By Mikey Smith
Rupert Murdoch is an Australian born American, who owns a number
of the world’s top media outlets. Murdoch, who is the 132nd
richest person in the world bought ‘The Sun’ newspaper
in 1969. He transformed The Sun into a red
top tabloid, which was, and still is primarily aimed at the working
The common formula in the early days was ‘Sensation,
Sex and Sport’, under the editorship of Larry Lamb. This shocked
the nation at first, particularly with the inclusion of topless models
in the paper; but sales of the tabloid soared.
On taking over the paper, Murdoch was quoted as saying that
he would publish a 'straightforward, honest paper’.
However, The Sun has always carried an obvious media bias
in terms of politics. In 2007 Murdoch was quoted as saying he considered
himself to be a traditional proprietor,
which means that he has control over which political party The Sun
backs, as well as other major issues.
Initially, the tabloid supported the
then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the Conservative party.
In the late nineties Murdoch and The Sun infamously changed
their allegiance to the Labour party ahead of the 1997 general
election. However, in 2009 Murdoch, once again changed back to
the Conservative party, who are currently favourites for the next
general election. Many people believe that Murdoch plainly supports
the party which looks most likely to win, as this gives him the
chance to influence government policies.
There have been six editors during Murdoch’s reign as
owner of the paper. The longest serving and arguably most controversial
was Kelvin MacKenzie, who was appointed in 1981 and held the post
until 1994. During this time The Sun became established as
the nation’s best selling newspaper. However this was also
arguably the most controversial era of The Sun under Murdoch’s
MacKenzie was held responsible for some of the most shocking
and damaging Sun stories. One of the most controversial stories
was run by MacKenzie at the beginning of the Falklands war, when
the General Belgrano was torpedoed by British troops.
the headline in the first edition which caused great controversy,
as it was understood that the attack on the ship was unlawful, which
made the headline all the more insensitive. However in ‘Stick
It Up Your Punter’ a book which labels itself the 'Uncut story
of the Sun newspaper' stated that when questioned about the
headline, Murdoch remarked; ‘I rather like it’.
The most damaging times during Murdoch’s reign was the coverage
of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster in 1989. MacKenzie
ran a story headlined ‘The Truth’, and gave a highly
controversial account of what happened, with little of what was written
based on fact.
The story caused uproar, and was considered completely
inaccurate by both the government inquiry as well as the Press Council.
Murdoch later ordered Mackenzie to apologise live on national radio.
He was encouraged to leave his post five years later by Murdoch and
there have been four other editors since his departure.
Rupert Murdoch has successfully used The Sun to help him dominate
the world of media, as it has given him the platform to have an impact
on the world of British politics.
-BBC News archive at bbcnews.co.uk
- ‘Stick It Up Your Punter’ by Peter Chippindale and