Here it is, Boycott 6 (hurricanes don’t even go that high). I wrote in my How to Boycott column last week that I dreaded this one out of journalistic faith. Oh ye of vanished belief.

I read the centre-left British newspaper the Guardian online and pay $620 a year to get its Saturday paper airmailed. I’ve been reading it for 40 years. No, I am not 102. I am 46 but we got the Guardian Weekly when I was a kid. I think it’s the best newspaper in the world; many Canadians read it.

Every publication has a gormless reporter, often several. This person is stupid, but handy. The great advantage is that there’s a certain kind of story even he can’t screw up. If it’s an interview with a model — someone who walks short distances for a living — Gormless can do it if you give him a list of questions first.

So why have I cancelled my subscription to the Guardian? They sent a Gormless to interview Noam Chomsky, the man recently named the world’s top intellectual. Chomsky laughed, but such is his achievement in linguistics that no one even wrote one of those Lists are Stupid columns. He’s Chomsky.

Gormless is a feature writer named Emma Brockes. It’s not clear whether she is nasty or so malleable (likely both) that she will do any hatchet job an editor puts her up to. This is fine for subjects who hand you the hatchet, but Prof. Chomsky did not. (I must tell you with Canadian pride that in 2004, Ms. Brockes tried one on Margaret Atwood, who coolly and politely cut her to pieces using mere words.)

Ms. Brockes had not read Prof. Chomsky’s work, clearly thought linguistics was a sex act, and knew nothing about the history of Cambodia on which she questioned him or even the journalistic sequence of events accompanying the Srebrenica massacre. She wrote a profile that manipulated his quotes in such a way that the libel must have glowed in red letters on the page for the editors, junior and senior, who let it through.

On October 31, Hallowe’en, the Guardian ran the interview in which Gormless accused Chomsky of monstrous things. Worse, she made it sound as if he had confessed to them, when in fact he was saying the contrary. It was not until November 17 that the paper responded to complaints from readers and Prof. Chomsky.

The Guardian had printed Prof. Chomsky’s letter of protest on November 2 in which he wrote “As for her personal opinions, interpretations and distortions, [Gormless] is of course free to publish them, and I would, of course, support her right to do so, on grounds that she makes quite clear she does not understand.” (Such is Prof. Chomsky’s belief in a free press that he does not take legal action over such things.)

My personal rule when you get angry with the press is “Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to stupidity,” but the letters page then distinguished itself by pairing Prof. Chomsky’s letter with a letter libelling him all over again, under the headline “Falling Out over Srebrenica” as if they were arguing over who tripped who on a Serbian sidewalk.

The ombudsman, a decent man, also apologized for the original article’s sub-headline which was in Q & A format using a question that Gormless hadn’t asked — I won’t repeat the blatant lie, but it resembled “Do you regret being a Hitler sympathizer?” — to which Prof. Chomsky said not at all, except he was answering another question entirely and in a different context. As libel goes it’s a case study for journalism students, although a bit obvious even for first-years.

So I cancelled my subscription, even though Prof. Chomsky would disapprove (free speech and all) and I complained to everyone involved at the Guardian, none of whom responded though the editor Alan Rusbridger probably just resented me calling him “Al.” The ombudsman’s delayed piece admitted that many aspects of the Brockes piece were wrong on narrow grounds, including the reporting, editing and phrasing of headlines.

But here’s what I thought was pure moral self-slaughter. Gormless was back this week doing serious interviews. It isn’t just her continued employment that offends me. Stupid people have rights too. But she should be writing fashion features on pubic hair. You know the kind. Headline: The Big Bush is Back! (She’ll probably think it’s George’s dad.)

Prof. Chomsky was decent enough to point out to me that Ms. Brockes was not responsible for the defamatory photos and lying cutlines that accompanied her piece on him, nor did she write the headlines. As anyone from a newsroom can tell, it was a work-intensive libel and Gormless was only a part of it.

Thanks to the Internet, the Guardian’s libel will live on. When I called the Guardian for comment, they lied to me, saying that Prof. Chomsky was “very happy” at the result of his complaint. He is not, nor does he have reason to be. You may want to visit his own website and look under “Letters” to read his comments on the matter, which are calm and considered as always. Or you could read the British poet Wendy Cope’s classic verse How to Cope with the Press.

As for the refund, I only got $344 back and have no idea which charity should get this Guardian pittance for lying about a tireless fighter for human rights.

Subscribing to a rival Murdoch paper hardly improves journalism. So I shall do my best for Canada and send the New Democratic Party a cheque. Plus I will no longer have a kg. of newsprint coming from Manchester so I’ve done my bit for climate change. Bye, Grauniad. Iâe(TM)ll miss the paper I thought you were.