Saturday, November 17, 2007

Anthony Haden-Guest: FT gives him the FO

Is the Financial Times editor Lionel Barber the most self-important turd in "Fleet Street"? Probably not - the competition is keen - but I am appalled that he has sacked living myth the Hon Anthony Haden-Guest, as the paper's Weekend FT saleroom correspondent, for not being strictly accurate about the troubled politics at the National Gallery. Given H-G's decades as a high profile socialite and art critic, Barber could have at most demanded dinner at the Ivy at the author's expense as punishment.

Not that H-G is bleating. As he told Mediaguardian: "The allegations about Peter Scott had previously been published by both the Times and the Independent. Nonetheless I should certainly have double-checked. So I am not going to whine."

Let us hope that the FT was not perceived as the softer touch by the complainant, or as Barber put it in his Papal Bull of an email to his staff: "The FT's reputation depends on the integrity of its reporting and its unflinching commitment to accuracy." For more click here.

To acquaint yourself - if you need acquainting - with H-G, visit his website, click here.

I like Toby Young's story about H-G - whom he terms the Beast - in his excellent book-to-movie How To Lose Friends & Alienate People. The Beast and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter (and family) fell out while strolling on the latter's Connecticut estate. One of Carter's kids spotted a silver coin in a stream. "Where?" asked H-G. "There," replied the boy. At that the writer waded into the water and pocketed the treasure. "Aren't you going to give that to my son?" asked Carter. H-G replied: "No fear, finder's keepers."

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