FT Badly Misinterprets American Defence Secretary’s Speech

The Financial Times is accused of badly misinterpreting a keynote speech made by American Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in Singapore yesterday when giving the International Institute for Strategic Studies Fullerton lecture. In the article The Financial Times claims that:

“The US defence secretary said Britain might be more helpful as an ally if it did not focus on Asia, highlighting US concerns that forays by European allies into the Indo-Pacific could weaken defences closer to home.”

However, almost everyone else who attended the event, including the British High Commissioner to Singapore, UK diplomats and the Director General and CEO of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) agreed that the whole tone of the lecture was the power of partnerships and the dangers of division, describing the Financial Times’ bizarre take as “odd” and “surprising”. Guido wonders whether or not the FT’s anti-Brexit editorial line is compromising its reporting on the UK…

James Crabtree, who is himself a former FT hack and was the chair of the event, has critiqued the FT concluding that “it’s hard to see that Austin’s remarks were genuinely intended to question the UK’s role in Asia in the way the story suggests”. Though the FT has subsequently updated elements of their article, the headline and crux of the story have remained the same. The British defence and diplomatic establishment is bemused at the slant of the article. Guido encourages co-conspirators to watch the event and determine for themselves whether or not the Financial Times is misleading its readers…

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