I’ve been a Guardian reader for 40 years, but no longer. Here’s why. 

Today, I received a routine email from the Guardian regarding my ongoing subscription to the paper. I have been a regular reader of the Guardian for 40 years including as a subscriber in recent years. But no longer.

My email explaining why is listed below.

Hi there

Thank you for your recent email.

It has prompted me to contact you regarding my Guardian subscription.

I have bought the Guardian since the age of 12; I am now 52. I have always considered the paper to be fair and on the side of people who are trying to make a difference. The paper’s campaigning work is well known and rightly so. Even though I have not always agreed with the paper’s leaders and editorial line, mostly I have and one of the main reasons I have supported the paper for 40 years has been its left of centre position on the issues of the day.

Lately however, that support has been sorely tested. Your recommendation for people to vote for the Lib Dems at the 2010 general election (which helped to usher in a disastrous coalition government) was bad enough and a big thing for me which made me think long and hard but I stuck with you. However your current coverage of the Labour leadership election has become the last straw for me.

Ever since he was elected, your coverage of Jeremy Corbyn and the very many tens of thousands of people who support him has been the antithesis of the fair journalism and comment you have become known for. The recent leadership campaign coverage and that of the failed coup has displayed a shocking bias and can in no way be construed as fair. This bias, which has been confirmed by a number of academic studies, is not solely confined to the Guardian, but given your history and my previous views of the paper, frankly I expect better from you.

And I say this as a practising journalist myself.

Both in the printed paper and online you have carried a series of articles and news updates that have often relied on tittle tattle and smears from opponents of Jeremy Corbyn. Even when (rarely) reporting the view from the other side, this is usually accompanied by a snide comment or other ‘news’ to discredit the Corbyn campaign. 

I have tried to understand why this might be. I get that the Guardian is probably the most widely read broadsheet paper amongst Labour members and that there will no doubt be a massive PR effort from those who oppose Corbyn to secure coverage for their point of view, but many of your journalists seem to be playing a full and active part in that effort. I’m sure that many of them are probably personally opposed to the Corbyn campaign – the Guardian has been an ‘alma mater’ for many Labour MPs and their advisors in the past – but that is absolutely no excuse for your continuing biased, unbalanced and unfair coverage.
The latest example is your bottom front page lead today on the situation in Angela Eagle’s Merseyside constituency party, which appeared the day after one of the largest political meetings seen in Liverpool in recent years. The article is based on unsubstantiated comments from unnamed Eagle supporters and Corbyn opponents and is clearly an attempt to smear local party members before they meet this week to discuss a situation where their party was closed down undemocratically by Labour’s NEC with no inquiry or evidence being heard.

This is not the ‘journalism’ I expect from the Guardian and I am no longer prepared to put up with it. It is for that reason and with the utmost regret that I have decided to cancel my regular subscription to the paper. I cannot in all conscience continue to support such journalism in the way I do currently and I never thought I would ever say that. I have principles though and if they mean anything then I feel I have to end my 40-year support for the Guardian.

I hope that at some point you manage to rediscover that radical approach, cutting edge and fair mindedness which brought me to your paper in the first place, but until then, I’m afraid it’s goodbye from me.

Please cancel my subscription with immediate effect. I have asked my bank to stop my regular payments to you.

Andy Walker

29 responses to “I’ve been a Guardian reader for 40 years, but no longer. Here’s why. 

  1. Reblogged this on Mutterings from the Left and commented:
    This is excellent.

  2. Wirral In It Together

    Reblogged this on Wirral In It Together and commented:
    Superb. The heat rises on a failing, navel gazing newspaper that has completely lost its way… The Guardian

  3. Excellent article. If it’s any consultation there are many who will be following you in cancelling their subscription too, and for the very reasons you have pointed to.

    Excellent point regarding Angela Eagle, and the turn out for Jeremy Corbyn in Liverpool last night, almost being completely ignored. It hammered The Guardian’s blatant bias home. Here was me thinking it was only The Sun who treated the Liverpool working classes with utter contempt.

    No doubt the anti Corbyn media bandwagon will roll on regardless, but we are Jeremy Corbyn’s media, on Facebook, Twitter and various other political forums.

    That is a powerful tool in our hands, and until they can find a way to pull ” the master switch” it will remain so. Hardcopy is going the way of the Video, CD and DVD anyway. It won’t be too long before it’s little more than a voice in the political wilderness. The bewildered herd are beginning to wake up.

  4. Reblogged this on Trying to Keep Calm and commented:
    Quite right too!

  5. I am 67 and in the past have been covered in your articles when a TU official in BT. They were fair articles covering both sides. However your coverage of Jeremy Corbyn has been a disgrace. Eagle and other MPs have alleged intimidation by his supporters with no proof but which you have reported. In this day and age with all mobile phones having recording and video facilities it would be easy to get proof of so called intimidation. However none is forthcoming and your journalists have not sought it in any way. I could expand but feel it would be a waste of my time. Shame on you.

    • Very good points made Phil, especially regarding mobile phones. The problem we have on the Guardian, and I dare say at other news organisations, is that journalist believe that as long as there are quotes from both sides then the article is balanced. They give no thought to the background to the article, its nuance and where and when it appears in the news hierarchy. Take that Eagle intimidation piece on the Guardian yesterday. I had a long conversation on Twitter with a Guardian journalist who said that it was fine because it quoted JC supporters. Of course the allegations from the other side were anonymous and based on smear and unsubstantiated statements. To place such a piece masquerading as serious journalism on the front page, on the day of the Wallasey meeting to discuss the issues surrounding the party’s suspension by the NEC, was a joke.

