Those observing yesterday’s serialisation by the Mail on Sunday of a new and unauthorised biography of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn may not have made the connection, but author Tom Bower has, shall we say, significant previous when it comes to knowing which side his bread is buttered on. That previous form means that he is far from a disinterested actor when it comes to discussing Jezza.
Tom Bower ...
Bower has made his name with a string of unauthorised hatchet jobs, and seasoned media watchers will need no prompting to deduce that, while media folk have been a favourite target, the most obvious one of those has escaped his attention.
He was in the spotlight in 2009 after Richard “Dirty” Desmond sued him for libel and lost, but it was not a book about Dirty Des that sparked the lawsuit. Rather, it was a biography of disgraced former Telegraph owner Conrad Black and his wife Barbara Amiel. Black sued over the book, but then got guilty of fraud and was jailed .Bower later put together a biography of Desmond, but this remains unpublished.
Before all of that came a biography of Robert Maxwell, entitled Maxwell - The Outsider. As Wikipedia puts it, “[the book] sold out in hardback but Maxwell prevented the paperback edition appearing, in part by buying the publishing company which held the paperback rights. Maxwell also filed a libel action against Bower and the hardback publishers, Aurum Press. Maxwell allowed this action to lapse in 1990 but only after Bower and Aurum had submitted a detailed defence of the book”. So far, so typical for Captain Bob.
Bower also penned a less than flattering biography of Tony Blair - well after Blair had departed the political stage, and after it became known that Tone was suspected of being rather too close to Wendi Deng, now former wife of … Rupert Murdoch.
... and the one media mogul he won't hatchet
There is no Bower biography of Rupe. Why might that be? Ah well. Bower sat down for an interview with Sophie McBain for the Staggers in 2014, where he dropped this nugget into the conversation: “The only reason we have any journalism at all in Britain is … Rupert Murdoch; he’s the only person who invests in journalism in Britain”. Then, as Ms McBain goes on to tell, “His next project is a biography of Tony Blair”.
Bower also told Ms McBain, in defence of his claim about Murdoch, “The Mail originally agreed to serialise Bower’s [Richard] Branson book but pulled out despite paying for it, so the Times bought it instead, he adds by way of evidence”.
Also, the Corbyn book is published by HarperCollins. It’s a subsidiary of NewsCorp. And remember, although Rupe should be an ideal subject for Bower, who has said “I am fascinated by power, and the people who exercise power … What do they have, these people?”, he has never even suggested doing a biography of The Dirty Digger.
Tom Bower is the finest purveyor of book-sized hatchet jobs in English media in recent times. The evidence suggests that Rupert Murdoch may have bought him.
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