Misogyny, Made-Up Facts and More: Working in a News Corp Newsroom
The AP has an explosive little story based on interviews with disgruntled former News Corp employees of British tabloids who are opening up to the press now that their former boss, Rebekah Brooks, has resigned and faces a criminal probe for the phone hacking scandals that have horrified and enthralled the world.
The scandal itself has certainly made the daily life of a News Corp employee at the News of the World and The Sun an object of curiosity. The ruthlessness and top-down authority of the newsrooms--as described by these former staffers--is remarkable, including the strange story of a reporter forced to wear a Harry Potter costume who was chastised for forgoing said mandatory outfit--even on September 11th.
Misogyny and fact-fudging were also part of the routine, these former employees claim.
Attitudes toward women — never thought of as particularly enlightened at The Sun, a paper still famous for its topless page 3 models — did not improve under Brooks, Taggart said.
"We were regularly encouraged to refer to women with misogynistic names like 'tarts,' 'slappers' or 'hookers' in our copy if there was conceivably any question mark over their sexual proclivities," he said.
"We were expected to childishly objectify women. So blonde-haired women were described as 'beauties' and generously chested women 'looked swell', whether they'd wanted the attention or not."
Faking facts was also part of tabloid life under Brooks, reporters said.
A third News of The World reporter, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he too is still working in the media industry, said some editors at the News of the World deliberately inserted bogus details to sensationalize copy.