The world according to Rupert Murdoch

The elderly magnate's evidence – given under oath – was notable for some deadpan statements that some might find surprising

"I never gave instruction to the editor of The Times or Sunday Times"

There is a difference between telling editors what to do and hiring editors who know your views – and follow them (or indeed making them aware of your views). Andrew Neil, who edited The Sunday Times between 1983 and 1994, recalled in Full Disclosure that although the proprietor did not expect to see his views repeated immediately in the next paper "he had a quiet, remorseless, sometimes threatening way of laying down the parameters within which you were expected to operate... stray too far too often from his general outlook and you will be looking for a new job."

The former Times and Sunday Times editor Harold Evans said that Murdoch broke all of his promises of editorial independence after taking over titles.

"We have never pushed our commercial interests in our newspapers"

An absurd lie. For years plugs for Murdoch's BSkyB network so regularly littered his papers that Private Eye began a fortnightly feature on them; 20th Century Fox films are often warmly received by his redtops; books published by HarperCollins (admittedly a major publisher) are frequently serialised in his titles.

Aside from almost uniformly backing one political party or another at general elections, arguably in News Corp's commercial interests, his newspapers also promote favourable stories and ignore embarrassing ones: The Times took an unusually close interest in the misdeeds, indiscretions and affairs of the former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi (who owned TV stations competing with Sky Italia), but until July 2011 The Times, Sunday Times, Sun and News of the World wrote very little about the phone-hacking scandal.

"I have never asked a Prime Minister for anything"

Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair remain on good terms with Murdoch and have not said that he demanded anything. However, they were both supported by Murdoch and they both did him favours. After Tony Blair cosied up to Murdoch by flying to a News Corp conference in Australia in 1995, Blair implicitly acknowledged the tycoon's menace, telling Piers Morgan: "It is better to be riding the tiger's back than let it rip your throat out." Blair's successor, Gordon Brown, claimed that News Corp had set out a series of demands to his government, including cutting the budget of the BBC, reducing Ofcom's powers and protecting BSkyB's rights to screen live sport. Brown – who said he resisted the demands – lost the support of Murdoch's newspapers at the 2010 general election. David Cameron – who won the endorsement – subsequently backed News Corp's controversial plan to take over all of BSkyB. Emails now released to the Leveson Inquiry indicate that the Government actively helped Murdoch to land the deal.

Murdoch disputes that all 175 of his newspapers worldwide backed the Iraq War

Robert Jay QC: "The March 2003 Gulf War, all 175 papers around the world which you owned backed the war, didn't they?"

Murdoch: "I don't own 475."

Jay: "175."

Murdoch: "Well, it would include a lot of little suburban papers, free sheets and things, which wouldn't have had a view, but yes, we did support the war, as did most papers, including even The New York Times."


At the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2007, Murdoch made no secret of the fact that, through his newspapers, he had been seeking to shape global public opinion in favour the war. "We tried," he said. "We basically supported – our papers – supported the [President George] Bush policy. We've been very critical of its execution, but our support hasn't meant very much because public opinion now has grown very tired of the whole enterprise."

Why mogul supported Alex Salmond

Rupert Murdoch said that he had a "warm relationship" with Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister

He described Mr Salmond as "an amusing guy" and said: "I enjoy his company - I enjoy talking with him or listening to him."

Mr Murdoch's Sun newspaper backed Mr Salmond's Scottish National Party at last year's Holyrood elections.

At the Leveson Inquiry yesterday, an email from a senior figure at News Corp suggested Mr Salmond would call the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt "whenever we need him to" while Mr Hunt was deciding whether News Corp should be allowed to take over BSkyB.

Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders in Scotland called for Mr Salmond to explain his behaviour to MSPs.

In a statement Mr Salmond denied any wrong-doing and described the suggestion he would contact Mr Hunt as "email tittle-tattle".

Martin Hickman is co-author of 'Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain'

Suggested Topics
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform