Gina Miller has said a change of tone in the Daily Mail’s Brexit coverage “isn’t going to happen anytime soon” despite Geordie Greig taking over as editor.
Investment manager Miller is best known for issuing a legal challenge against the Government to give Parliament a vote on whether the Prime Minister could trigger Article 50 to take Britain out of the European Union.
She told the NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund event in London yesterday that journalists “should be stepping up” with their reporting of the Government’s Brexit negotiations with the EU.
Under his editorship the Mail on Sunday urged readers to vote Remain in the 2016 EU referendum, while Paul Dacre’s Daily Mail was staunchly in favour of Brexit.
However asked at the NCTJ seminar whether she has noticed a change so far in the Daily Mail’s tone and coverage of Brexit since Greig became editor, Miller said: “It isn’t going to happen anytime soon.”
She pointed to a column by Quentin Letts this week in which he wrote about her speech at the Lib Dem conference on Monday, criticising her pronunciation and “lifeless delivery”.
Miller said: “It was a great piece of journalism, wasn’t it?” and added: “Just think if they had written something about the Canada deal… Isn’t that a better use of column inches?”
Speaking more generally about coverage of Brexit in newspapers, Miller said: “As far as I am concerned journalism does have a responsibility and those who decide to be extreme with their views are being irresponsible to their readership and it’s time that they stepped up and started reporting the news.
“We are at one of the most crucial times in our nation – they should be stepping up.”
She added that the “unforgiving” way the media treats politicians and their families needs to change, questioning why anyone would allow themselves to be under the public eye in politics if they are going to be targeted under that lens.
But Miller also said she did not blame many of the journalists who write the stories she is critical about, saying “it’s the people at the top of the organisations”.
Addressing a room filled with young journalists, she said: “It isn’t easy because the things you have to weigh up are why you went into journalism which is to storytell and inform and assist people in society to understand the society they live in.
“At the same time the reality is you have a mortgage, you have bills, you have a family, you have responsibilities, and the more successful you become as a journalist that becomes a problem… [you have] responsibilities to those you support and responsibilities in the job that you do.
“I accept that it isn’t easy, it isn’t just people who are in journalism it’s the management as well. It’s those at the top.”