Financial Times’ Blatant Denial of Censorship

When I did my national service I was told that my rifle was my most important asset, that I should never lose it, that I should treat it like a wife, etc.

Every once in a while to test if we were vigilant enough our officers and NCOs would attempt to “steal” our rifles.

Once a few of us had our rifles “stolen” so we went to our OC’s office to get them back – we could see our rifles stacked together on a credenza behind his desk – so we pleaded with him to return our rifles back to us.

“What rifles?” he asked with a look of faux innocence on his face.

“Sir, our rifles – they are right behind you, in a stack,” we replied.

“What rifles?” he repeated, again with that look of bemused innocence on his face.

Complete and utter denial.

Blatant denial.

A preposterous lie.

That happened a long time ago – when I did my national service.

Someone just pulled the same trick on me on September 10.

The Financial Times has been censoring its pictures – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cigar was pixelated out in their Saturday July 11/Sunday July 12 2009 issue, and in their Saturday September 4/Sunday September 5 2009 ssue, Winston Churchill’s cigar received the similar treatment though the machine gun he was carrying was shown in all its deadly glory.

Not long ago, a picture showing a man with a pipe had the pipe blanked out, and in 2007, the pubic area of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture David was blocked.

I wrote to its editor recently and on September 10 – despite the undeniable evidence –  he replied thus:

Dear Sir,

I fear you are failing to see the smoke from the cigar.

Governor Schwarzenegger is clearly smoking a cigar in the photograph I have seen. But I was in the tent with him and I know that the photographer took the shot. There was however dark background at the time.

Churchill’s cigar was snipped slightly by the FT masthead – not the censor or anyone else.

As for Michelangelo’s David, I am still trying to check down the photograph in the said Asian edition.

Thank you for your letter.

Yours sincerely,

Lionel Barber

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