The Guardian

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The Guardian is a British daily newspaper owned by the charitable foundation The Scott Trust]].[1] The Guardian claims it has a "unique ownership structure... that ensures editorial interests remain free of commercial pressures."[2] The paper is part of the Guardian Media Group of newspapers, radio stations, and new media including The Observer Sunday newspaper and the Manchester Evening News.[1]

Katherine Viner has been the editor-in-chief at The Guardian since 2015.[3]

In 2018, The Guardian switched to a tabloid format.[4]

Content of Reporting

Retire GDP as Measure of Progress

A 2019 article by Joseph E. Stiglitz argued that nations need to move away from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as their most important metric of success. He highlighted the failure of GDP to correctly assess the threat of climate change, saying, "If our economy seems to be growing but that growth is not sustainable because we are destroying the environment and using up scarce natural resources, our statistics should warn us. But because GDP didn’t include resource depletion and environmental degradation, we typically get an excessively rosy picture."[5]

Stiglitz also pointed out that a nation's GDP does not accurately depict its well-being. He claimed the use of GDP even "frequently give[s] the misleading impression that there is a trade-off between" economic and social progress.[5] To further support his point, Stiglitz argued, "in spite of the increases in GDP... everything is not fine. We see this in the political discontent rippling through so many advanced countries; we see it in the widespread support of demagogues, whose successes depend on exploiting economic discontent; and we see it in the environment around us, where fires rage and floods and droughts occur at ever-increasing intervals."[5]

Panama Papers

In 2016 the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shared data from the "Panama Papers" leak with The Guardian and other news sources. The Guardian identified the Panama Papers as "the largest leak in history", claiming they "show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes".[6]

U.S. Domestic Surveillance

In 2013 The Guardian broke several news stories focused on US government surveillance, as part of Glenn Greenwald's column "On Security and Liberty". These articles included insights into domestic spying by the National Security Agency in collaboration with Verizon Communications,[7] an interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden,[8] and the leaking of a top secret document from PRISM, an NSA program which reportedly worked together with tech giants such as Apple Inc., Facebook, and Google to collect user data.[9]

Reporting on Corruption, Lobbying, and Nonprofit Spending

The publication has discussed the role of politically active right-wing nonprofit groups and the influence of corporate money in elections. Reporting has included documents from State Policy Network.[10]

Lawsuit Attempting to Prevent Secrecy in ALEC Meetings

A 2019 article by Ed Pilkington reported on a legal challenge facing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), "a network that brings together conservative lawmakers and corporate interests".[11] The lawsuit drew on Arizona's "open meetings" law, arguing that the Arizona public was being excluded from the democratic and legislative process by secretive Alec meetings that involved many Arizona state lawmakers.[11] Pilkington's piece also pointed out that "almost a third of the total of lawmakers in the [Arizona state] legislature" had attended the most recent Alec conference, including "the speaker of the house and president of the senate."[11]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Push to Ban Criticism of Israel in Public Education

Another 2019 article by Ed Pilkington highlighted a push to "outlaw antisemitism in public education, from kindergarten through to graduate universities",[12] pointing out that "the proposed definition of antisemitism is so wide that, in addition to standard protections against hate speech towards Jews, it would also prohibit debate about the human rights violations of the Israeli government."[12] This piece included emails obtained by Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that shed light on the relationship between the proposed speech ban and the right-wing "bill mill", American Legislative Exchange Council.[12]

Pilkington's article agreed that increasing global antisemitism presented a legitimate opportunity to discuss anti-Jewish tropes, such as Holocaust denial. However his research found that the uncontroversial renunciation of harmful Jewish stereotypes and antisemitic conspiracy theories appeared "alongside clauses in the bill that would censor debate on Israeli government action."[12]

