Rupert Murdoch Was a Secret Member of Tony Blair's Cabinet

This post, written by Amanda Terkel, originally appeared on Think Progress

New documents show that media magnate Rupert Murdoch had a direct line to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. The British government, which had blocked the release of the documents for years, "backed down in a surprise change of heart the day after Mr Blair resigned last month." The Independent reports:
Yesterday the Cabinet Office said there were six telephone discussions between Mr Blair and Mr Murdoch in 20 months, all at crucial moments of his premiership. The subject of their calls was not revealed.
In 2003, Mr Blair phoned the owner of The Times and The Sun on 11 and 13 March, and on 19 March, the day before Britain and the United States invaded Iraq. The war was strongly supported by Murdoch-owned newspapers around the world. The day after two of the calls, The Sun launched vitriolic attacks on the French President Jacques Chirac. The Government quoted him as saying he would "never" support military action against Saddam Hussein, a claim hotly disputed by France.
The diaries of Blair's communications chief Alastair Campbell, reveal that Blair was afraid that the press would find out about Murdoch's influence on him: "[Blair] said he didn't fear [the press] coming at him about me, but about the relationship with Murdoch. ... It was faintly obscene that we even had to worry what [he] thought." Campbell's deputy, Lance Price, called Murdoch "the 24th member of the [Blair] Cabinet."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.