We were going to quote extensively from the love letter to Margaret Thatcher that Rupert Murdoch delivered overnight (specifically, the News Corp boss’ inaugural Margaret Thatcher lecture entitled Free markets and free minds: the security of opportunity).

In his first major UK speech since 1989, Murdoch applauded the UK government on their aggressive spending cuts and touched on that phone tapping scandal (apparently News Corp “will not tolerate wrongdoing.”) But we got sidetracked, you see. By former newspaper magnate Conrad Black’s delightfully bitchy commentary on the orator in question.

As Roy Greenslade writes today, the Baron has written a lengthy review of three books about America’s three leading newspapers: The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and takes catty swipes at both the authors and the people they write about.

Here’s Conrad Moffatt Black on Murdoch:

Generally not overly forthcoming, rather monosyllabic, an enigma whose banter is nondescript bourgeois filler delivered in a mid-Pacific accent. His idea of humour is pretty coarse, in the Australian manner, without being very original, or very funny.

Murdoch has no discernible attachments to anyone or anything except the formidable company he has built … no business associate lasts long… Save for Ronald Reagan, he turned on every politician he ever supported in every country where he has operated; he discarded every loyal lieutenant, two wives and countless friendly acquaintances, as if he were changing his socks.

Murdoch is a great white shark, who mumbles and furrows his brow compulsively [with] orange-dyed hair … a man who is airtight in his ruthlessness, unlimited in his ambition, with the iron nerves to have bet the company again and again … is monotonous as a public speaker and unfathomable as a personality…

I have long thought that his social philosophy was contained in his cartoon show, The Simpsons: all politicians and public officials are crooks, and the masses are a vast lumpen proletariat of deluded and exploitable blowhards.

Someone needs to tell Conrad the world has changed since he got out of the clink. For one thing, Murdoch’s stopped dyeing his hair. That and the fact that The Simpson‘s world view is probably the most accurate version of reality to air on Fox.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW