It seems the Telegraph is intent on ignoring the widely accepted best practice advice on what to do when in a hole.
Following an attack on the Guardian on Friday, the paper has now launched a shocking attack on News UK, publisher of The Times and The Sun, bringing up the tragic suicides of two News UK employees purely, it would seem, to score points about the commercial pressures within the company. The Telegraph includes this detail in an article which claims the lines have become blurred between News UK’s editorial and commercial teams.
The Telegraph‘s attacks on its competitors follow the very public resignation of its chief political commentator Peter Oborne who made a series of allegations – strongly denied by the Telegraph – about the extent to which the paper had let commercial decisions cloud its own editorial judgement.
A number of competitors were quick to throw stones but whether they were doing so from the safe moral high ground or from inside a glass house, the Telegraph should have focused on its own reputation. Not least because trying to drag others into the mire only serves to reinforce the idea the Telegraph is in that mire already. If the playground taught us anything it’s that a defence of ‘but they did it too’ is no defence at all.
The paper has made a series of increasingly poor decisions at a time when its editorial judgement is under the spotlight. First came a petulant leader column. Then a rather desperate attack on the Guardian. Now the Telegraph claims News UK’s creative content director “said journalists…had to get their “hands dirty” in order to please advertisers”. Those comments were apparently made during an on the record interview about ‘native advertising’ – the paid-for editorial-like content which sits alongside editorial. While a divisive subject which blurs the lines between advertising and editorial, it is still very different to what Oborne alleged the Telegraph was doing.
But trying to gain mileage out of deaths at a competitor represents an unfathomable low.
However wounded the Telegraph‘s pride was by Oborne’s public resignation the damage the company is now inflicting upon its own reputation is arguably far worse.
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