For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


As overlord of HarperCollins, Rupert Murdoch’s most infamous editorial directive was his decision to kill a book by Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last British governor. Despite a contract, Patten’s book was axed to curry favor with the Chinese government. Judging from reviews of the politically advantageous titles Murdoch has seen fit to print, currying favor with readers is not as high a priority.

Deng Xiaoping: My Father by Deng Maomao (1995). Advance: a reported $1 million. “[An] unrestrainedly adulatory piece of hagiography…. [She] bores her readers…. Were the publishers in such a rush to produce a scoop that they did not even bother to edit the 500-page manuscript? There is no end of mistakes of grammar and usage.” –Rene Goldman, Toronto Star
To Renew America by Newt Gingrich (1995). Advance: $4.5 million (until the House Ethics Committee intervened). “A padded version of his stock speeches…. Fans will be insulted to discover that their man’s manifesto is as substantial as a Big Mac. Archenemies will be confounded when they try to attack a book that evaporates upon contact.” –John Allison, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Coming to Terms by Anna Murdoch, Rupert’s now-separated wife (1991). “With all its faults there is a moral to this story, and it is uplifting: All the money and influence in the world can’t help you write a good book.” –Martha Harron, Toronto Star

“It is encouraging to read such a positive novel.” –Sophia Sackville-West, British Sunday Times [Owned by News Corp.]

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate