A rupert reader

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Bruce Page’s list of essential reading

on Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation

Bennett, W Lance; Lawrence, Regina G; Livingston, Steven:

When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina. (Chicago 2007). A sobering look at the relationship between political power and the news media, through the prism of the coverage of the run up to the Iraq War and beyond.
Bolton, Roger, Death on the Rock, and Other Stories. W. H. Allen, 1990. Describes the role of the Murdoch Sunday Times (London) in intimidating witnesses critical of killings by British security forces.
Chenoweth, Neil, Virtual Murdoch: Reality Wars on the Information Highway. Secker & Warburg, 2001. Brilliant account of News Corp. financial maneuvers, especially the funding of the Fox network.
Chippindale, Peter and Horrie, Chris, Stick It Up Your Punter: The Story of the Sun Newspaper. Simon & Schuster, 1999. Ferociously detailed account of the principal Murdoch tabloid.
Christiansen, Arthur, Headlines All My Life. Harper, 1962. Illuminates the pre-Murdoch history of the British popular press.
Cockett, Richard, Twilight of the Truth. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989. Classic account of press collaboration in official myth-making.
Crozier, Michael, The Making of the Independent. Gordon Fraser, 1988. Brief factual account of the origins of a newspaper: disproves the claim that its advent was due to union-busting achievements of News Corporation.
Cuozzo, Steven, It’s Alive: How America’s Oldest Newspaper Cheated Death and Why It Matters. Times Books, 1996. Companion piece to Stick It Up Your Punter: inside story of the New York Post described by a Murdoch super-trusty.
Deamer, Adrian, Audio tape TRV 2984, Oral History Collection. National Library of Australia. Murdoch's best Australian editor gives a cool account of Murdoch gratitude.
Downie, Leonard Jr. and Kaiser, Robert G., The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril. Knopf, 2002. Indispensable text on the dangers facing genuine journalism in America and elsewhere.
Evans, Harold, Good Times, Bad Times (3rd edition). Phoenix, 1994. Detailed account of Murdoch's destruction of editorial independence at The Times of London. Must be read by anyone who fancies that an “independent board” or similar mechanism might protect The Wall Street Journal.
Fitzgerald, T. M., Audio tape TRC 2247, Oral History Collection. National Library of Australia. Additional to Deamer, cited above.
Garden, Don, A Talent for Ubiquity: The Life of Theodore Fink. Melbourne University Press, 1998. Biography of the man who gave Keith Murdoch (Rupert's father) his first break—and who had to stop Keith's attempt to assume total control of Australian journalism during World War II.
Giles, Frank, Sundry Times. John Murray, 1986. To be read alongside Evans (above). Giles was pressured by Murdoch into displacing Sunday Times executives who were supposed to be safeguarded by “independence” agreements.
Grigg, John, The History of The Times, vol. 6: 1966–1981. Harper Collins, 1993. Officially published when the Murdoch regime was highly confident: contains Rupert's admission that he was aware of Thatcher's intention to favor him.
Hamilton, C. D. (Sir Denis), Editor in Chief: The Fleet Street Memoirs of Denis Hamilton. Hamish Hamilton, 1989. Some background to the News Corp. takeover of Times Newspapers Ltd.
Harris, Robert, Gotcha!: The Media, the Government and the Falklands Crisis. Faber, 1986. Describes of the Sun's violently irresponsible coverage of the Falklands war--including its allegations of “treachery” against the BBC and other sources that did not accept all UK government propaganda.
Harris, Robert, Selling Hitler. Faber, 1986. Hilarious account of Rupert Murdoch and minions purchasing the crudely forged diaries of the dead dictator.
Hentoff, Nat, Speaking Freely: A Memoir. Knopf, 1997. Murdoch's distaste for editorial freedom at The Village Voice.
Horsman, Matthew, Sky High. Orion Business Books, 1998. Frank account of the construction of the UK satellite TV monopoly, with Margaret Thatcher's remark on the “unbiased” nature of news produced by Rupert Murdoch’s employees.
Howe, Sir Geoffrey, Conflicts of Loyalty. Macmillan, 1994. Inside Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, with some details on the political role of the Murdoch newspapers.
Hundt, Reed, You Say You Want a Revolution. Yale University Press, 2000. The regulatory context within which Fox came to exist.
Inglis, K. S., The Stuart Case. Melbourne University Press, 1961; Black Ink, 2002. Rupert Murdoch's first encounter with political power.
Kearns, Burt, Tabloid Baby. Celebrity Books, 1999. Goes with Punter and It's Alive (above): naively boastful account of tabloid newspaper journalism jumping the species barrier into television.
Kelly, Paul, November 1975. Allen & Unwin, 1995. Account by a Murdoch employee of the destruction of the Whitlam administration in Australia. Much of the reality is passed over in silence.
