I was surprised to learn last week that I am an example of the FT’s openness to different views on Brexit. Probed by Amol Rajan, the BBC’s media editor, about his newspaper’s one-sided coverage of the decision to leave the EU, Lionel Barber, FT Editor, named three people as examples of why this was not so. That the pink ‘un has given editorial space to me, Iain Martin, and Jacob Rees-Mogg was, he said, proof that his relentlessly pro-Remain pages were not entirely relentless. There is one problem with this defence. I’ve never written about Brexit for Mr Barber. Not once. His answer suggests he’s not given any serious thought to ensuring his readers enjoy a variety of views so that they can make their own minds up about this huge moment in British history,
I think we got closer to the truth about the FT’s openness to alternative thinking in a Tweet Barber issued on 31st October. He greeted a call by Bill Emmott, former Editor of The Economist, for the FT to pour scorn on Britain’s decision to leave the EU as “Letter of the day on #Brexit. Thank you”.
Only today I learnt of another example of the closed-mindedness of the FT. The Legatum Institute asked to be able to reply to an OpEd that had critiqued its thinking on Brexit. The answer was no. Not just no to a reply in the opinion columns but that even a letter was unlikely to be given space. Thank goodness for City AM, the business pages of The Times and other outlets. Across the British media there is diversity of opinion – just don’t expect much (or any) at the FT. Groupthink rules at 1 Southwark Bridge – and “scorn”.