Leaked ExxonMobil Documents Expose Self-Interested Tax-Exempt Contributions

In summer 2019, The Guardian received leaked internal documents from the 1990s which exposed ExxonMobil's plans to use tax-exempt donations for its own corporate benefits. The documents contained suggestions to donate to "leading universities, civic groups and arts programmes [sic] to promote the company’s interests and undermine environmental regulation..."[13]

The article highlighted specific instances of Exxon's planned spending, including a $25,000 grant to an earth observatory at Columbia University to "develop personal relationships with some of the key experts on this issue [and] participate in the debate on these regulations".[13]

The piece contained concerns from tax experts, who claimed that Exxon's stated intention "would have raised serious red flags for illegal self-dealing, had it come to light before the statute of limitations ran out."[13]

Merchant of Doubt author and Naomi Oreskes and former CMD executive director Lisa Graves also commented, respectively claiming: "What I see here is a pattern of 'charitable giving' that is anything but disinterested" and "One of the primary rules for nonprofits is that they’re supposed to be in the public interest, not for private benefits."[13]

HR1 Anti-Corruption Bill Used John Doe Files as Example of Dark Money Influence

A 2019 piece described congressional hearings surrounding House Democrats' anti-corruption measure, HR1, including how the John Doe files served as a "key example of the corrosive influence of secret political funding" present in the U.S. legislative system.[14]

The piece also mentioned a viral video posted on Twitter of freshman U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explaining the extent of political corruption considered legal by the U.S. government.[14]

The article reported that "Many senior figures in the current Republican party and Trump administration appear in the John Doe Files",[14] naming President Donald Trump himself along with Vice President Mike Pence and Nick Ayers as examples.[14]

Scott Walker Corruption Probe

A 2016 CMD article, highlighting how then-governor Scott Walker "evaded Wisconsin’s campaign finance system to win his recall election",[15] pointed readers to documents and reporting presented by The Guardian's Ed Pilkington.[16]

For more information about the Scott Walker John Doe Documents and the resulting Wisconsin Supreme Court case, see these CMD articles:[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

ALEC Ties with Expedia

A pair of Guardian articles[25][26] in 2014 and 2016 explored the relationship between Expedia and the American Legislative Exchange Council. Expedia eventually cut ties with the right-wing lobbying organization in 2016 after mounting pressure and criticism.[27]

News and Controversy

Polled as Most Trusted UK News

A 2018 Ipsos MORI poll ranked The Guardian as the most trusted source of British online news.[28]

Push for Increased U.S. Reporting

In July 2012 it was reported that Glenn Greenwald would join The Guardian along with "other American-based columnists — including Michael Wolff, Ana Marie Cox and Naomi Wolf— as part of its effort to create a larger presence in the United States."[29]


In August 2019 radio host Maajid Nawaz criticized The Guardian for abandoning its principles after an article disparaged Nigel Farage for comments he made about The Royal Family at a right-wing conference in Australia.[30] Hosting a talk show, Nawaz said "Surely, folks at The Guardian, it's usually you, on the left, who are critical of the monarchy, because you're Republicans. Surely, Nigel Farage criticizing the monarchy doesn't suddenly make you, shouldn't suddenly make you royalists, and pro-monarchy? Isn't that the domain of The Daily Mail?" Nawaz saw this coverage as indicative of a larger issue surrounding political tribalism, saying "There's a problem with our debate in this day and age today, and it's become so tribal... instead of being about ideas... it's become about personalities and tribes. Our position on any one given political topic is dictated by who's saying it."[31]

In December 2016 Glenn Greenwald, writing for The Intercept, criticized The Guardian's reporting on a Julian Assange interview, calling it "shoddy and misleading" and expressed indignation at the fact that because of this article, "false claims— fabrications, really— were spread all over the internet by journalists, causing hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) to consume false news."[32] A few days after the publication of Greenwald's criticism, The Guardian amended the article in question. [33]

