favorites]


Good lord, who pissed in everyone's cheerios?

I am transgendered. I occasionally read the guardian. I have on a few occasions donated small amounts of money to them because I love their free model and I hate paywalls so much. I would cheerfully have gone on doing so had the OP not asked this question.

I GOOGLED IT, and I am definitely not an amateur and couldn't find anything because I had no idea it was a trans thing, and was searching variations on lgbtq or pride-related themes. I could have found _something_ if I'd dug for half an hour, but why should I devote half an hour and come up with something that might or might not be the alluded-to thing when I can just ask someone who knows?

That's...kinda one of the things metatalk is for. I find this not-offensive at all, and I think it's bizarre and hilarious that everyone got their pitchforks out.

I didn't read the asker as censuring, just as surprised, as I WAS, because as noted, it's a center-left rag, so I was assuming it had to be big and was also surprised I couldn't find things via a google search.

I think there's a streak of gleeful sadism that masquerades as purity, and if you're not 100% pure by someone's standards then by god they're going to beat you until you are. In my parents' circle these are the religious nuts. If someone with that mental mindset happens to be gay or trans, that becomes the stick. In spite of being trans, I've cut a few trans people out of my life because I couldn't handle the constant anger and suspicion and paranoia and screaming. Someone asks a question? My GOD, the TEMERITY. Stop the presses. Anyway, back to the Guardian thing, thanks everyone for filling me, and the OP in, since apparently your opinion is that we're both total idiots. One trans, one presumably cis (your presumed the OP was cis, didn't you? If I had asked this, which I was about to when I wandered over here, would you have assumed I was cis? You would have been wrong. ) I'm glad someone else asked first. If everyone had piled on to me like that I would have lost my shit, especially since I've seen inane and horrible questions go here without question, like the guy who asked if a woman could shoot ping pong balls out of her pussy. I mailed a mod about that one and asked for it to be removed because I thought it was disrespectful and horrible and treated women like sport. Instead the mod answered the dude.

And then there's this volcanic eruption of rage for this? Presumably you'd be happy to fill someone in about good reasons to avoid a publication, if this really were about you caring about trans rights. I would, for sure. I leap at any opportunity to tell someone about the ignorant psychologist my hormone doctor referred me to. And I'll pass along info about the Guardian to anyone who asks.
posted by liminal_shadows at 7:18 PM on June 8 [190 favorites]


Good lord, who pissed in everyone's cheerios?

For starters, what just happened to this family, in a city not too far from where I'm at, where I have a whole bunch of friends, and not far from where I grew up, and where the local paper and the chain it belongs to regularly runs anti-Muslim stuff like this. And there's a whole bunch of hand-wringing about "how could this happen?" I mean, we all know how it happens, and the process is a slow build, and it starts with words.

As a person who reads stuff in the Guardian, sometimes regularly, sometimes not, I expect better from it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:35 PM on June 8 [10 favorites]


Also, I think there's an assumption by some people that everyone has the time to hang out on twitter chasing the latest outrage, or if you're an ally you have be a professional and always be 100% up on all the people who must be avoided at all times or you're a dirty pariah. As a transgendered person I do not expect everyone to know every thing that pisses me off in that field. It's kind of a full-time job keeping track and you don't get paid for it.

On asking questions, in a semi-related area, there was a kerfluffle about a convention presenter mispronouncing someone's name semi-recently. I learned about it here. I'd read a book by the author, and was wildly curious about how it's actually pronounced. I knew better than to ask, so I watched a short response vid by the author thinking that would be the best source...it was not. She didn't say her name. It's fairly common, so I googled it...and found what felt like varying pronunciations. Maybe my ear just isn't that good. I then wondered how badly it had gotten mangled, but the presenter was someone I find to be a boring speaker anyway, and I sure wasn't going to sit through that whole presentation. So...normally metafilter is a great place to ask questions that are kinda weird. Like "Hey, so I listened to a couple of pronunciations of this word and they sound different, like so --can any linguists here explain in greater detail?" If not, they might still have had some cool and interesting things to say. But metafilter has become a political hellscape in the last eight years. And before you jump to the conclusion that it's because I might be right-leaning, I assure you, it's not. Keep in mind, I once had a FPP deleted because the mod thought I had inserted my (radical lefty opinion). I had not, fwiw (that was under a different pseudonym--if any mod is curious, hit me up and I'll tell you). But this kind of attitude is exactly why I didn't ask about the name thing. I didn't want to get torched and called a racist, and I 100% knew that it would. And it upsets me to see it being done to other people on ostensibly my behalf (as a trans person).

