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The Men Who Killed the News

The inside story of how media moguls abused their power, manipulated the truth and distorted democracy

About The Book

Crikey owner and ex-News Corp and Fairfax editor lifts the lid on the abuse of power by media moguls – from William Randolph Hearst to Elon Musk and on his own unique experience of working for (and being sued by) the Murdochs.

What’s gone wrong with our media? Eric Beecher’s answer is: its owners, many of the biggest of them at least. They have exploited their privileged position in society to distort journalism and accumulate vast wealth and power.

Few people know the media like Eric Beecher. He has worked at Fairfax and News Corp, founded and sold Text Media, and is currently the biggest shareholder in the news website Crikey. He’s been journalist, editor and media proprietor, and has the rare distinction of having both worked for and recently been sued by (unsuccessfully) the Murdochs.

This is a book only he could write: a portrait of the rise of media moguls over the past two centuries, and an analysis of how they have destroyed news journalism and undermined truth by using the shield of the ‘freedom of the press’ to cover their quest for personal power. In a year that will see Fox News and Donald Trump fight an election, no book could be more timely and important in our understanding of how the media has become an agent of misinformation.

The Men Who Killed the News is deeply informed by Beecher’s own experience and delivers engaging first-hand insights. His in-depth research takes us from Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst – the first sensationalist newspaper owners in the US, who made fortunes and established dynasties – to their UK successors Lords Northcliffe and Beaverbrook; contemporary media dictators like Conrad Black, Robert Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch; and on to Musk and Zuckerberg, the latest, tech-inflected manifestation of the mogul.

In 2024, more people will vote in elections than ever before: never has the role of the media been more virulent and of more urgent interest. Eric Beecher is the perfect guide to understanding how media power works: the players, the techniques, the strategies, the behind-the-scenes machinations.

About The Author

Supplied by the author

Eric Beecher has had a long career in journalism, media and publishing. He started his career as a reporter on the Melbourne Age, spent periods at The Sunday Times and The Observer in London, and at The Washington Post; he was appointed as the youngest-ever editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and later as editor-in-chief of the Melbourne Herald. He then became an independent media owner, launching several media and publishing start-up companies, initially in print and then in digital news publishing. He is currently chair and the largest shareholder in Private Media, owner of several Australian news websites, including Crikey.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner Australia (July 31, 2024)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761428043

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