Fraser Nelson – The Matrix Database

Fraser Nelson. Holding the powerful to account.

The Matrix Project is an effort to document personal factors that undermine powerful journalists’ claims of objectivity and impartiality. Are factors such as an elite education, establishment connections, personal wealth and interests in rival fields compatible with journalistic integrity? 

This page looks at Editor of The Spectator Fraser Nelson. For more information on the database click here.

Education

Learn about the significance of a private/Oxbridge education here

Fraser Nelson boarded at the independent Dollar Academy. (Source)

He graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in History and Politics, and with a diploma in Journalism from City University London. (Source)

Revolving Door

Learn about the significance of the Revolving Door here.

Fraser Nelson is a board member of the centre-right think-tank Centre For Social Justice, founded by Iain Duncan Smith and Tim Montgomerie. (Source)

He is also a board member of the Conservative Party affiliated think-tank Centre For Policy Studies, founded by Margaret Thatcher. (Source)

“Establishment” Connections

Learn about the significance of Establishment Connections here

Primary

None.

Secondary

I’m a friend of Allegra Stratton” wrote Fraser Nelson, at the beginning of a column defending the high-profile journalist-turned No.10 spokesperson after she resigned in disgrace following the “Partygate” scandal (source)

Salary/Indications of Wealth

Learn about the significance of journalists with an unusual level of wealth here

Neither Fraser Nelson nor The Spectator disclose his salary. As editor, as well as a regular columnist for The Telegraph, Nelson is likely to earn significantly more than the average wage.

As a point of reference, the Office for National Statistics list the average UK salary for 2021 as £26,193.

Complaints / apologies / controversies

Learn about the significance of complaints/apologies here

As editor of The Spectator Nelson has been criticised several times for publishing articles by Taki Theodoracopulos, including one praising the Far-Right Greek organisation Golden Dawn and another sympathising with the Nazi Wehrmacht.

His stewardship has also been questioned for the continued commissioning of Rod Liddle as a contributor to The Spectator, including an article from 2019 in which Liddle “in a single paragraph belittles the experiences of domestic abuse survivor Rosie Duffield, the Labour MP for Canterbury, then suggests that Muslims be prevented from voting.”

Summary

Fraser Nelson was privately educated at an independent school, is on the board of two influential right-wing think-tanks, admitted friendship with a high-profile spin doctor he defended in print and is likely to earn significantly more than the UK average. He has been criticised for allowing Far-Right and Islamophobic articles to be published under his editorship of The Spectator.

Impartial? Independent? Holding the powerful to account?

Learn more about the Matrix Project here.

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