I really do not like the trend of beating the hell out of people for the slightest transgression, and I'm talking about things like simply asking what's up with the Guardian? From my perspective this is massively unhealthy and makes it easier for truly mentally ill people to co-opt a movement to feed their narcissism and control fantasies. Ironically I was just listening to an episode of the Dollop about co-ops, and how this big one kept erupting into fistfights, etc, and years later it came out that the guy who started it was a profiteer and a murderer.
posted by liminal_shadows at 7:39 PM on June 8 [113 favorites]


Mandolin_conspiracy, I wasn't asking "who pissed in everyone's Cheerios" in reference to the Guardian. That I understood, because I read the links above. That was my wtf response to people dogpiling the asker of the question, an attempt to keep it jokey to keep myself from getting too upset--for reasons that probably became clear further down in my comment.

Please for the love of god, people, read the very long thing I wrote and you should realize I am not saying "do not hold the Guardian responsible" or "Bring that Guardian link back to metafilter!" I'm 100% ok with the deletion, and I do find it upsetting that the Guardian has that kind of track record. I can hold that opinion while thinking that anyone who yells at someone who asks what happened is indulging in misdirected rage. I think probably people are pissed at the Guardian are taking it out on the person asking for information. I've certainly done that in other circumstances. It's human. But it looked like it was about to turn into a purity dogpile, or a google-this circlejerk. I popped in to say I'd been about to ask the same thing and if a bunch of people started shrieking at me about teaching me about trans rights I, as a trans person, would been incredibly pissed off.

Let me just repeat the shouting that I found especially offensive in case you missed it:


"as a trans person, i don't fucking like spoonfeeding cis people unwilling to do basic fucking googling and having to review or re-read all of these things again
and again
and again
and again
and again
and again

"i don't like having to read people dismiss these problems by saying "i don't read these opinion pieces" when the critiques point out that this goes deeply into actual editorial and news reporting again
and again
and again
and again
and again
and again"

posted by liminal_shadows at 7:51 PM on June 8 [41 favorites]


the greater context of this is that the first time it was brought up, it was a rather milquetoast, quiet comment by me in the original thread asking that in the future maybe we don't link to the guardian because of that transphobic history.

at which point anyone could have just googled "guardian transphobia" and seen, in the first few links of an incognito google search, enough context to see where the problem might be.

but since that comment was deleted, and the link was deleted from the original post, with a not fully descriptive mod note that seemed to only raise more and more questions, and there were lots of back-and-forths.

so by the time this metatalk rolls around, it's been a rather tiresome discussion with a lot of the original comments deleted, and you have dismissive remarks that have been put in that were also deleted, and with that sort of missing context, of course it's easy to think that the angry trans woman being angry is doing so because she's unhealthy somehow.
posted by i used to be someone else at 8:19 PM on June 8 [21 favorites]


what's even wilder is that this comment later that still remains in that very thread gives all the keywords needed.
The Guardian has consistently employed and published pieces by extremely transphobic, hateful authors, to say the least.
emphasis mine, not sagc's.
posted by i used to be someone else at 8:27 PM on June 8 [6 favorites]


No matter how you slice it, yeah, I think shouting at people for asking what happened is an unhealthy move. I stepped in to say that because four or five people posting the same variation of YOU SUCK turns into a one-sided mob on metafilter pretty quickly.

"so by the time this metatalk rolls around, it's been a rather tiresome discussion"

Which clearly the asker didn't see, or they wouldn't have asked!

I didn't read the thread far enough to see past the "comments deleted" note, because that sounded like information I needed to know, it said the relevant information was deleted, and an ADD diagnosis means if I'd kept reading I would have forgotten about anything other than the cookies. Which clearly I should have done, but then you would have missed the opportunity to masturbate about how great you are, and how you never fail at googling and when you do google-fail you love having a bunch of people tell you how disappointing you are. Anyway, I read to the deleted note, and then thought oh no, did the Guardian do something awful? and popped right over to Metatalk before reading further.

Seriously, how can you not see what an outsize reaction that is. I heard something recently about how it's easier to scream at people in your own camp, because they're listening, they can be shamed, and people with deeply entrenched differing opinions can't. So it makes you feel like you're fixing something, when in reality you're not. But you are strongly alienating people, including people you pretend you're helping. Seriously.

So thanks for making my day a little worse. I really needed that today.
posted by liminal_shadows at 8:55 PM on June 8 [56 favorites]


the op had his question answered in that very thread. of course, you can't see that it came almost immediately after the OP's question there either, because it's been deleted, so. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So thanks for making my day a little worse. I really needed that today.

seems like it went both ways, because i'm coming away from this definitely feeling like you'd rather scold some someone in your own camp for having the very human reaction of frustration, thinking you're helping.
posted by i used to be someone else at 9:00 PM on June 8 [13 favorites]


The Guardian—specifically, the Guardian's UK division—has earned a reputation for propping up transphobic writers and pundits to the point where e.g. their own staff have organized protests against that practice.

Your link refers to Suzanne Moore's notorious article of March 2020, and the backlash against it from Guardian staff. Isn't it also worth mentioning that Moore ragequit the Guardian in November 2020 complaining of being censored? It seems odd to point to Moore as evidence of the Guardian's transphobia, when Moore herself claims that her views are no longer welcome at the paper. (Moore, by the way, has now gone full-on conspiracy theorist and claims that George Soros's Open Society Foundation is paying the Guardian to support trans rights.)

I'd say the Guardian has a tendency to speak with two voices on trans issues. There is the voice of older feminists like Moore who take a gender-essentialist position, and there is the voice of younger liberals who are far more sympathetic to trans rights. In this respect the Guardian accurately reflects a difference of opinion among its own staff and readers. (You could argue that this is what a responsible paper should be doing. On the other hand, you could accuse it of sitting on the fence. But to describe it as 'on the transphobia train'? That's going a bit far.)
posted by verstegan at 1:35 AM on June 9 [15 favorites]


As a non binary person, I really had very little idea the issues abound and appreciate these questions and the subsequent comments. I do not believe there is a discussion about not linking to the guardian because of this discrimination until this thread, but i may have missed something. Of course if i missed it that is my own fault. At least I know now.

I am an impacted person by these news agencies and choices, and really I did not know. I mention that as a gentle reminder that not everyone, even people who are a part of the lgbt community, can and so keep up with all of this stuff and even with similar information can have different opinions on what feels dismissive or harmful.

I don't mind that the link was there, and was labled as such, but the mod decision to remove the link and support of members who are hurt and impacted by this was absolutely the correct decision to make.

Anyway, I replied in the original thread, and my comment was deleted and that's fine. It was more dismissive than it should have been, and there is clearly plenty of reasons to not have that link. So, I stand corrected and apologize for any hurt feelings.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:40 AM on June 9 [12 favorites]


There are the following daily print national newspapers in the UK

1. Daily Telegraph
2. The Times
3. The Guardian
4. Financial Times
5. Daily Mail
6. Daily Express
7. Daily Mirror
8. Daily Star

Which of them are we allowed to link to?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:44 AM on June 9 [18 favorites]


Your link refers to Suzanne Moore's notorious article of March 2020

Why did you choose to address only the link that cortex provided and not the extensive documentation of the Guardian's transphobia provided by other comments in this thread?

