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August 24, 2012 6:16 pm

Guardian Caves in to Bullying on Josh Trevino

avatar by Hadar Sela

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Josh Trevino.

joint press statement just published announced that Joshua Trevino and the Guardian “have mutually agreed to go [their] separate ways”.

So, the Guardian has rounded off a week and a half of despicable treatment of a new employee (including a torrent of deliberately un-moderated abuse under his debut article) by caving in to the organised bullying campaign executed by Ali Abunimah and his minions.

Whilst the press statement regarding the Guardian’s parting of ways with Joshua Trevino cites another patently ridiculous reason for the termination of what could possibly be the shortest contract in the history of journalism, it is all too obvious that the real background is the recent high-profile – and often vicious – campaign against Trevino.

Strikingly, the Guardian does not even have the guts to admit that it has succumbed to the pressures of extremists and instead, cynically contrives a breach of conflict of interest under its editorial code as the pretext for terminating Trevino while ignoring  the real reason behind his termination.

No doubt Abunimah and company will soon be crowing from the rooftops, but their ‘victory’ is a Pyrrhic one because it has exposed once and for all the fact that their favourite Trojan horse of terror-condoning extremism in the guise of a mainstream media outlet is susceptible to pressures from a tiny, but vocal, minority which includes Hamas supporters, terror excusers and racists.

One doubts very much that the majority of the Guardian’s already drastically dwindling print readership will be content with the knowledge that freedom of speech in their newspaper of choice is dictated by a tiny cult of extremist cranks. Not only has Ali Abunimah succeeded in exposing the sad truth that comment is anything but free, he has in addition proved that facts are far from sacred.

He has also exposed himself and his fellow travellers for the crude bullies that they are. Had Josh Trevino tweeted anti-Semitic comparisons between Israel and the Nazi regime, support for a proscribed terror organisation or the annihilation of a certain sovereign state, he would have kept his job and inevitably become a darling of the anti-Israel crowd.

Instead, Abunimah has made a mockery of the right to freedom of expression by insisting that anyone who holds opinions different to his own not only forfeits the right to be heard, but also forfeits the right to employment – at least at a newspaper which anti-Israel campaigners appear (not without reason) to think they control.

One cannot but conclude that ultimately, Joshua Trevino will thank his lucky stars that he got out of an association with a media outlet which meekly allows itself to be dictated to by the likes of Ali Abunimah. But this whole mismanaged farce also makes one wonder about the current quality of relations between the Editor of CiF America, Matt Seaton and  Guardian US Editor in Chief, Janine Gibson (who only ten days ago was proudly announcing the addition of Trevino to the US team) and their London-based colleagues who so clearly and very publicly undermined that acquisition by publishing the letter of complaint headed by Sarah Colborne of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

After all, the bottom line of this story is not about a writer named Joshua Trevino, but about the Stalinesque silencing of certain brands of opinion by intolerant extremist bullies.

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  • David Bell

    Watch ’em squeal when their hate comes back to bite ’em! Oooh! Poor me! Play the victim card while calling for murder! Good riddance Mr Tevino!

  • raymonddelauney

    When you come to think about it, The Guardian employs Mr Trevino for just the one article. A mawkish column full of hubris, for his incitements to murder, in which he commits Johanhari, or ritual journalistic suicide. The saintly Mr Rusbridger then has the last laugh in, regrettably, firing him. What’s not to like? Champagne all round!!

  • The readership of THE GUARDIAN if you turn the clock back 75 years would have all subscribed to DER STURMER……Trevino writing for THE GUARDIAN made no sense…Heydrich writing for THE GUARDIAN( I’m sure THE GUARDIAN ‘s readership wishes someone like Heydrich would write for it)would make perfect sense: he not only HATED Jews…he killed thousands of them: the kind of animal every GUARDIAN reader admires.

    • quercus

      Oops, Mr. Sherman, as soon as you use the word ‘animal’ you put yourself into the ranks of Heydrich and those you CLAIM to despise.

  • Phan Nguyen

    Treviño’s supporters consistently fail to note that he had lied about comments he had made and then tried to blame his offensive remarks on “Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry, and the broad sweep of American opinion.”

    It is ultimately irrelevant whether you agreed with him politically or whether you felt his commentary was an important contribution to public discourse. A writer who lies and refuses to take responsibility for his words is a liability to any publication that values journalistic integrity, and NO self-respecting editor should accept that.

    I was offended by many of Treviño remarks, especially the numerous comments he made joking about the death of a friend of mine. Yet I would not have joined the calls for the Guardian to drop Treviño had he not issued his cowardly “clarification,” in which he attempted to shirk responsibility in the guise of a noncommittal apology.

    At that point, I felt he was making a mockery of journalism.

    This is as much an issue of free speech as were the cases of Jonah Lehrer and Fareed Zakaria. At least in those cases, the violators eventually owned up to their actions, rather than claim that “Rick Perry made me tweet it.”

    Finally, although the Guardian timidly resorted to conflict of interest as the cause to sever ties with him, that is also a legitimate concern.

    The fuss over ideology and supposed censorship is an easy way for reporters and commentators to gloss over the more relevant issue of journalistic ethics and integrity.

  • kf

    wait, so facing the consequences in calling for the death of people defending oppressed people amounts to bullying? that is not reality.

  • cjm

    Well, Josh thinks that concerns over bullying amount to “hysteria,” so I’m guessing he’s fine with people bullying him.