“The Telegraph has become the Farage-graph”, declares ConHome this morning, as the paper puts yet another pro-Nigel, pro-Arron Banks story on its front page. The number of pro-Farage stories featuring on Telegraph front pages over the last few months has been notably disproportionate considering the relative size and significance of UKIP, and the fact Nige isn’t leader anymore. Added to that are Telegraph “Breakfast with Farage” events, not to mention op-ed after op-ed by Nigel. The new obsession is going down badly in the more liberal, metropolitan newsroom.
At a recent staff meeting, one brave journalist raised their hand and spoke about the recent Farage-centric coverage. The Barclays may like UKIP and they may host parties for Farage at the Ritz they mused, Telegraph readers however tend to be old Tories who don’t care much for the ‘Kippers. The concern in the newsroom is that the paper is running so many puff pieces for Farage and Banks because Banks is trying to buy the paper. Rumours have been circulating for months that Banks has been putting together a consortium of Brexit-backing donors to stump up the £250 million asking price – rumoured possible backers doing the rounds include Malcolm Pearson, David Stevens, Stuart Wheeler, Peter Cruddas and Michael Ashcroft. Asked if this was a possibility, Telegraph editor Chris Evans avoided the question and told his staff to follow the news. The prospect of a Banks-backed takeover has become the subject of gallows humour in the newsroom, though surely – without a lot of help – Arron just doesn’t have enough money?