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Claims of pandering to power

Political commentator quits Telegraph over HSBC coverage

Peter OborneA political commentator on the Daily Telegraph has resigned from the paper after saying he did not agree with its coverage of the HSBC scandal.

Peter Oborne, chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph (left), claimed the paper did not give proper attention to the HSBC story because of commercial interests.

He claimed newspapers had a “constitutional duty” to tell readers the truth but was unhappy with coverage of the tax scandal surrounding HSBC.  In comparison to the coverage of the story in other national newspapers, “you needed a microscope to find the Telegraph coverage”, Mr Oborne said.

The Telegraph called Oborne’s statement an “astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo”.

According to the BBC,  Mr Oborne said he had been told HSBC was an “extremely valuable” advertiser by what he called a “well-informed insider”.

“A free press is essential to a healthy democracy,” he said.

“There is a purpose to journalism, and it is not just to entertain. It is not to pander to political power, big corporations and rich men.

“Newspapers have what amounts in the end to a constitutional duty to tell their readers the truth.”

Mr Oborne later told Channel 4 News he believed he spoke “for the vast majority of Telegraph staff” in saying he had no confidence in Murdoch McLennan, the paper’s chief executive, and the Barclay brothers who own the paper.

A Telegraph spokesman said the “distinction between advertising and our award-winning editorial operation has always been fundamental to our business”.

They added: “We utterly refute any allegation to the contrary.

“It is a matter of huge regret that Peter Oborne, for nearly five years a contributor to the Telegraph, should have launched such an astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo, on his own paper.”

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