As Noam Chomsky has often remarked: ‘liberal bias is extremely important in a sophisticated system of propaganda.’ One major news outlet that Chomsky had in mind was the New York Times, but the same applies in the UK. As a senior British intelligence official noted of the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan:
It is always helpful for governments who want to get the Guardian readers of the world on board to have a humanitarian logic.
This suggests that respected liberal media like the New York Times and Guardian are key battlegrounds in the relentless elite efforts to control public opinion.
On January 15, the Guardian was relaunched as a tabloid with a ‘new look’. Katharine Viner, the paper’s editor, proclaimed in all seriousness:
We have a special relationship with our readers. This relationship is not just about the news; it’s about a shared sense of purpose and a commitment to understand and illuminate our times. We feel a deep sense of duty and responsibility to our readers to honour the trust you place in us.
Those words – ‘shared sense of purpose and commitment’, ‘duty’, ‘responsibility’, ‘honour’, ‘trust’ – imply an openness to readers’ comments, even to criticism; an important point to which we return below.
We have grounded our new editions in the qualities readers value most in Guardian journalism: clarity, in a world where facts should be sacred but are too often overlooked; imagination, in an age in…