Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Media
13 February 2012updated 26 Sep 2015 8:46pm

Should Murdoch sell the Sun?

An intriguing proposal from Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff.

By George Eaton

Trevor Kavanagh’s article in today’s Sun is notable for its hyperbolic attack on the police investigation (Kavanagh casually dismisses alleged bribery as “standard procedure”) and for its coded critique of News Corp management.

Referring to “a sensitive domestic issue within the News International ‘family'”, Kavanagh, one of Murdoch’s longest-serving lieutenants, writes that while it is important for News Corp to protect its reputation in the US, “some of the greatest legends in Fleet Street have been held, at least on the basis of evidence so far revealed, for simply doing their jobs as journalists on behalf of the company.” Kavanagh’s language (“simply doing their jobs”) reflects the widespread sense at the Sun that the red-top, one of Murdoch’s most successful papers, has been “hung out to dry” by News Corp.

The News of the World precedent means that there is natural speculation about the future of the Sun. In the absence of anything as toxic as the Milly Dowler scandal, it’s hard to see Murdoch taking the nuclear option but one of his biographers, Michael Wolff, makes a smart suggestion in the Guardian. He argues that Murdoch should sell the Sun and use the proceeds (estimated at £500-£700m) to set up a not-for-profit trust to safeguard the future of the Times and the Sunday Times. This would strengthen Murdoch’s claim to be the last of the great press barons and a supporter of “quality journalism”. But as long as Rupert’s alive, it’s likely that the Sun will remain in the News Corp family.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up