Ah, the 1980s: when fashionable men dared to wear eye shadow.
This video seems newly timely given the massive wiretapping scandal blowing up News Corporation. Now that Rupert Murdoch and his empire look pretty weak, the long knives are out for him. Roger Simon reports that nearly 30 years ago–perhaps to the soundtrack of an Adam Ant video–Murdoch said something racist at a dinner with Chicago Sun-Times reporters after he bought their newspaper:
Murdoch came to see what would soon be “his” paper — it may have been his first trip to Chicago — and about two dozen employees were summoned to a dinner with him. He was relaxed and easy-going and promised — as he always did when he bought a paper — to retain its quality and integrity.
It was a lie, and we knew it was a lie. But we tried to convince ourselves of its truth for as long as possible. For me, that wasn’t long.
I had a conversation with him about various sections of the paper. “I don’t understand anything about American sport,” he told me breezily, “but I know the coloreds like it.”
I told him that in America we no longer used the word “coloreds,” that it was considered insulting.
He looked at me the way Queen Victoria might have looked at a footman who had told her she was using the wrong fork to eat her pheasant.
This, my friends, is exactly the problem with the neutered press corps we have, whether or not they’re owned by News Corps or not. This should have been reported at the time for all of Chicago to see–instead, a whole tablefull of obedient lapdogs, as well as other American reporters to whom Simon told this story back in the day (read the whole story)–kept it all to themselves. But now that Murdoch is in his 80s and his company is crippled by scandal he lets the secret out! Now Simon says that Murdoch is an evil racist and his newspapers are sexist and horrible.