      Thankfully though, more than 300 people turned up to that meeting and discussed all the issues in a comradely way. Given the massive turnout at the meeting from
      Party members in Angela Eagle’s own back yard, perhaps it is there that we can find the real reason for the action taken by the NEC and the regular attempts to smear members that have taken place subsequently.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Phil.

  6. Well said. You’re more patient than me. I stopped paying for Guardian “journalism” when the paper backed the LibDems.

  7. Reblogged this on #makingthechange and commented:
    Exactly describes my thoughts and explains why I too cancelled my Guardian subscription a year ago.

    Beautifully put, Mr Walker, well done for speaking up! To my shame, I didn’t speak up when I left the Guardian behind.

    • Many people have left the Guardian because the Guardian has left them behind. Thank you for taking the time to comment Amanda.

  8. I just reblogged this:
    A beautifully written piece which so accurately describes my reasons for cancelling my subscription. Well done, Mr Walker. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  9. Reblogged this on jeanid123 and commented:
    Well said. I no longer read the Guardian either it is so unbalanced.

  10. I read that the Guardian has been sold and that the new owners do not share the political views of the traditional Guardian reader. If this is true, the move to the Right is probably a deliberate policy, to reflects this reality.
    Apparently, the readership of the Guardian is now declining, as many Guardian readers are noticing the difference.
    I have also noticed that the Daily Mirror are more right-wing than they would admit. It is not as noticeable as the Guardian, but it’s there.
    Funny enough, the Morning Star is enjoying a boost as many left-leaning ex-Guardian readers find that it offers a much more realistic view of the world. It is a bit on the thin side, but there are not page upon page of adverts and sport. The nice thing is that it is owned by it’s readers, which means that it does not have to run things past a right-wing owner: a refreshing change.

  11. Well said I used to read the Guardian regularly like you, but I have found it impossible to take the bias and the prevalence of an establishment view on seemingly every topic. I stopped reading quite a while ago. Though I have had their app on my phone to follow their sport, but I uninstalled that last week as the final act of separation. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

  12. Spot on.
    News is supposed to be reported by and not caused by the media outlets.

  13. I didn’t go as far as subscribing, but I frequently bought the paper. I can’t even remember the last time I did that.

  14. Exactly what I feel too. I would never dream of buying another paper, but recent departures from its true nature have saddened me beyond belief. It is as if I can’t trust anything or anyone any more. Another hero has died this year. It is the Guardian.

  15. Grenville Wade

    Why not read the only daily newspaper which supports Jeremy Corbyn: The Morning Star.

  16. I too have been utterly sad that the one place of sanctuary for politicos like me had become a hotbed for the ‘anything against Jeremy Corbyn’ supporters.

    The country is missing the whole point about the movement of people who would not vote if they were paid to, who are now mobilised and motivated because of the socialist fairness they see in Jeremy Corbyn.

    I had already stopped my weekday subscription to the Guardian in favour of the weekend Guardian but even that has become intolerable.

    Is it the new editor? Who knows but the whole shebang is going to disappear if they too get blinded by the right wing of the Labour Party.

  17. I have been so confused by the lack of balance re Corbyn reportage that I feel genuine relief to read the above. Not just me then!

  18. Reblogged this on crackedmirrors and angelpie and commented:
    I am sticking with the Guardian in the absence of any other independent (hopefully a word that can still be applied most of the time) media. However I share this blogger’s concern about the biased reporting of the Corbyn campaign – the fact that the Guardian’s coverage has been slightly fairer than that of the BBC offers little mitigation. Come on Guardian journalists and editors, time to retrieve your good reputation. You can hardly afford to be losing longstanding supporters.

    • Thanks for commenting Diana. I felt like you did for some time but I could not continue supporting the paper any longer. A lot of their coverage has been a disgrace to journalism and an affront to fairness. I would like to see the Guardian return to its radical roots as a campaigning paper. I am in discussions with a few people with a view to formulating a campaign to try and achieve that. Watch this space.

  19. Sobering comments. I have reblogged too. I am sticking with the Guardian, largely because it is the only remotely independently owned national newspaper. I think it has got worse since Rusbridger left, but there are some very good journalists, especially those who report on medical/ social issues. As a matter of interest, apart from the Morning Star (which is not an option in our household) what on earth alternative paper do people choose? One with good football coverage is essential!

    • It’s difficult Diana. I picked up the star this evening to have a look but I wouldn’t buy it regularly. I get a lot of my news from the web and social media links to established newspaper website stories. The Guardian’s content is free and I will look at some of that. I may even subscribe to their app but I refuse to pay £50 a month to them when they are traducing a cause I believe in. I sympathise with you on football coverage. I actually think the Guardian football coverage has gone way down in recent years. Again, I catch up by reading journalists from various papers on line.
      In terms of alternative papers, I don’t think there are any in the mainstream media. I think it is good that there is some very good writing on sites like The Canary and Medium (where Paul Mason is outstanding) and many more besides. I would like the campaign I am working on to highlight the non mainstream media too as well as pointing out the need for a decent radical alternative elsewhere.
      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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