Some media observers are still naive enough to believe that cheering for one side against the other is the full extent of the press barons’ interference in the electoral process. That could not be further from the truth. We now know that Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born US citizen who has never had the vote in this country, intervened directly in the EU referendum campaign to secure the result he wanted.
Moreover, Murdoch was personally directing one of the leading lights in the Vote Leave camp, Michael “Oiky” Gove, a direction that was admitted yesterday by Press Gazette in a post titled “Michael Gove met Sun editor and Rupert Murdoch a week before 'Queen backs Brexit' front page”. Gove was suspected at the outset of being the source for that infamous headline, which turned out to be so untrue, not even IPSO could defend it.
The article goes on to note “The then justice secretary has been accused by former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg of being the anonymous source behind the story, which claimed the Queen had given the ex-Liberal Democrat leader a dressing down over his support for the EU … Gove has never confirmed or denied being behind the claim … After losing his bid to become Tory leader Gove was given a job as a columnist by Murdoch-owned daily newspaper The Times. He remains an MP”. Another MP for Murdoch, it seems.
And Murdoch has previous when it comes to using Gove to further his objectives: when “Oiky” was at the Department for Education, Murdoch “fixer” Joel Klein was also there in the background. Klein had previously been Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. He was in attendance at Select Committee hearings, and at Leveson.
So it perhaps should not have been a surprise to read of “Gove’s lunch with Murdoch, News UK’s chief executive officer Rebekah Brooks and chief operating officer David Dinsmore and The Sun’s editor-in-chief Tony Gallagher and associate editor Trevor Kavanagh on 2 March – a week ahead of the [Queen Backs Brexit] story appearing on 9 March. The content of their discussions was not revealed”.
The textbook Murdoch inner circle - Ms Brooks, faithful retainer Kavanagh, the kicked-upstairs Dinsmore and not at all rodent-like non-bullying editor Gallagher. They didn’t meet to discuss the weather - not unless it was the political weather. Murdoch detested the indifference which EU officials displayed to his agenda. A key objective in that agenda was therefore to weaken the EU by whatever means were at his disposal.
Gove was clearly very much at his disposal. Having been gifted a sizeable advance in 2004 for a book he has not yet written by Murdoch subsidiary Harper Collins, he was indebted to the Dirty Digger. Now he has returned to a lucrative post at the Times, in what looks very much like a reward for services rendered. Whatever happens to the little people as a result of that EU referendum, Rupe will see “Oiky” right. He will not suffer.
And now we know that “Queen Backs Brexit” was not any old pack of lies, but a deliberately planned one, part of a campaign of falsehood and misinformation designed to sway voters, not for the good of the country, but the benefit of Rupert Murdoch.
Thus the corruption of press and politicians in Britain. And that’s not good enough.