Michael White (journalist)

Michael White (born 21 October 1945) is a British journalist who was until 2016 an associate editor of The Guardian. He is the paper's former political editor.

Michael White
Michael White, September 2009 2 cropped.jpg
White chairing a session for the Health Hotel in September 2009
Born (1945-10-21) 21 October 1945 (age 74)
Alma materUniversity College London (BA)
Home townWadebridge, Cornwall, England

Early lifeEdit

White was raised in Wadebridge, Cornwall.[1] He was educated at Bodmin Grammar School and then studied for a BA in History at University College London.


White began his career in journalism at the Reading Evening Post (1966–71) and after a spell at London's Evening Standard (1970–71) he moved to The Guardian, where he worked as a sub/feature writer (1971–74), diary writer (1974–76), political correspondent and sketchwriter (1976–84) and Washington correspondent from 1984.[2] He became the newspaper's political editor in 1990, succeeding Ian Aitken;[3] he relinquished the position to Patrick Wintour at the beginning of 2006. He retired from his Guardian positions in October 2016[4]. In 2003, he was voted Print Journalist of the Year by MPs and Peers in The House/BBC Parliamentary Awards.

He is a regular commentator on the BBC, introducing newspaper reviews and commenting on everything from Newsnight to Breakfast News, BBC News Channel and Question Time. He has also appeared on BBC Radio 4, introducing a programme on political insults, Savaged By A Dead Sheep.

White retired from The Guardian in October 2016 after almost 45 years at the paper.[5] He wrote a regular column for the Health Service Journal from 1977 to 2017.[6]

Political viewsEdit

Despite being a Labour Party supporter, White has not always had the easiest of relationships with Labour and its leading figures. In November 1991, following the death of Mirror owner Robert Maxwell, he was involved in a physical altercation with the title's political editor Alastair Campbell, later Director of Communications for Tony Blair, over White's use of the "Cap'n Bob, Bob, Bob" refrain.[7]

In February 2006, White detailed the changing attitudes of the Labour Party to The Guardian. He wrote that the Blair government changed its attitude to The Guardian, from hostility towards grudging friendship as the government lost "fair weather friends" on other papers. "It is no secret in the office, for example, that I think its coverage of the protracted crisis over Iraq since 2003, has not always been fair to Blair's position", he wrote.[8] Regarding the Israel–Palestine conflict, in July 2006 he wrote that over time his sympathies are shifting back to Israel "however short-sighted and self-defeating some of its actions are".[9]

White, in discussing media self-censorship in March 2011, said, "I have always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive tribal habits of the working class, which is more easily ignored altogether. Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and US Republicans are more straightforward targets."[10]

White has argued against some gay rights, including gay adoption and same-sex marriage.[11][12]


  1. ^ White, Michael (7 February 2008). "Michael White's political blog". Blogs.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  2. ^ "The Guardian's Michael White named Assistant Editor". The Guardian. London. 9 December 2005. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  3. ^ McKie, David (22 February 2018). "Ian Aitken obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Michael White reflects on 45 years as a Guardian journalist | The Guardian Members". membership.theguardian.com. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  5. ^ White, Michael (28 October 2016). "Michael White reflects on 45 years as a Guardian journalist". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Michael White's greatest hits: dispatches from 40 years on health's front line". Health Service Journal. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  7. ^ Michael White (5 November 2001). "White vs Campbell". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  8. ^ White, Michael (10 February 2006). "'Whose side are you on?'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  9. ^ White, Michael (18 July 2006). "Crisis and whispers". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  10. ^ White, Michael (9 March 2011). "Media self-censorship: not just a problem for Turkey". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  11. ^ White, Michael (14 February 2011). "Same-sex marriage cannot be the same as heterosexual marriage". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  12. ^ White, Michael (5 March 2012). "Gay marriage: noisy bishops are not always wrong". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2013.

External linksEdit

Media offices
Preceded by
Ian Aitken
Political Editor of The Guardian
Succeeded by
Patrick Wintour