The Guardian has published the long preface to a new memoir, Good Times, Bad Times, by Harold Evans, the legendary former editor of the Sunday Times and a hero of mine. (See link below.)
In it, he offers a front-row-centre view of Rupert Murdoch’s tactics in his rise to global media dominance and an assessment of the negative impact the media baron has had on journalism in the UK, the US and Australia. He shows that the phone-hacking scandal at the now defunct News of the World was not an anomaly; the seeds of corruption were sown at the very beginning.
Evans’ piece is rather long but it’s well worth reading if you are interested in the corruption of public discourse and journalism in western democratic countries.
Evans and Murdoch have always fascinated me. Newspaper publishing is highly specialised, yet they are the few who actually know the whole business – reporting, editing, subediting, editorialising, page layout, typesetting, use of visuals, printing presses – the whole shebang. Murdoch, of course, turns this humble business into a global force of influence and domination.
They are the yin and yang of western-style journalism. Evans and the reporting team he led at the Sunday Times are for me the models of unimpeachable journalistic integrity. As for Murdoch, well, it’s quite the opposite. Evans calls Murdoch Lucifer in the Guardian piece, and he is probably not far from the truth.
By the way, I just realised the double entendre in his book title: good [Sunday] Times under Evans, bad [Sunday] Times after Murdoch took over.