The Bulletin’s editor Garry Linnell was a dedicated Fairfax man
for most of his career but he’s certainly taken to the Packer
memorabilia industry with great gusto and is receiving all sorts of
tributes for the magazine’s tribute issue to Kerry Packer.

“I got a note from the family saying that they really love it,” Linnell told industry newsletter Mediaweek,
whilst also suggesting the big man had approved it before his death:
“Basically it was his parting gift to the magazine – allowing us to
come out with this tribute.”

Amazingly, The Bulletin
will probably end up making a profit from the death of its owner.
Whilst originally expecting to sell no ads in the 98-page issue because
of the 48-hour turnaround, Linnell told Mediaweek: “The ad team
came in and Harold Mitchell was sensational and really helped us out.
We figured we’d lose money, but it’s not going to be a loss-maker for
us, it will probably make money, not that we did it to make a profit.”

Mitchell was all over the media paying tribute to Packer in the
after his death was announced, which was not surprising given that in a
globalised advertising world, he has emerged as arguably the
biggest independent media buyer in any major market thanks to the
support of people like the Packers.

Linnell suggested that the only criticism of the issue came from our
bunker, which remains banned by all parts of the Packer empire even
after the death of the man who ordered the ban:

“Some of the journos at some companies would have liked us to have
been tougher and I think Crikey had a couple of punts at us for being
sycophantic – that’s a danger when you are bringing out a magazine
about a guy who ran your own company.”

Don’t get me wrong, it was a fascinating edition which I read cover to
cover and Linnell is right about Les Carlyon’s fabulous effort: “Twelve
hours later (after commissioning) he filed 4,000 untouchable
words, not one spelling error, beautiful copy, that’s what he’s like.”

One of the small problems with the tribute issue is that everything in
there will now be treated as fact. One of the greatest Packer
sycophants of them all, Alan Jones, wrote that he donated “hundreds of
millions” to hospitals over the years. That’s more than $200 million,
which really is hard to believe.

Finally, Linnell claimed that he would also put out a special tribute
issue if Rupert Murdoch died. Err, that might struggle to get past PBL
management given the state of relations after the One-Tel hearings and The Australian’s rather charmless editorial on December 29 focusing on Packer’s ability to make money out of government favours.