In this respect the Guardian accurately reflects a difference of opinion among its own staff and readers. (You could argue that this is what a responsible paper should be doing.

I wonder what other prejudices and bigotries you think can be reduced to a difference of opinion and deserve to be platformed because some people hold them? Or is it just transphobia?
posted by death valley compound at 2:46 AM on June 9 [15 favorites]



In this respect the Guardian accurately reflects a difference of opinion among its own staff and readers. (You could argue that this is what a responsible paper should be doing.


This both sides-ism hasn't done any major news media such as the BBC any good. Arguably, newspapers should take a moral stance.

Which of them are we allowed to link to?

All major UK media have taken a serious turn to the hard right. Half of them are clearly tabloids so I don't think you seriously think anything they print is worthy of linking to here. That leaves the Daily Telegraph, The Times which are right-wing mouthpieces. The Guardian is the subject of this thread.

Perhaps it is just time to admit something that Stop Funding Hate has been pointing out for a long time: The media in the UK has a serious problem.
posted by vacapinta at 3:15 AM on June 9 [17 favorites]


It seems odd to point to Moore as evidence of the Guardian's transphobia, when Moore herself claims that her views are no longer welcome at the paper. (Moore, by the way, has now gone full-on conspiracy theorist and claims that George Soros's Open Society Foundation is paying the Guardian to support trans rights.)

On the one hand, we have everything cited here, including letters and resignations from Guardian employees. On the other hand, we have a claim from someone who, in your words,"has now gone full-on conspiracy theorist and claims that George Soros's Open Society Foundation is paying the Guardian to support trans rights". Your choice here is what seems odd.


In this respect the Guardian accurately reflects a difference of opinion among its own staff and readers. (You could argue that this is what a responsible paper should be doing. On the other hand, you could accuse it of sitting on the fence. But to describe it as 'on the transphobia train'? That's going a bit far.)

"If someone says it’s raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out of the fucking window and find out which is true."

You would argue that this is what a responsible paper should be doing, if you believe that there is validity in the gender essentialist position. I don't think this is accepted on MeFi anymore.

But maybe this explains some of the frustration and pushback? Maybe having most of the press in the country you live in turn against you (we had this question a few days ago:
"As the title says, I'm looking for suggestions for alternative news sites to The Guardian. I'm in the UK, politically left, and am happy to pay for an online subscription. For context, I've cancelled my Guardian sub due to their trans rights coverage."
– note the lack of solid options in the answers) – maybe that puts you somewhat on edge? Maybe it is absurd to think that this is to "masturbate about how great you are, and how you never fail at googling", instead of about trying not to once again get to "You could argue that this is what a responsible paper should be doing"?
posted by catchingsignals at 3:26 AM on June 9 [6 favorites]


Your link refers to Suzanne Moore's notorious article of March 2020, and the backlash against it from Guardian staff. Isn't it also worth mentioning that Moore ragequit the Guardian in November 2020 complaining of being censored? It seems odd to point to Moore as evidence of the Guardian's transphobia, when Moore herself claims that her views are no longer welcome at the paper.

As of March 2020 was the start? Remember the Juliet Jacques column like... ten years ago? That was 100% “look at us, we’re not transphobic” after an appalling article by Julie Bindel (I think, but it might have been Moore).

The Guardian has always been willing to publish opinion pieces that push the line (I remember a Gerry Adams one in particular), but this isn’t that. They’ve been running hateful transphobic pieces by a handful of writers for years. So, no, Moore quitting in a huff doesn’t mean “problem solved”, there’s a big hole to dig out of.

And, yes, this stuff does make the US Guardian main page. You may not be attuned to either transphobia generally or transphobia masquerading as feminism in particular to notice.
posted by hoyland at 4:30 AM on June 9 [8 favorites]


There are the following daily print national newspapers in the UK...
Which of them are we allowed to link to?
"Assume good faith," the expectation is here.

