Malcolm Turnbull and Rupert Murdoch (Images: AAP/Lukas Coch and Dan Himbrechts)

We at Crikey have nothing but respect for the exclusivity of publishing deals — something that News Corp can’t say after The Australian today published excerpts of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s biography, breaking an exclusivity deal with Nine.

But, as it happens, Crikey got an advance copy of Turnbull’s obituary for media mogul Rupert Murdoch. We simply couldn’t resist sharing. Here is a taste:

What can you say about a billionaire who died?

That he was very rich and ruthless, and that he hated action on climate change, paying tax — and me.

People would always ask me: “Malcolm, what the hell did you to do Rupert Murdoch? How is it the Murdoch family would rather have a Labor government, a party of economy-murdering, union-loving, climate-change believers over you?”

It’s a mystery. Even, I suspect, to those that work for him.

Still, like most conversations I involve myself in these days, this is not about me but Rupert, and everything he has achieved with his several hundred years on the planet.

For one thing, he was extremely rich. For another, so are his sons. And his daughters, for that matter.

But we can’t downplay his achievements in the field of publishing.

As I finished my book A Bigger Picture (which was undermined by leaks to News Corp, plus ça change I suppose), Australia was still billowing out smoke from the worst bush fires in our history. It was the turn of 2020.

Rupert’s papers were covering the fires. But also giving acres of coverage to attacking a 16-year-old girl. Apparently she had “many mental problems” for being worried about climate change. Is Greta Thunberg really such a threat?

Anyway, let me leave you with a thought: as we reflect on Rupert Murdoch’s achievements, we have to ask, what good has he done apart from making himself and his family rich?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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