I take it that Norman refers to the Guardian, when he says:
In a far off land, the question has arisen whether a certain newspaper is a conduit for anti-Semitism. Some think so, and others think not.
I’ll play a short substitution game with the next two paragraphs in his piece, which in their original version describe the state of play in relation to the media treatment of Jews. The originals can be found here. My version below:
Those who think so point out that the newspaper in question provides space in its pages for the opinions of people on record as hating socialists; space also for those justifying the elimination of socialism from British politics; and space also for writers who deploy well-known anti-socialist themes even while professing that they have nothing whatever against socialism but are merely critics of Labour.
Those who think the paper in question is not a conduit for anti-socialism argue that it can’t be because it has socialists writing for it; and allows space in its pages for people who explicitly condemn anti-socialism; and is a liberal paper with a record of opposing extremism. Some say, as well, that it is the function of such a paper to be open to different points of view, and therefore it is not surprising if, as well as material of the latter kind, this newspaper allows room for material of the former kind.
Norman then goes on to show that the paper in question is actually partial in the causes it takes up and espouses or, alternatively, aims to criticise.
To be honest, I’m inclined to believe that if he feels this way about the Guardian with respect to Jews (if, indeed, it is that paper which is the object of his unhappiness), then – equally – socialists across the country who inhabit that political state which is Labour might feel just as maltreated by the Guardian‘s amoral tendency to “free” comment.
They don’t support our literal extermination – but they do perhaps support our figurative disarming, where this for example is clearly not the case with respect to the Liberal Democrats or even the Tories.
Which is why it does occur to me that in much the same way as Thatcher lived on in Blair, and in much the same way as Blair’s legislation has facilitated Cameron’s destruction of the Welfare State, so the Guardian‘s proud talking-shop which is Comment is Free has more than a little of that vacuous and morally empty hole which is said to have occupied Murdoch’s empire.
“We do what we do because, essentially, it sells news.” I imagine these words, of course – I’m hardly privy to the private thoughts of Mr Murdoch. But in the Guardian‘s trajectory, in its allegedly partial attachment to certain causes – and in its resistance to others – we have the makings of an argument which suggests that our favourite liberal paper has so grown up in the shadow of Murdoch that it has replicated, on the left, whether intentionally or by accident, even his empty soul.
Along with everything this might imply.
Which brings me to my initial question: does Murdoch’s legacy live on in the alleged amorality of the Guardian‘s Comment is Free?