Bad News

Writing about Murdoch, moguls and media power by Raymond Williams, Deborah Friedell, Andrew O’Hagan, Suzanne Moore, Ross McKibbin, John Lanchester, William Davies, Jenny Diski and Mary-Kay Wilmers.

Short Cuts: Fox News

Deborah Friedell, 5 November 2020

Trump is known to watch so much Fox News (up to seven hours a day, coded on his schedule as ‘executive time’) that some advertisers – farmers seeking subsidies, airlines opposed to foreign subsidies, the National Biodiesel Board – have produced commercials just for him. To nudge him on policy, White House aides try to book particular officials to speak directly to him on his favourite shows.

Who’s the real cunt? Dacre’s Paper

Andrew O’Hagan, 1 June 2017

The Daily Mail is like the drunken lout at a party who can’t get anyone to like him. Suddenly all the girls are sluts and all the men are poofs and he’s swinging at the chandelier before being huckled outside to vomit on the lawn.

Phwoar! Amanda Platell

Suzanne Moore, 6 January 2000

These days swearing occasionally or having a glass of wine at lunchtime is enough to qualify you as a bit of a character. As newspapers become less important, however, journalists become more self-important, especially the ones that report from the front line of their own lifestyles. 

Murdoch seems driven by insatiable ambition. He is never satisfied. Nothing appears complete, and the old man shows no sign of abandoning the struggle – especially as his heirs (his children) now publicly quarrel over the patrimony. What makes Rupert run? Money, power, glory, the business itself? 


John Lanchester, 21 November 2019

Succession is often said to be ‘about the Murdochs’, and I’ve heard that the pilot was explicitly about the family, but all the lawyers in the room fainted and then woke up screaming and now it’s about a fictional media dynasty called the Roys.

Short Cuts: Woke Conspiracies

William Davies, 24 September 2020

A British equivalent of Fox News, wherever it may come from, would have its own distinctive character – less evangelism and more Elgar, fewer guns and more poppies – but the commercial and political logic would be the same.

Mirror Images: Piers Morgan

Jenny Diski, 31 March 2005

I can see that if you are 28 and editor of the News of the World, then you are 30 and getting £175,000 a year for editing the Mirror, until nine years later when you get the sack and score a reported £1.2 million for your reminiscences, you might be inclined to advise people not to take life too seriously.

Lady Rothermere’s Fan

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 7 November 1985

That her husband was a rich and powerful press tycoon was something which, in later accounts, Ann always played down: ‘I regarded newspapers as I did the arrival of groceries and milk and paid but little attention,’ she wrote in 1955 to her brother.

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