The Blanket

No Censorship Here

 
Paul A. Fitzsimmons

 

Mr. Henry McDonald
Guardian/Observer

Dear Henry:

Been a while; hope you and yours are well.

This past Sunday in The Observer, within an interesting article on Irish anti-Semitism, you wrote: “Republicans, for instance, try to compare the I[sraeli]D[efense]F[orce] to SS Stormtroopers, the otherwise excellent The Blanket E-zine, using hyperbolic phrases such as ‘Hitler speaks Hebrew’.”

Your point may literally be accurate, but it is unfair: it incorrectly suggests that The Blanket has given some sort of stamp of approval that phrase. To my understanding, The Blanket has given no such approval of any kind to any such views. That phrase was the title of an article written in April 2002 by Brendan Hughes (unlike with printed newspapers, The Blanket, I have found, accords its authors huge latitude in choosing their articles’ titles).

People who know The Blanket know that, editorially, it accepts for publication submissions from a huge range of writers on a broad range of political topics. My understanding is that The Blanket’s editors do not censor materials they publish.

If The Observer published a letter to the editor, or even an opinion article, including the phrase “Hitler speaks Hebrew,” no one would rationally ascribe such a political outlook to The Observer; such views would have to be either rife within that paper or expressly and specifically approved by its editors before one could appropriately conclude that paper to be anti-Semitic in its nature.

Likewise, I believe no just cause exists to describe The Blanket as being anti-Semitic or to make any such implication. Doubtless your implication along those lines was inadvertent, but you’re so widely read that the implication would, of course, tend to be damaging and ought, in fairness, to be publicly corrected.

Best regards,

Paul A. Fitzsimmons


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