Criticising Monbiot isn’t ‘demonisation’. It’s a first step on the path to reclaiming our minds

10 October 2020 — Jonathan Cook

The other day I wrote a piece criticising Guardian columnist George Monbiot for his failure to speak out loudly in support of Julian Assange during last month’s hearings in which the United States has been seeking to extradite the Wikileaks founder so that he can be locked away for the rest of his life on bogus “espionage charges”. Continue reading

Media Lens: Limits Of Dissent – Glenn Greenwald And The Guardian

6 December 2018 — Media Lens

When we think of prisons, we tend to think of Alcatraz, Bang Kwang and Belmarsh with their guard towers, iron bars and concrete. But in his forthcoming book, ’33 Myths of the System’, Darren Allen invites us to imagine a prison with walls made entirely of vacuous guff:

‘Censorship is unnecessary in a system in which everyone can speak, but only those guaranteed not to say anything worth listening to can be heard.’

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Media Lens: ‘An Impeachable Offence’ – Professor Postol and Syria

26 April 2017 — Media Lens

It is hard to believe that just three weeks ago the entire corporate media was in uproar over Syria; specifically, about the need to ‘do something’ in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, Idlib, Syria, on April 4. Guardian commentator George Monbiot summed up the corporate media zeitgeist:

‘Do those who still insist Syrian govt didn’t drop chemical weapons have any idea how much evidence they are denying?’

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Media Lens: ‘Sworn Enemies’? A Response To George Monbiot

6 November, 2012Media Lens

‘Sworn Enemies’? A Response To George Monbiot

Hi George

It’s good to know that your email is intended in a ‘friendly and constructive spirit’, and not as a follow-up to something you wrote of us three weeks earlier: ‘I could spend my life unpicking their falsehoods. Perhaps I should, cos no one else is.’

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Media Lens: Game Over For The Climate?

19 June, 2012 — Media Lens

Whatever happened to the green movement? It’s been 50 years since the publication of Rachel Carson’s classic Silent Spring, a powerful book about the environmental devastation wreaked by chemical pesticides. Since then we’ve had the rise and fall – or at least the compromised assimilation – of green groups such as Friends of the EarthGreenpeace and Forum For the Future.

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Media Lens: Snow, White And The Two Daves – The Guardian Responds

2 February, 2012 — Media Lens

Our most recent media alert, Silence Of The Lambs, created a small ripple in the Guardian universe. We had asked why even the paper’s most radical journalists, Seumas Milne and George Monbiot, are silent on the propaganda role of the liberal media, particularly the Guardian, in propping up power. We noted that, in this regard, they are no different from other journalists. Of course, it is obvious why any corporate employee would be reluctant to criticise his or her employer in public; but our primary intention was to shine some light on an issue that is never discussed. After all, the Guardian sells itself as a vanguard of liberal journalism, holding power to account and hosting wide-ranging debate. The reality is different.

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Media Lens: Silence Of The Lambs

25 January, 2012 — Media Lens

Seumas Milne, George Monbiot & ‘Media Analysis’ In The Guardian Wonderland

One of the original aims of Media Lens, when we began in 2001, was to engage in honest, open and rational debate with journalists working for major news organisations. It wasn’t about ‘bashing’ them or trying to make them look bad. We wanted to examine media assumptions, challenge journalists’ arguments and find out more about the unwritten rules of ‘responsible’ reporting.

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ColdType, December 2011

1 December 2011 — ColdType

In this month’s 64-page COLDTYPE MAGAZINE (By the way it’s free)
Cover story is Felicity Arbuthnot’s impassioned indictment of the hypocrisy of the Western world’s celebration of Remembrance Day at the same time as political leaders are sending their armed forces on missions of slaughter against some of the poorest nations on earth. Other stories include the end/beginning of the Occupy movement and its surge towards a social and political revolution in North America, an alternative look at the legacy of Steve Jobs, the war on drugs (and family pets), America’s 51st state and much more. Writers include John Dugard, Jason Leopold, John Pilger, George Monbiot, Chris Hedges, Michael I. Niman, David Cromwell and Elizabeth Murray – Tony Sutton, Editor

PLUS: 2 Book Excerpts and 2 Essays

  1. Goldfinger is a 44-page excerpt from Greg Palast’s best-selling Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores.
  2. Olivia’s Story comes from Robin Levy & Ayelet Waldman’s new book Inside This Place, Not Of It: Narratives From Women’s Prisons.

In addition, we have two stimulating full-length essays:

  1. Civil Society at Ground Zero, a reflection on the Occupation at New York’s Zuccotti Park, by Rebecca Solnit.
  2. How To Steal A Navy, the story of a valiant sea rescue at the end of the Vietnam War, by Don North

Hope you enjoy; if not please contact me at

Tony Sutton, Editor

Media Lens: A ‘Malign Intellectual Subculture’ – George Monbiot Smears Chomsky, Herman, Peterson, Pilger And Media Lens

2 August 2011 — Media Lens

On June 13, George Monbiot devoted his Guardian column to naming and shaming a ‘malign intellectual subculture that seeks to excuse savagery by denying the facts’. ‘The facts’, Monbiot noted, ‘are the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda.’

