Did Dacre meet Murdoch to discuss Cleggmania?


3:02 pm - April 22nd 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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It’s now open knowledge in Fleet Street that this morning James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, nee Wade, burst into the Independent editor Simon Kellner’s office.

Michael White wrote about it here this morning:

What seems to have upset them are ads that the Indy has been running along the lines of “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will.” Brooks apparently rang Simon Kelner, the editor-in-chief and now chief executive of the Indy to complain that dog does not eat dog in Fleet Street.

That means that editors and owners do not attack each other in person – not their politics, their finances or their private lives. Remember the running battle, later patched up, between the Daily Mail and the once-mighty Daily Express over the former’s habit of referring (correctly) to Express owner Richard Desmond as a pornographer? That sort of thing.

You’d think it was pretty outrageous that the Murdochs can’t even stand being pointed as big influencers in this election.

But here’s the question not many seem to be asking: how did they get into the building?

The Independent and the Daily Mail share the same building. Perhaps Murdoch and Brooks didn’t barge in straight to see Kellner at all. Perhaps they were already in the building.

Here is Channel 4’s Gary Gibbons:

You can very easily get into the Indy’s offices if you are already paying a visit to the Daily Mail offices that share the block. I haven’t managed to stand up that there was a meeting between Paul Dacre and the Murdoch delegation yesterday but it would be intriguing and very unusual if there was.

Unusual, but surprising? Probably not. The right-wing press are not only pissed off that their prize is slipping, but they are very, very angry.

Did Paul Dacre meet with News International executives to talk about strategy? It’s a very real possibility isn’t it…?

Update - related piece by Michael Wolff

Later in the afternoon, in a coming-apart-at-the-seams scenario, Rebekah Wade/Brooks and Murdoch’s son, James—who will both face the wrath of Murdoch senior if they don’t produce a winner—stormed over to the Independent, breached its security systems, barged into the offices of the Independent’s editor-in-chief and top executive, Simon Kelner, and commenced, in Brit-speak, a giant row. Their point was that newspaper publishers don’t slag off other newspaper publishers in polite Britain, but also the point was to remind Kelner that he wasn’t just slagging off another publisher, he was slagging off the Murdochs, damn it. Indeed, the high point of the screaming match was Wade/Brooks, in a fit of apoplexy and high drama, neck muscles straining, saying to Kelner: “And I invited you to Blenheim in the first place!” Blenheim being the Murdoch family retreat and the highest social destination for all Murdoch loyalists and ambitious Brits in the media.

This is one way for empires to end.

Ouch!

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


“I haven’t managed to stand up that there was a meeting between Paul Dacre and the Murdoch delegation yesterday but it would be intriguing and very unusual if there was.”

Come on guys!

At the same time that you carry stories attacking the Daily Mail accusing them of making things up you feature this article upon such a flimsy what if supposition.

I get it – in blogsphere we can vent our outrage and condescendingly accuse people of behaving just like us. How dare they!

Come on guys!

It’s a question – were they conspiring or not?

How else did they get into the building?

At least we’re not accusing Paul Dacre of being a nazi….

Did you hear this being discussed on the Today programme this morning?

It was quite funny listening to the guy from the Sun squirm… Kavanagh was it?

I reckon if Clegg wants to pick u a few more points in the polls he should make an issue of Murdoch’s overweening influence on British broadcasting and print media. I’m pretty sure some controls might be a vote winner!

It was fun watching the Tories panicking..but this is just the cherry on top!

“How else did they get into the building?”

Perhaps they used a DailyMailGate.

“Was Paul Dacre meeting with News International executives to talk about strategy?”

Eh? Where does it say he had a meeting with them?

Interesting to know the real story.

Of course “burst in” could be a dramatic description of turning up at reception and demanding a meeting just as much as its literal meaning.

But then why not just call?

I’ve amended the wording to avoid giving the impression that I know Dacre definitely met Murdoch.

Updated with another anecdote…

8. Luis Enrique

To me, it’s a surprising idea that the editors/owners of politically aligned newspapers should have a meeting to discuss Clegg, because I can’t immediately imagine why they would need to. I never imagined right-leaning newspapers had any trouble publishing politically biased coverage independently, or coming up with some Clegg-bashing, without coordinating amongst themselves. Does Dacre really need any help with that? If they are cooperating, I wonder about what. Would they really cooperate by sharing in-house generated material with their rivals? I don’t see how “agreeing to go after Clegg” gets them very far, nor why it requires a face to face meeting.

9. Golden Gordon

I don’t they need to have a meeting, it is pretty obvious to anyone that the only way the Tories can win the election is the lib dem vote has to be reduced in key marginals.
So they the Tories carry out a hatchet job aka Callaghan, Foot and Kinnock. they don’t need a conference to carry out the job.
Also it will work, it always has and always will
PS Look at the blogosphere from Nick Cohen, Harry’s place, Chas newkey burden, to most f the right wing sites the target is Clegg. There were no conferences just a realisation of the fact

10. Golden Gordon

Also it’s fun to attack the daily mail but isn’t the real story is the fact that Murdoch is trying to form a right wing media cartel. Here there will be no investigation into the dealings of newspapers by other papers.
Nick Cohen has been quite on that issue , not surprising when he took the time to defend Conrad Black in an insidious fashion

I mentioned in a thread on here last Saturday that the Clegg smears and attacks would be coordinated after the weekend polls confirmed the fall in the Tory vote. Coordinated by whom? As in all things follow the money. Who gains from stopping the rise of the Liberal Democrats? They are the ones doing the coordination.

The FT has said the two were there to see people at the Mail:

They had been in Northcliffe House – where The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers are tenants of the owners Daily Mail and General Trust – to meet senior DMGT executives.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9a4ba886-4e11-11df-b437-00144feab49a.html

Though poss the most obvious rebuttal to the story would be: It’s the Indy. Who cares?!

“That means that editors and owners do not attack each other in person – not their politics, their finances or their private lives.”

Which tells you all you need to know about the cosy little club the newspapers have in this country.

It is well past the time when Murdoch and Darce were called on their bullshit. If Cameron does not win the election the govt should break Murdochs empire up once and for all, and Darce can be sent to do pig farming in Poland. Might teach him some manners.

Its cjcjcjcjcjc

Who cares what the tory brownshirt troll thinks.

Someone else needs a lesson in manners!

Sally

Its cjcjcjcjcjc

Who cares what the tory brownshirt troll thinks.

That’s pretty poor in my opinion, and if this website was more like that, it wouldn’t be one worth bothering with IMO.

rebekah wade originally persuaded james murdoch to support cameron. james in turn persuaded his dad rupert,who was sceptical of cameron. it looks like james and rebekah are panicking now if cameron isn’t elected . imagine ruperts anger directed to those 2.

Rebekah has got a bit too big for her boots these days.

Of course it does not help that she has taken up with the moron horsey set.

Her new husband has got less sense than the horses he trains.


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