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As overlord of HarperCollins, Rupert Murdoch’s most infamous editorial directive was his decision to kill a book by Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last British governor. Despite a contract, Patten’s book was axed to curry favor with the Chinese government. Judging from reviews of the politically advantageous titles Murdoch has seen fit to print, currying favor with readers is not as high a priority.

Deng Xiaoping: My Father by Deng Maomao (1995). Advance: a reported $1 million. “[An] unrestrainedly adulatory piece of hagiography…. [She] bores her readers…. Were the publishers in such a rush to produce a scoop that they did not even bother to edit the 500-page manuscript? There is no end of mistakes of grammar and usage.” –Rene Goldman, Toronto Star
To Renew America by Newt Gingrich (1995). Advance: $4.5 million (until the House Ethics Committee intervened). “A padded version of his stock speeches…. Fans will be insulted to discover that their man’s manifesto is as substantial as a Big Mac. Archenemies will be confounded when they try to attack a book that evaporates upon contact.” –John Allison, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Coming to Terms by Anna Murdoch, Rupert’s now-separated wife (1991). “With all its faults there is a moral to this story, and it is uplifting: All the money and influence in the world can’t help you write a good book.” –Martha Harron, Toronto Star

“It is encouraging to read such a positive novel.” –Sophia Sackville-West, British Sunday Times [Owned by News Corp.]

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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