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19 January 2023

Will the Sunday Times turn on “wokery”?

After the liberal Emma Tucker, the newspaper’s appointment of Ben Taylor as editor could mean a rightwards shift.

By The Chatterer

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp today (19 January) confirmed Fleet Street’s worst-kept secret: Ben Taylor is the new editor of the Sunday Times. He has been effectively acting editor since it was announced in December that Emma Tucker, the incumbent, was off to New York to head up the Wall Street Journal.

Notably, Taylor – like Tony Gallagher, the newish editor of the Times – is a former bigwig of the Daily Mail (he was executive editor of the newspaper before joining the Sunday Times in 2020 as Tucker’s deputy). Might this mean a creep to the right for the broadsheet?

Tucker certainly proved herself to be a reasonably liberal force at the top of the newspaper. While Tucker, who started her career at the Financial Times, was noted to have occasionally dressed down in the office on Saturdays, Taylor is never seen without a suit and tie (as is the Daily Mail way).

One insider told the Chatterer that Tucker disliked the word “woke” being used in her newspaper. What will Taylor’s policy be? Only time will tell. But a statement of endorsement from News Corp’s chief executive Robert Thomson (a former editor of the Times) provides a clue.

“Ben Taylor is a principled journalist who will certainly hold contemporary elites to account,” Thomson said in his corporate statement. “Individual freedoms are being challenged by intransigent institutions and there is an epidemic of wokery and quackery, so reporters and editors with the objective of being objective will necessarily play an increasingly important role in Britain and beyond.” The Chatterer will be keeping an eye on this weekend’s issue to see how Taylor’s Sunday Times reports on this “epidemic of wokery and quackery”.

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[See also: Why you can’t cancel Jeremy Clarkson]

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