Yesterday the Guardian celebrated the fourth birthday of “Comment is Free”. For us however there was another cause for celebration – Georgina Henry, executive comment editor of “Comment is Free”, announced in the birthday thread that she is leaving CiF and moving to another role in the Guardian.
From the horses mouth (literally):
I have to say that in reading this I have to agree with Henry on one thing – her comment about ATL (above the line) and BTL (below the line) “bring[ing] out the best in each other”. Take for example the Nicholas Blincoe ATL article a couple of months ago lambasting the settler movement that produced a comment from one of the BTL regulars calling for the slaughter of Jewish settlers down to the “last man, woman and child”. The anti-Israel venom pouring out of the Blincoe thread certainly brought out the best of William Bapthorpe, the commenter who made this statement. And the nurturing of the anti-Israel narrative is par for the course both above the line in the editorial selection of anti-Israel writers and below the line with biased moderators that stamp out any dissent challenging the conventional wisdom of the anti-Israel narrative.
In a prelude to the fourth anniversary of CiF, Henry made a telling admission in an article she penned:
“The one reliable truth about the internet is that it never stands still. Competitors come … and keep coming. Change is constant. You have to work harder to understand and retain the loyalty of your community.”
And peddling in the lies of the anti-Israel narrative is a sure way to help retain that loyalty given the make up of the CiF guardianista community.
In the same thread that Henry made her announcement, Matt Seaton posed the question “Does Cif make a difference? You tell us.” I prefer to phrase the question in a slightly different way as I did in my article in the Jewish Chronicle “What makes Cif different?” There I stated that the “Guardian’s flagship blog reeks of antisemitism”. Its a statement that holds true from the launch of “Comment is Free” four years ago right through to the present day. That is the true legacy of Georgina Henry.
The question is will Henry’s successor pick up from where she left off or will her successor be bold enough to clean house.
Perhaps the more intriguing question is what is the reason behind Henry’s departure and to what extent did CiF Watch play a role in all of this?