The Daily Telegraph has blamed its own inability to cover stories that affect the newspaper’s marquee advertisers on a giant conspiracy to remove David Cameron and the Conservative Party from power, perpetrated by the BBC, the Guardian, The Times and the Labour Party.
In a leader published in Friday’s edition, the newspaper said it stands by its coverage (or lack therein) of the HSBC scandal, while attacking its competitors, which it argues are insulated from the commercial realities of modern media because of the way they are funded.
Entitled, “The Telegraph’s Promise To Its Readers,” the editorial said the newspaper makes “no apology for the way in which it has covered the HSBC group and the allegations of wrongdoing by its Swiss subsidiary,” while promising to draw up "guidelines that will define clearly and openly how our editorial and commercial staff will co-operate in an increasingly competitive media industry."
On Tuesday Pete Oborne, the former chief political columnist, resigned, publishing a scathing letter in which he accused his former paymasters of removing the divide between advertising and editorial, hence the paper's curtailed coverage of the banking scandal. Yet rather than refute this accusation, the Telegraph suggested the real problem is how these accusations have been “so enthusiastically promoted by the BBC, the Guardian and their ideological soulmates in the Labour Party.”
The leader reads: “We will take no lectures about journalism from the likes of the BBC, the Guardian or the Times. Those media outlets that are this week sniping about our coverage of HSBC were similarly dismissive in 2009 when we began to reveal details of MPs’ expenses claims, a fact that speaks volumes about their judgment and partiality.”
Noting that the current allegations towards HSBC “are almost a decade old and in many instances have been reported and explored before,” the paper said the reason it had been attacked by other newspapers was “because of their deep-seated hostility to business and partly with the intention of doing political harm to the current government and the Conservative Party in particular.”
The leader continued: “So today we restate one of the fundamental principles that will always underpin our work. No subject, no story, no person and no organisation is off-limits to our journalists. They will follow the facts without fear or favour and present the results of their work to you solely on their journalistic merits, according to their sound editorial judgment and no other consideration."
The editorial omitted to mention that the accusations came from a former employee, himself a well-known right-wing conservative writer.
Read the full piece here.