A 2011 Counterpunch article pointed several criticisms at The Guardian, accusing it among other things of character assassination, failure of objective reporting on Julian Assange and Wikileaks, and mischaracterization of Noam Chomsky's views. The piece also claimed, "The Guardian, like other mainstream media, is heavily invested– both financially and ideologically– in supporting the current global order. It was once able to exclude and now, in the internet age, must vilify those elements of the left whose ideas risk questioning a system of corporate power and control of which the Guardian is a key institution."[34]

A 2007 Media Lens piece criticized the publication's reporting on Iraqi refugees, claiming "the Guardian has a long history of supporting Western state violence and of suppressing the truth of its consequences."[35] The piece also drew on a forum post entitled "The hidden history of the Guardian newspaper"[36]



  • Katherine Viner, editor-in-chief (since 2015)
  • Larry Elliott, economics editor (since 1988)




  • Richard Adams
  • Anushka Asthana
  • Owen Bowcott
  • Libby Brooks
  • Severin Carrell
  • Gabrielle Chan
  • Paul Daley
  • Helen Davidson
  • Ben Doherty
  • Lauren Gambino
  • Jessica Glenza
  • Amelia Hill
  • Felicity Lawrence
  • David Marr
  • Rowena Mason
  • Justin McCurry
  • Katharine Murphy
  • Helen Pidd
  • Ed Pilkington
  • Ian Sample
  • David Smith
  • Andrew Sparrow
  • Heather Stewart
  • Jon Swaine
  • Gwyn Topham


  • Richard Ackland
  • Reza Aslan
  • Van Badham
  • Frankie Boyle
  • Adam Brereton
  • Emma Brockes
  • Oliver Burkeman
  • Megan Carpentier
  • Rebecca Carroll
  • Aditya Chakrabortty
  • Nick Cohen
  • Victoria Coren Mitchell
  • Barbara Ellen
  • Jonathan Freedland
  • Hannah Giorgis
  • Will Hutton
  • Simon Jenkins
  • Martin Kettle
  • Antony Loewenstein
  • Jeb Lund
  • Syreeta McFadden
  • David Mitchell
  • George Monbiot
  • Hugh Muir
  • Anne Perkins
  • Andrew Rawnsley
  • Eleanor Robertson
  • Rebecca Solnit
  • Jeff Sparrow
  • Ranjana Srivastava
  • Polly Toynbee

Related Sourcewatch


  1. 1.0 1.1 Guardian, Who owns the Guardian? Our unique independent structure, Guardian, November 17, 2017, accessed September 3, 2019.
  2. Guardian, [1], Guardian, July 26, 2015, accessed September 3, 2019.
  3. Guardian, Katharine Viner, organizational website, accessed September 3, 2019.
  4. Katherine Viner and David Pemsel, Guardian journalism goes from strength to strength. It's just our shape that's changing, Guardian, June 13, 2017, accessed July 6, 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Joseph Stiglitz, "It's time to retire metrics like GDP. They don't measure everything that matters", Guardian, November 24, 2019, accessed December 3, 2019.
  6. Juliette Garside et al., What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak, The Guardian, April 3, 2016, accessed July 6, 2019.
  7. Glenn Greenwald, NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily, The Guardian, June 6, 2013, accessed July 6, 2019.
  8. Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations, The Guardian, June 9, 2013, accessed July 6, 2019.
  9. Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others, The Guardian, June 6, 2013, accessed July 6, 2019.
  10. Rebekah Wilce, Guardian Documents Expose State Policy Network Groups’ Intent to Lobby, Center for Media and Democracy, December 5, 2013, accessed July 7, 2019.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Ed Pilkington, "Lawsuit could force secretive network promoting rightwing laws into the open", Guardian, Decebmer 4, 2019, accessed February 5, 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Ed Pilkington, "Revealed: rightwing push to ban criticism of Israel on US campuses", Guardian, October 16, 2019, accessed December 3, 2019.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Sharon Kelly, "Revealed: Mobil sought to fight environmental regulation, documents show", Guardian, June 12, 2019, accessed February 5, 2020.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Ed Pilkington and Sabrina Siddiqui, "Democrats go after political ‘dark money’ with anti-corruption measure", Guardian, February 13, 2019, accessed February 5, 2020.
  15. Mary Bottari, Secret Donors, Secret Agendas: Guardian Pulls Back the Curtain on Walker Corruption Probe, Center for Media and Democracy, September 14, 2016, accessed July 7, 2019.
  16. Ed Pilkington, Leaked court documents from 'John Doe investigation' in Wisconsin lay bare pervasive influence of corporate cash on modern US elections, The Guardian, September 14, 2016, accessed July 7, 2019.
  17. Mary Bottari, Scott Walker John Doe Corporate Checks Fueled Coordinated Campaign, Center for Media and Democracy, September 15, 2016, accessed July 7, 2019.
  18. Exposed by CMD Editors, Scott Walker John Doe Document Leak: 10 Illuminating Emails, Center for Media and Democracy, September 16, 2016, accessed July 7, 2019.
  19. Mary Bottari, Supreme Cover-Up: How the Wisconsin Justice System Failed in the Walker John Doe, Center for Media and Democracy, September 18, 2016, accessed July 7, 2019.
  20. Arn Pearson Leaked Documents Show Court’s Dismissal of the John Doe Was Based on a False Premise, Center for Media and Democracy, September 22, 2016, accessed July 7, 2019.
  21. Liz Graves and Mari Bottari, The Koch Connection in the Scott Walker John Doe Documents, Center for Media and Democracy, September 28, 2019, accessed July 7, 2019.
  22. Mari Bottari, Scott Walker Backers Defend Lead and Wisconsin's Poisoned Politics, Center for Media and Democracy, October 17, 2016, accessed July 7, 2019.
  23. Mari Bottari, Secret Scott Walker John Doe Leak Inquiry Underway, Center for Media and Democracy, February 2, 2017, accessed July 7, 2019.
  24. Mari Bottari, Retribution and Revenge in the Wisconsin John Doe, Center for Media and Democracy, January 11, 2018, accessed July 7, 2019.
  25. Dominic Rushe, Expedia under fire over membership to rightwing lobby group Alec, Guardian, September 26, 2014, accessed August 5, 2019.
  26. Dominic Rushe, World’s largest online travel company Expedia severs ties with Alec, Guardian, August 10, 2016, accessed August 5, 2019.
  27. David Armiak, Expedia Lastest to Exit ALEC, Center for Media and Democracy, August 10, 2016, accessed September 3, 2019.
  28. Ben Bold, The Guardian most trusted and The Sun least trusted online news brand, Pamco reveals, Campaign, September 17, 2018, accessed July 6, 2019.
  29. David Carr, Glenn Greenwald Moves From Salon to Guardian U.S., New York Times Media Decoder Blog, July 18, 2012, accessed September 3, 2019.
  30. Michael McGowan and Ben Doherty Nigel Farage attacks Harry and Meghan, jokes about 'overweight' Queen Mother, Guardian, August 12, 2019, accessed September 3, 2019.
  31. LBC, Maajid Nawaz Hammers The Guardian For Their Criticism Of Nigel Farage, Leading Britain's Conversation, August 13, 2019, accessed September 3, 2019.
  32. Glenn Greenwald, "The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False", 'Intercept, December 29, 2016, accessed July 6, 2019.
  33. Ben Jacobs Julian Assange gives guarded praise of Trump and blasts Clinton in interview, Guardian, December 24, 2016, accessed July 6, 2019.
  34. Jonathan Cook, The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian, Counterpunch, September, 28, 2011, accessed August 5, 2019.
  35. Media Lens, The Faceless and the Dead- the Guardian and Iraq's Refugees, Media Lens, December 6, 2007, accessed August 5, 2019.
  36. Murray McDonald The hidden history of the Guardian newspaper, Media Lens, accessed August 5, 2019.