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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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In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

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