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28 September, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media


In a despairing article in the Guardian last week, George Monbiot described the true extent of the failure to respond to the threat of climate change. Beyond all the bluster and rhetoric, Monbiot wrote, “there is not a single effective instrument for containing man-made global warming anywhere on earth.” It is, quite simply, “the greatest political failure the world has ever seen”.

Monbiot explained:

“Greens are a puny force by comparison to industrial lobby groups, the cowardice of governments and the natural human tendency to deny what we don’t want to see.” (George Monbiot, ‘Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it’s dead’, Comment is Free, 20 September, 2010;

The lobby groups are indeed powerful. But the notion of government “cowardice” is a classic liberal herring – the problem has always been the government +alliance+ with corporate power, not its “cowardice”.

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Why do we allow the US to act like a failed state on climate change? By George Monbiot

26 June, 2009 – Monbiot’s blog

The Waxman-Markey climate bill is the best we will get from America until the corruption of public life is addressed

‘Whether he is seeking environmental reforms, health reforms or any other
improvement in the life of the American people, Obama’s real challenge
is to address corruption of public life in the United States.’
Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

It would be laughable anywhere else. But, so everyone says, the Waxman-Markey bill which is likely to be passed in Congress today or tomorrow, is the best we can expect – from America.

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Media Lens: The Guardian, Climate And Advertising – An Open Email To George Monbiot

15 June, 2009 – MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

Dear George,

In a recent blog you rightly insist that: ‘Newspapers must stop taking advertising from environmental villains.’ (

On July 2, 2007 we wrote to you suggesting a possible first step:

“Could newspapers begin by refusing the worst fossil fuel advertising – SUVs [sports utility vehicles], for example?” (

In your blog, you call for similar action:

“What I am asking is for the newspapers to refine their view of which advertisements are and are not acceptable. Specifically, I am calling on them in the first instance to drop ads for cars which produce more than 150g of CO2/km, and to drop direct advertising for flights, on the grounds that both these products cause unequivocal and unnecessary harm to the environment.”

To even raise this possibility is an achievement in the current corporate media context. But that context is important. In his film, The Corporation, Canadian lawyer Joel Bakan assessed the corporate ‘personality’ using diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organisation. Bakan’s conclusion:

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MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

4 December, 2008

The Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, posted the following on our website message board yesterday:

“Can this be true?

“If so, I think I have reason to feel aggrieved.”

The link was to a blog by Bob Shone. Shone has, himself, long felt aggrieved by our criticism of Iraq Body Count (IBC), of which he is a passionate supporter. In response, he has smeared us whenever and wherever he can across the web. Perhaps because we have written less about IBC over the last couple of years, Shone has branched out by, for example, misrepresenting our criticism of Nick Davies‘s book Flat Earth News.

In his latest blog, Shone writes:

“Medialens stress that journalists should ‘subject their host media to serious and sustained criticism’ (Alert, 3/5/03). They’ve attacked Guardian columnist George Monbiot for not being more critical of the Guardian.* Yet, in a single Guardian article (The Lies of the Press), Monbiot wrote more words criticising the Guardian than Medialens wrote criticising the New Statesman (NS) in their entire run of NS columns.” (

Monbiot comments on our message board:

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Media Lens: ‘Living Our Values’: Guardian News & Media And The Climate – Part 1

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

November 25, 2008


Last week, Guardian News & Media (GNM) published ‘Living Our Values’, an independently audited account of the company’s annual performance on sustainability issues. GNM, which encompasses the Guardian, the Observer and, claims to have strong environmental ambitions. Its ongoing mission: to seek out and “explore subjects like climate change, environmental degradation and social inequality” in ever greater depth.

The Guardian’s ultimate aim is to be nothing less than “the world’s leading liberal voice”. (Siobhain Butterworth, ‘Open door. The readers’ editor on… the Guardian’s green and global mission,’ November 17, 2008)

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MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

December 18, 2007

News that British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons had been jailed in Sudan after allowing her pupils to call a teddy bear Mohammed fed straight into the UK media’s hate factory and its “war for civilisation”.

The Gibbons story was mentioned in a massive 257 articles in UK national newspapers in the first week, providing an excuse to boost claims of “genocide” in Sudan in 10 of these.

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Media Lens: Advertising Climate Disaster – The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor Responds

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

November 1, 2007

The Guardian this week published an article by the readers’ editor, Siobhain Butterworth, discussing “the contradiction between what the Guardian has to say about environmental issues and what it advertises”. (Butterworth, ‘Open door – The readers’ editor on… the contradiction between what we say and the ads we run,’ The Guardian, October 29, 2007;,,2200887,00.html)

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Media Lens: Giving The Climate Camp A Good Telling Off!

MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

August 23, 2007

Guardian Environment Editor Lambasts the Heathrow Climate Camp’s ‘Media Mismanagement’

Last week’s peaceful protests at the Heathrow Camp for Climate Action ( were a heartening sign of sanity in response to the huge climate threat facing us. Activists drew attention to the role of aviation in global warming, conducted seminars on climate science and undertook a series of nonviolent demonstrations. A mass siege even temporarily shut down the national headquarters of British Airports Authority (BAA), owners of Heathrow airport.

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