If this question is in good faith, then I would kindly ask that commenter to consider what the original request was: to be more mindful about using Guardian links when writing FPPs specifically dealing with LGBTQ/Queer topics.

Quite literally, the original comment, since removed, and replaced with a mod note that seems to have only helped to generate more heat than light, asked that and only that--not even a blanket ban on Guardian links for Queer stuff, just a, "Hey, they're pretty transphobic, maybe we consider not using them on these topics?"
posted by i used to be someone else at 5:20 AM on June 9 [16 favorites]


But this kind of attitude is exactly why I didn't ask about the name thing. I didn't want to get torched and called a racist, and I 100% knew that it would.

"torched"? Never fails that people use intensely violent language to describe the mean, mean POC who live in their head and are just SO MEAN

like if you want to make a metatalk about how mean people are about racism here, then do it. Or I guess take shots like this and then when people get irritated, put it in your POC ARE SO MEAN file and continue to be justified in your own distorted perceptions without ever engaging with the relevant issues. either way. but "I've heard this name pronounced a few ways, is there a standard or more common pronunciation that people are aware of that is the "best guess" or is the best thing to do to ask?" would not get you "torched" or "impaled" or "brutalized" or whatever
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:00 AM on June 9 [16 favorites]


In any case, for an example of how the institutional transphobia bleeds into actual reporting at the Guardian: 1, 2, on an article that was referenced in this comment. As the tweets point out, the reason for the tweets being reported isn't the transphobia so much as the fact that some of them were actively threatening:
I would just put this down like a rabid rat, this is a predator who needs a thorough check on his head and his hard drive
...except the article frames it as free speech between allowing transphobia and opposing it.

And then we see that the writer of said article (and not an op-ed!), Libby Brooks, characterized in a Guardian article from this February the updates to the Scottish hate crime bill as such (emphasis mine):
the bill that is passing through Holyrood criminalises, among other things, the stirring up of hatred against cross-dressing people, thereby protecting men who dress as women, but not the stirring up of hatred against women
Of course, when one goes to see the notes for this bill provided by the government of Scotland, and their policy memo, the goal is to extend to include and update definitions regarding trans people in the legislation.

To frame it in a Guardian article--again, not op-ed, not an editorial, but newsroom--as protecting "men who dress as women" is not only a misrepresentation of the law, but echoes an oft-repeated transphobic bullhorn that denies the legitimacy of trans women's gender by misrepresenting who trans women are.

So no, it's not just about Suzanne Moore. It's institutional.

And again: the original request wasn't a blanket ban on linking to the Guardian. It wasn't asking for it to even be excluded on discussions of feminism, women's liberation or anything else. It wasn't asking to never see it in a Queer FPP. It was to maybe consider alternate sources instead of the Guardian.
posted by i used to be someone else at 7:01 AM on June 9 [23 favorites]


Hey, so, I'm going to close this. I apologize if things were unclear. The upshot is, the reasonable suggestion was made early in that thread to avoid linking to the Guardian on trans-related issues, the original poster immediately asked for the link to be removed so we did that and because it was so early in the thread, removed the comment that had been pointing to the now-no-longer-there link, and left a note trying to say that the suggestion was adopted. As noted above there's a lot of history of the Guardian being bad on these issues, so yes, we're adopting that suggestion and in general will ask folks not to link to them on trans-related stuff, which probably will involve some ongoing talking with posters who just aren't aware about why it'd be better to choose a different link, etc. It's okay to ask "huh? what's that about?" if you don't know, and I think that's been answered now. But it's not okay to treat this as some kind of debate; the Guardian's track record on this is unfortunately pretty clearcut. (Thanks for collecting the links about the Guardian's history on this, i used to be someone else.) I don't want this thread to give the impression that this is a place to argue about it, so I'm going to close this thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:09 AM on June 9 [28 favorites]


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