The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph responded Thursday to criticism that it went easy on multinational bank HSBC, returning fire at media organizations who pointed out perceived softball coverage.

In a nearly 800-word column under the byline "Telegraph View," the newspaper said it "makes no apology" for coverage that has come under scrutiny after allegations of favoritism from Peter Oborne, who was chief political commentator for the newspaper before he resigned in protest:

This newspaper makes no apology for the way in which it has covered the HSBC group and the allegations of wrongdoing by its Swiss subsidiary, allegations that have been so enthusiastically promoted by the BBC, the Guardian and their ideological soulmates in the Labour Party. We have covered this matter as we do all others, according to our editorial judgment and informed by our values. Foremost among those values is a belief in free enterprise and free markets.

Since Oborne published his allegations Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph's reporting has been called into question by former staffers cited anonymously in a BBC story.

Meanwhile, The Guardian's Roy Greenslade boiled down Oborne's allegations in an article Thursday, among them:

  • An article about HSBC by Oborne was turned down by the Telegraph for commercial reasons.
  • The Telegraph removed an article by former banking correspondent, Harry Wilson that called HSBC's finances into question.
  • The Telegraph throttled its coverage of HSBC profit loss when other newspapers gave it prominent play.

The Telegraph's defense of its coverage calls into question the judgement of the BBC, The Guardian and The Times, calling their "sniping" hypocritical in the face of their own reportorial shortcomings:

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.

The column concludes by promising to formulate guidelines that outline how the paper's editorial and commercial staffs will collaborate. But it asserts the Telegraph will continue to cover subjects without fear or favor and "present the results of their work to you solely on their journalistic merits."