The Telegraph has been at the heart of a Twitter storm overnight for publishing an article in which it claimed two suicides at The Times were a result of commercial pressures at the paper, days after itself facing allegations of bias coverage of a major advertiser.
The article, published under an anonymous byline, has sent shock waves throughout the media world with journalists from the Guardian, The Sun, and The Times, among those airing their disgust for the article on Twitter (see below).
In the piece the Telegraph stated that News UK – publisher of The Times and The Sun – has launched an internal investigation after two members of its commercial department took their own lives due to the stress of hitting targets.
The article was published days after The Telegraph first faced heavy criticism for skewing its editorial coverage of the HSBC tax avoidance. This emerged when its chief political columnist Peter Oborne resigned from the paper and wrote an article stating that it had allowed HSBC to influence its news coverage because it was a major advertiser.
Yesterday afternoon The Telegraph brought The Guardian into the line of fire, publishing an article in which it accused the publisher of altering a story to avoid the risk of offending Apple.
In response a Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: "It is never the case that the Guardian's editorial content is changed to meet demands made by an advertiser. It's standard for advertisers sometimes to make stipulations about the type of content their ads appear around. If the content on the homepage does not meet those stipulations, the ad may be removed but the content remains altogether unchanged."
The article – again under an anonymous byline – has also resulted in a backlash on Twitter.
Among those to express their fury over the articles were Guardian editor in chief Alan Rusbridger, and deputy editor of Guardian US Stuart Millar, along with The Sun's managing editor Stig Abell.
Disgusting low from the Telegraph: use the death of News UK employees as part of its HSBC panic http://t.co/Hs1FZtb59P
— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) February 20, 2015
— alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) February 21, 2015
— alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) February 20, 2015
A completely confected, no-byline hit piece on the Guardian is absolutely the best way for Telegraph to prove it takes journalism seriously
— Stuart Millar (@stuartmillar159) February 20, 2015
@Telegraph Can anyone remember the last time a national newspaper imploded so spectacularly? Genuinely jawdropping to behold.
— Telegraph Reporter (@MatthewEyre) February 20, 2015
Telegraph story attacking Guardian. Bit strange not a named byline. Reporter unhappy? http://t.co/gTKZ9OwvZe
— Paul johnson (@paul__johnson) February 20, 2015
@arusbridger Wow, the Telegraph is lashing out tonight with smear stories aimed at both the Times and the Guardian.
— Mike Richards (@iCowboy_UK) February 21, 2015
— Patrick Smith (@psmith) February 20, 2015
Yesterday (20 February) the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) wrote to The Telegraph criticising it for its lack of editorial guidelines, and accusing it of being "unrepentant" about the fact it buried coverage of HSBC's Swiss subsidiary, which helped wealthy customers to dodge taxes and conceal assets.
The Telegraph had not responded to a request for comment by the time of this article's publication.