Kiernan, Thomas, Citizen Murdoch. Dodd, Mead & Co., 1986. The author started writing an official biography of Murdoch in the mid-80s, but found that the proprietor of the New York Post had a conception of journalism that dismayed him. Published without Murdoch's authority, and indispensable.
Knightley, Phillip, The First Casualty. Harcourt Brace, 1975. Study of war correspondents that uncritically accepts the heroic propaganda about Rupert's father Sir Keith Murdoch. Not to be taken without a dose of Serle (below).
Lamb, Larry, Sunrise: The Remarkable Rise and Rise of the Best-selling Soaraway Sun. Papermac, 1989. Boastful but frank account of the ripping-off of the Daily Mirror.
Linklater, Magnus and Leigh, David, Not with Honour: The Inside Story of the Westland Scandal. Sphere, 1986. Contains most of the known detail about Murdoch's role in saving the Thatcher administration—and his own business interests—from collapse during the Battle of Wapping in 1986.
Mayer, Henry, The Press in Australia. Lansdowne Press, 1968. Contains an account of The Australian as a successful newspaper before Murdoch dismissed its insufficiently pliable editor.
Menadue, John, Things You Learn Along the Way. David Lovell, 1999. A senior Murdoch manager gives details on Murdoch extracting business favors from the Australian government. Demolishes Murdoch's claim that he has never done so.
Munster, George, Rupert Murdoch: A Paper Prince. Penguin, 1987. Brilliant account of early Murdoch wheeler-dealing in media assets and politics .
Neil, Andrew, Full Disclosure. Macmillan, 1996. Egotistical, but intermittently frank memoir by a competent editor who in the end proved too competent for Murdoch.
Patten, Chris, East and West. Pan, 1999. The book about China that Murdoch refused to publish. Contains shrewd accounts of Murdoch's real politics.
Pringle, John Douglas, Have Pen Will Travel (Chatto, 1974) and Australian Accent (Rigby,1978). Useful accounts of competing against Murdoch journalism in 1960s Australia.
Pringle, Peter and Jacobson, Philip, Those Are Real Bullets, Aren’t They? Fourth Estate, 2000. Probably the best one-volume account of the Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland: exemplifies the independent quality of London Sunday Times reporting before the Murdoch takeover.
Prior, James (Lord Prior), A Balance of Power. Hamish Hamilton, 1986. Read with Howe (above) gives some details of the Sun's role in faction-fighting within Margaret Thatcher's 1980s cabinet.
Royal Commission on the Press, Chairman Lord Shawcross: 1961–1962. Cmnd 1811, HMSO, 1962. Royal Commission on the Press, Chairman O. R. McGregor: 1973–1976. Cmnd 6433, HMSO, 1976. Background to the development of British news-media competition law, largely destroyed by Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s.
Schudson, Michael, The Power of News. Harvard University Press, 1995. Masterly account of the rise of the “professional-commercial” (politically neutral) newspaper in the United States.
Scraton, Phil, Hillsborough: The Truth (Mainstream, 1999): Scraton, Phil, Jemphrey, Ann and Coleman, Sheila, No Last Rights: The Denial of Justice and the Promotion of Myth in the Aftermath of Hillsborough. (Liverpool City Council, 1995). Unflinching accounts of the Sun's cruel, dishonest, and incompetent treatment of deaths caused by a soccer-stadium disaster in northern England. Disturbing companion-volumes to Stick It Up Your Punter (above).
Serle, Geoffrey, John Monash: A Life. Melbourne University Press, 1990. In describing the life of a great soldier, shows that Rupert Murdoch's father Sir Keith was a dramatically unscrupulous and dishonest pseudo-journalist.
Shawcross, William, Murdoch. Chatto, 1992. A more-or-less official version, almost entirely wide-eyed.
Snoddy, Raymond, The Good, the Bad and the Unacceptable: The Hard News about the British Press. Faber, 1993. Useful account of the context within which The Sun and the News of the World became goldmines for News Corporation.
Toohey, Brian and Pinwill, William, Oyster. Heinemann, 1989. Account of the crazy days of Australian spying: background to Murdoch's intrigues with Black Jack McEwen.
Tuccille, Jerome, Rupert Murdoch. Donald I. Fine, 1989. Clear-eyed account of Murdoch’s use of Australian accounting techniques to gain an edge over U.S.-based competitors.
Williams, Francis, Dangerous Estate. Longmans, 1957. Important account of the strengths and weaknesses of the British popular press on the eve of Rupert Murdoch's Fleet Street arrival.
Windlesham, P. and Rampton, R., QC, The Windlesham/Rampton Report on ‘Death on the Rock’. Faber, 1989. Detailed description of coverage of the killing of several IRA members by British special forces. Shows Murdoch’s Sunday Times giving deeply biased support to government attacks on independent witnesses.
Wyatt, Woodrow, The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt (three volumes), ed. Sarah Curtis. Macmillan, 1998–2000. The secretly written diaries of a man who was an intimate adviser to both Rupert Murdoch and Margaret Thatcher. Gives very specific details of trading in political favors and biased media support.

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