The Guardian’s Wealthy Readership and Its Campaign against Corbyn

Recent years have seen the Groaniad become increasingly critical of Labour and its leadership, ever since it decided at the 2010 elections to throw its weight behind the Liberals, who then embarrassed this former left-wing beacon by forming the coalition with the Tories. Mike yesterday published a piece about an article in the newspaper, written by Catherine Bennett, a Blairite, had attacked Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that he wasn’t interested in winning elections and was somehow sexist, like his predecessors Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown. It was another attempt by Blair’s clique to retain power in the party by rubbishing their left-wing rivals. However, the Guardian’s criticisms of the Labour party did not suddenly begin six years ago.


Mark Hollingworth also describes how the supposedly liberal Guardian also took part in the press’ splenetic attack on leading Labour figures and left-wing causes during the early and mid-1980s. In his book, The Press and Political Dissent: A Question of Censorship, he argues that some of this is due to the Groan’s need to retain its appeal to its very wealthy readership, and in particular to advertisers prepared to lavish some of their money on the newspaper. He writes

The loss of advertising revenue would be especially damaging to a paper like the Guardian which cannot make up the losses by subsidies from the other profitable parts of its company. It can also be a factor in influencing the paper’s political policy. On 10 August 1979, the Guardian published a statement in Campaign, the weekly magazine of the advertising industry, which declared that the paper is read by “The Thinking Rich…85 per cent of them are ABC1 (social class) which is a better percentage than the Financial Times or Daily telegraph can offer.’ The statement also stressed that its readers ‘were not down-at-heel extremists without a penny to bless themselves with…They have bank accounts full of lovely money.’ Nearly two years later, in April 1981, the Guardian’s marketing strategy appeared not to have changed. Another Campaign message, under the name of Gerry Taylor, Guardian’s Managing Director, ran: ‘To assume that the Guardian is only for leftwing trendies and drop-outs is as outdate a view as the dinosaur…If the newly constituted SDP really takes off, the Guardian is ideally suited to champion the new party’s cause as the centre-party voice in the 1980s.’ The advertisement was taken from an article by a London advertising director, but it had clearly been sanctioned at the highest level by the Guardian management. (pp. 15-6).

This situation and outlook has been repeated, thirty years later, with the Groan giving vocal support to the Lib Dems and embittered Blairites.

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One Response to “The Guardian’s Wealthy Readership and Its Campaign against Corbyn”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

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