Because neither of these important articles by David Rose in 1990 are available easily online I’m posting now for research purposes Continue reading
There’s some contradictory evidence from the Leveson Inquiry and the Phone Hacking trial about just how much Rupert Murdoch was interested in his best selling Sunday Tabloid. Before Lord Justice Leveson in 2012, the chair of News Corp said the Sun was his major UK interest and he rarely concerned himself with NOTW, but earlier this year both Brooks and Coulson at the phone hacking trial gave evidence of weekly calls from Murdoch, throughout their editorships.
This snippet, from Piers Morgan‘s autobiography, shows that – at least on one occasion – Murdoch knew more than his editors. Concerned about a Princess Diana ‘phone pest’ story (allegedly sourced illegally through a police file) the then editor is reassured first by his news editor, Alex Marunchak, and then by Murdoch himself, that the story would stand up. Continue reading
Below is a reprint of my article for Independent Australia which appeared today, links and video courtesy of them.
AT THE BEGINNING of the phone hacking trial in London, which began nearly four months ago, the judge, Justice Saunders, said:
“… not only are the defendants on trial, but British justice is on trial.”
He could have added, given the nature of the charges and the defendants, so too is the British media, which is second only to Australia in the English speaking world in its heavily concentrated ownership.
Now that we’re at a half time mark at the central criminal court of the Old Bailey, with the prosecution having made its case, and the seven defendants – including former CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, Rebekah Brooks, and British Prime Minister David Cameron’s former press supremo, Andy Coulson – about to mount their defence, how has the legal struggle in court been reflected in the aerial warfare of the newsstands, airwaves and internet? Continue reading
So here’s me, vaingloriously quoting myself. But worth pointing out how IA is one of the remaining truly independent news organisations in Australia, which has an issue of press concentration that makes the immense power of News International (now News UK) look paltry. Compared to the 40% or so ownership of Fleet St, Murdoch’s News Ltd owns 70% of the Australian Press..
So read the rest on Independent Australia. I repeat some things I’ve already said here. But the focus on the News of the World as a global leader is important.
So the air war continues. While the hacking trial has revealed how central the politics of personal destruction were to the now defunct News of the World, the Mail on Sunday has continued its campaign to yoke Tony Blair into Rupert Murdoch’s divorce from Wendi Deng.
Both front page splashes, from last Sunday and yesterday, seem to come from briefings from within News Corp, or sources close to the 82 year old media mogul, so should be taken with a boulder of salt. Though even the internal sources admit Deng’s friendship with Blair isn’t the cause of the divorce, they’re happy to keep the rumour mill rolling with a mixture of innuendo and guilt by association – a classic tabloid technique.
As George Monbiot suggested, that Deng and Blair had an affair is dubious and has been vigorously denied, but Blair and Murdoch did have a political liaison that lasted nearly 20 years. Indeed, in the famed public rapprochement at Hayman Island News Corporation summit in 1995, as the new Labour leader Blair flew half way around the world to court Britain’s most powerful press baron, Murdoch compared their political dalliance to “two porcupines making love…. very carefully.”
This much is sure: that affair is now over, and Murdoch’s flirtation with New Labour seems to have ended in recrimination and vendetta. While tabloids blind us with the personalisation of politics, it’s worth looking at the politics of this personalisation.
This is from the Mail Online and so should be taken with a boulder of salt. However, rumours of a Deng affair were circulating before the the hacking scandal in early 2011. They have been denied by her, and all those associated. The one point that remains entirely credible is Michael Wolff‘s below: after all, he met most the player involved while writing his biography of Murdoch. Dan Sabbagh, formerly of the Times and now writing for the Guardian, has an interesting take on the Mail splash
Catching up with mail on sunday splash…mentions of murdoch v rare in associated titles even if Blair normally irresistible.
— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) November 24, 2013
Given that…makes me think an angry murdoch wants it out there. #battleofthegodfathers
— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) November 24, 2013
Claims of an affair between Mr Blair and Ms Deng swept the internet when Mr Murdoch filed for divorce in June. They were sparked by a tweet from BBC journalist Robert Peston who said: ‘Am told that undisclosed reasons for Murdoch divorcing Deng are jaw-dropping and hate myself for wanting to know what they are.’
The trial of some of Rupert Murdoch\’s close associates, accused of telephone hacking, bribery, obstruction of justice and conspiracy, is now underway in London, threatening to expose ever-deeper veins of skulduggery in Murdoch\’s company. Surely a low point in his 60-year career.
And yet, Murdoch is telling people he may never have been happier in his life.
This is partly because he believes that he and his family have largely beaten the rap. But it is also a personal trait of Murdoch\’s, being able to write off the past, with both finesse and brutality. And for everything to turn out well for him.
His personal life, his work life and his family life, despite the threat of hackinggate, have all come into alignment. At 82, he believes he has set the stage for another 15 years.