The editor of a Murdoch-owned magazine kills a review of Rupert's Adventures in China.

Media criticism.
Feb. 28 2008 12:55 PM

Murdoch Minion Spikes Review of Murdoch Book

"Anticipatory compliance" at the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Rupert's Adventures in China by Bruce Dover.

Citing correspondence published in the Australian Web magazine Crikey.com.au, the International Herald Tribune reports that Far Eastern Economic Review Editor Hugo Restall killed a review this week of a new book about Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch acquired the magazine last year as part of his purchase of Dow Jones Inc.

The book, Rupert's Adventures in China: How Murdoch Lost a Fortune and Found a Wife, was written by Bruce Dover, a former Murdoch journalist turned businessman who for several years worked as the genocidal tyrant's right-hand man in Beijing.

Advertisement

The review was written by Eric Ellis, a correspondent for Fortune magazine whose profile of Murdoch and his third wife, Wendi Deng, was unceremoniously spiked by the Fairfax Media newspapers in Australia last year. After the profile was killed, Murdoch sold his shares in Fairfax. (See this Press Box column on that spiking.)

The IHT reports that "Murdoch offered guarantees of editorial independence to win the long-sought prize of owning Dow Jones," but such guarantees mean nothing in Murdochland. As Restall delivered the spike to Ellis' review, he may well have had this passage from Dover's book about "anticipatory compliance" echoing in his head:

The thing about Murdoch is that he very rarely issued directives or instructions to his senior editors. Instead, by way of discussion he would make known his personal viewpoint on a certain matter. What was expected in return, at least from those seeking tenure of any length in the Murdoch Empire, was a sort of "anticipatory compliance." One didn't need to be instructed about what to do, one simply knew what was in one's long-term interests.

Rupert's Adventures in China captures Murdoch stooping low, still lower, and below low to make whatever deals he could with the Chinese government in the late '90s, as my Slate review explains.

In an e-mail earlier this week, I asked Far Eastern Economic Review Editor Restall why he killed the review. His response: "Thanks for your interest. I'm afraid I don't have any comment."

******

Don't get me wrong. Murdoch has every right to publish anything his heart desires and to suppress all stories that annoy him. He just can't pretend that his publications enjoy "editorial independence" at the same time. Suppress me with e-mail at slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum, in a future article, or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Track my errors: Here's a hand-built RSS feed that will ring every time Slate runs a "Press Box" correction. For e-mail notification of errors in this specific column, type the word anticipatory in the subject head of an e-mail message and send it to slate.pressbox@gmail.com.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

U.S. Begins Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How in the World Did Turkey Just Get 46 Hostages Back From ISIS?

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.