Scruton sacked by second newspaper for tobacco links

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The Independent Online

PROFESSOR ROGER Scruton, the darling of the intellectual right, was sacked as a commentator for The Wall Street Journal yesterday in an editotial after admitting he took money from the tobacco industry to place stories in the national press.

The philosopher, a professor of aesthetics at Birkbeck College, London University, has been told to "take a holiday" from the prestigious newspaper because he failed to disclose his ties with Japan Tobacco.

An editorial in yesterday's European edition of The Wall Street Journal admitted: "We've come in for criticism lately because one of our contributors, the British conservative writer Roger Scruton, wrote an essay for our European edition while being paid by a Japanese tobacco company.

"Our long-time standard is that such financial ties should be disclosed, so readers can make up their own minds." The move follows his sacking last week by the Financial Times over his tobacco links.

The Wall Street Journal had intervened to defend Professor Scruton over his £4,500-a-month contract with the tobacco giant.

But it said yesterday: "Mr Scruton had an obligation to tell us and his readers about his tobacco financing when he was writing about tobacco issues; he didn't, and so he will be taking a holiday from our pages."

Newspaper executives in America are said to be "furious" at Professor Scruton's claims that he can use his contacts to place pro-tobacco articles.

In an e-mail, sent to Japan Tobacco last October, Professor Scruton boasted: "We would aim to place an article every two months in one or other of The WSJ (Wall Street Journal), The Times, the Telegraph, The Spectator, the Financial Times, The Economist, The Independent or the New Statesman."

Professor Scruton and his wife, Sophie, are consultants to Japan Tobacco, which produces Camel cigarettes.

Yesterday, Clive Bates, the director of the anti-tobacco group Ash, said: "Japan Tobacco should follow the FT and Wall Street Journal and dump Roger Scruton. Anything he says on tobacco now will immediately be discredited."

A spokesman for The Wall Street Journal said last night that Professor Scruton, who has worked for the paper since 1996, was not told in advance about the editorial.