Corbyn, Chomsky & now Nicaragua: Is Guardian newspaper scourge of the left it once championed?
An open letter has slammed the Guardian for “wildly inaccurate coverage of Nicaragua.” It's the latest condemnation of a newspaper which positions itself as a champion of the left, but is increasingly accused of attacking it.
The letter, signed by some 28 activists, accused the paper of disproportionately reporting on the country’s embattled left-wing government, headed up by Daniel Ortega.
Since April, the country has been riven with violent protests and government counter-measures, in which 300 people have reportedly died. The protests, that originate from across the political spectrum, were instigated, in part, by planned reforms to the social security system, with demonstrators demanding the reforms be abandoned. Ortega agreed to that, but refused to hold early elections.
The open letter, which was co-signed by journalists Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal as well as lawyers, human rights activists and others, slams the publication, stating: “Despite plentiful evidence of opposition violence, almost all your 17 reports since mid-April blame Daniel Ortega’s government for the majority of deaths that have occurred.”
The letter, published on Blumenthal’s Grayzone project, states that “not once do you refer to the numerous deaths of government supporters or the 21 deaths and hundreds of injuries suffered by the police, including the killing of four policemen observing a ‘peace’ demonstration on July 12.
“You do not refer to detailed evidence that opposition groups benefit from millions of dollars in US funding aimed at ‘nurturing’ the Nicaraguan uprising (theglobalamericans.org, May 1).”
According to a note above the letter, the Guardian refused to publish the document.
The violence in Nicaragua has been framed in a similar way to the protests that rocked Venezuela in 2017. Some 163 people died in clashes between protesters and police. The violence was enacted by both sides, although Western media were repeatedly called out for diminishing the crimes of the protesters, while amplifying the government’s robust and often violent response.
The Guardian was singled out by Jorge Martin, the secretary of the ‘Hands Off Venezuela’ solidarity campaign, for publishing “misleading statements,” in relation to it’s coverage of the Venezuelan opposition.
The publication also faced censure over it’s coverage of renowned left-wing scholar Noam Chomsky, again in relation to Venezuela.
The linguist denounced a piece headlined: ‘Noam Chomsky criticises old friend Hugo Chávez for 'assault' on democracy.’ In an email exchange with, and published by Alek Boyd, Chomsky wrote: “Let’s begin with the headline: complete deception... You can tell by simply comparing the actual quotes with their comments...the NY Times report of a similar interview is much more honest, again revealing the extreme dishonesty of the Guardian.”
Closer to home the publication has faced accusations of bias against left-wing Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. In his book ‘The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power,’ author Alex Nunns noted the sustained and varied attack on Corbyn from the paper’s columnists, writing that “with a few exceptions, the big names at the Guardian and Observer proved relentlessly hostile to Corbyn.”
The circulation of the Guardian, along with almost all British newspapers, has dramatically fallen in recent years. Critics suggest its reputation as a champion of the left has fallen with it.
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