The strength of the Murdoch newspaper and TV empire was that it occupied the commanding heights of a kind of journalism that dispenses power, intimidates and influences politicians and shapes political outcomes.
The other rival power node is Jonathan Harmsworth’s Daily Mail and General Trust – which sets the agenda for all other news media in the UK but lacks the global reach.
Conrad Black’s Daily Telegraph once occupied the third peak, but in terms of influence has been a shadow of its former self in terms of influence since the old proprietor went to jail, and then – under new owners – broke the MPs’ expenses scandal.
The primary function of these journalistic centres of power is to dispense approval or disapproval to politicians. A News International journalist isreported to have said to Labour leader Ed Miliband: “You’ve made it personal with Rebekah so we’re going to make it personal with you.”
That is the kind of power that, until about 1500 on Thursday, journalists in that circle could wield.
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