News of the World
Fleet Street Blues: The Last Days of British Journalism
November 30, 2012
The Leveson Report's false promises to reform the British press.
Did you see Robert Blake on the “Piers Morgan Show” last week? You can catch up with it on the CNN website, even if it’s now become a series of bites or takes, with bleeps here and there. It was the movie of the week, where you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen and didn’t know what to believe. What more can you ask for? First, the contestants: Piers Morgan is 47, six-feet-one and barely shy of 200 pounds, I’d guess. He has a plush, self-satisfied poker face, not too far from David Cameron.
Time has not appeared to be on Rupert Murdoch’s side in the phone hacking scandal. The stream of revelations about the ethically and legally dubious practices at Murdoch’s media properties seems to have no end. And as the investigations have taken their toll, Britain’s Left has mostly watched in glee, assuming that their longtime adversary was finally receiving his comeuppance. Yet the schadenfreude seems to have been premature.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Wall Street Journal is sending surveys to its subscribers, asking them if a little scandal on the other side of the pond has affected their regard for the Journal. Have readers, for example, “heard or seen anything in the news or elsewhere over the past few weeks about News Corp. or News of the World, a U.K.-based tabloid?” Just wondering. And do readers know, the Journal asks, that Rupert Murdoch chairs the company that is the publisher of the Journal?
Pro-Rupert Murdoch editorials have a lot in common. For starters, they’re all published in newspapers owned by or associated with Murdoch. Then, there’s everything else about them: their argumentation, their structure, their themes, their key phrases. It’s almost as if the papers are cribbing off each other, or some kind of master Murdoch defense document. To be sure, not all of the News Corp titles have editorialized in defense of their owner. For example, the New York Post is going for a “hear no evil” approach, burying News of the World scandal stories on page 35.
The never-ending News Of The World saga took a strange turn today when someone tried to pie Rupert Murdoch in the midst of his appearance in Parliament. The shaving-cream pie assailant is allegedly “Jonnie Marbles,” a self-described activist who invoked Sydney Carton (“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done...”) and took responsibility for the attack on Twitter. From the video, it appears that Marbles, who was ultimately arrested, didn’t quite succeed in reaching Murdoch.
Top 10 Moments from the 'News of the World' Hearings
July 19, 2011
[Guest post by Gabriel Debenedetti] This morning’s News Corp parliamentary hearing in London boasted more than its fair share of explosive moments, from the absurd to the slightly frightening. As Rupert Murdoch appeared old and occasionally hard-of-hearing, his son James seemed both shrewd and uncompromising. Up next was the reviled Rebekah Brooks, who came across as fatigued and unsympathetic. With the hearings fresh in our minds, TNR brings you the top ten moments from the proceedings: 10.
News Corp vs. Its Critics
July 18, 2011
[Guest post by Alex Klein.] Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial has the title “News and its Critics”—obviously, it’s missing a word. The piece’s real title should be “News Corp and its Critics,” or even better, “News Corp vs. its Critics.” It’s a piece by News Corp, for News Corp. The problem is, the ugly 1044-word attack on the company’s “competitor-critics” alternates between catty defensiveness, a drunk beat poet, and utter incomprehensibility.
Rupert Murdoch: Rupert Murdoch is a Fearless Leader
July 15, 2011
[Guest post by Alex Klein] "In Interview, Murdoch Defends News Corp." proclaims a much-buzzed headline on the Murdoch and News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal. It's a stretch of a title. The 700-word piece is less "interview" than stenography, a generous opportunity for the mogul to swagger, project confidence, and bend the truth. There are a lot of so-sad-it's-funny quotes, but the best by far is Murdoch's promise to institute a "protocol for behavior" at all of his newspapers.
July 13, 2011
When Rupert Murdoch acquired The Times of London and The Sunday Times in 1981, he also acquired a board of “independent national directors”-among them, the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper. Two years later, by way of a shady German tabloid, The Sunday Times bought the rights to a series of newly discovered journals supposedly written by Adolf Hitler. Some of us thought this didn’t so much just smell fishy as reek, coming as it did after a long line of similar forgeries.