Mail editor hits back at Murdoch


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The Independent Online

Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, hit back at Rupert Murdoch yesterday over the media mogul's claims that editorial policy at the mid-market newspaper was driven by commercial interests.

In a clash of two media titans, Mr Dacre accused the 81-year-old head of News Corp of being "hopelessly muddled" and accused Mr Murdoch of "ruthlessly" using his British newspapers to promote his BSkyB channels.

The row is rooted in emails revealed at the Leveson Inquiry this week which suggested that Mr Dacre had said in a conversation with the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the opposition of the Mail titles to the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corp last year was "purely motivated by commercial reasons".

During his own evidence to the press standards inquiry, Mr Murdoch, who reiterated his admiration for the editor-in-chief of the Mail titles and said he had once tried to poach him to edit The Times, claimed he had been "really shocked" by Mr Dacre's supposed claim, adding that it was "the most unethical thing I've read for a long time".

Mr Dacre said the News Corp boss had misconstrued a "private discussion" with Mr Hunt where he had spoken for a group of media organisations, including the BBC and The Guardian, on the threat the BSkyB deal posed to editorial plurality.

Mr Dacre said: "That I believed that the Mail's editorial policy is driven by commercial interests – this from a man who over the years has ruthlessly used his papers to promote Sky TV – is, frankly, risible."