How the news is reported shapes the news, and the Guardians fierce candor about corruption, destruction and brutality matters
Ive probably reached the maximum number of times you can watch the archetypal American Christmas movie, Its a Wonderful Life, but one thing about it will always stick with me: the idea that you can measure the impact of someone or something by imagining their absence.
In the film, we get to see how bleak the town and many individual lives in it would be had the protagonist never been born. In the current world climate, its easy to imagine how much bleaker the political landscape would be were the Guardian not hard at work on so many fronts.
Without the Guardian there would be a huge hole in our understanding of the world, a terrible lack in the information available to us. How the news is reported shapes the news, and the Guardians fierce candor about corruption, destruction and brutality so often described elsewhere only in euphemisms matters.
The Guardian is not burdened by the fictions of both-sides-ism; its confidently committed to human rights, democracy and the environment. In 1921, on the centennial of the papers founding, its editor in chief wrote, One of the virtues, perhaps almost the chief virtue, of a newspaper is its independence, and the Guardian remains perhaps the most independent of major English-language newspapers not swayed by wealthy owners or advertisers, not deferential to political authority, ferocious in its exposure of corporate corruption.
As an American, I have turned to the Guardian since 9/11 for a view of geopolitics uncluttered by the conventions and deference to status quo that afflict most US media. As a climate activist Ive been grateful for the only major newspaper to give the climate emergency the attention it needs big front-page stories, the amplification of climate voices such as Greta Thunberg and Naomi Klein, and on-the-ground coverage of the Standing Rock protests.
As a writer, Ive been thrilled to see the Guardian make bold decisions about the implicit bias in language, such as rejecting the anti-choice movements propaganda term fetal heartbeats for embryos who are not fetuses and have not developed hearts, to replacing the term climate change with the more appropriate climate crisis.
As a resident of the outskirts of Silicon Valley, Ive also been grateful for the unsparing reporting and analysis on the tech industry by reporters like Julia Carrie Wong and Guardian contributors like Siva Vaidhyanathan and Veena Dubal. In 2013, the Guardian journalist Ewen MacAskill was part of the first team reporting on Edward Snowdens revelations about the NSAs vast surveillance operations on ordinary people. The Guardians sister publication, the Observer, broke the story of Cambridge Analyticas shady dealings with Facebook data.
Subtract all this and we have a lot less oversight of, and insight into, what the powerful are doing. We are less equipped as citizens to exercise our own power on behalf of the vulnerable and in defense of a livable future. The Guardian supports our power and our future, which is why Im arguing for returning the favor. Its a wonderful newspaper.