Donald Trump with Super Bowl winners the New England Patriots this week.
Donald Trump with Super Bowl winners the New England Patriots this week. Fairfax’s chief foreign correspondent Paul McGeough’s coverage of Trump has come under scrutiny. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Newly-appointed national editor James Chessell, who is still the Australian Financial Review’s Europe editor based in London (and expounded on the snap UK election this week), contacted the chief foreign correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, Paul McGeough, in Washington last week and told him his commentary on US president Donald Trump was “too anti-Trump”, according to some Fairfax sources. This view, aired regularly in the pages of News Corp’s Australian newspaper, is said to be shared by Fairfax bosses Greg Hywood and Sean Aylmer.

Other Fairfax insiders say McGeough, a former editor of the SMH and veteran frontline war correspondent from Baghdad to Afghanistan, has been told to change from non-stop commentary and analysis and become more of a conventional foreign correspondent. That means more news feature writing and even the odd non-Trump story. He, like other correspondents, has been urged to be careful with emotive language too; although he’s been told he can still be critical of the president when necessary.

Chessell said: “We think Paul is an excellent journalist and columnist, awarded over many years, and we are pleased he works at Fairfax.”

Edit: The rest of this article is on other subjects and I haven’t published the balance of this article.

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