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, 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.


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 (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



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Oct. 2 2014 12:10 PM Women of America, Here Are the Cities Where You Can Find Marriageable Men
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 12:04 PM The Audio Book Club Debates Gone Girl, the Novel
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:41 AM Dropbox Recruiting Video Features Puppets and Data Privacy
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?