Irate James Murdoch prompts the FT’s first f****

Well you can’t put it in a headline can you? Can you?

The august Financial Times reports today that Rupert Murdoch’s son and heir James, accompanied by fragrant sidekick Rebekah Wade, flounced into the Independent newsroom on Wednesday afternoon, angrily waving a giveaway copy of the paper that said “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide the election – you will.”

“What are you fucking playing at?” he inquired angrily of startled Indy editor Simon Kelner.

James claimed that this fairly mild advertising line besmirched the reputation of his dear old dad and apparently proceeded to point this out with lots more fucks when the three adjourned to Kelner’s office.

Which is why the naughty word appeared in the FT, the first time to your correspondent’s knowledge, certainly in a news story.

As for James it’s a strange one. Maybe the odd tincture had been taken over lunch? No, surely not.

Whatever else you might say about Murdoch senior you can hardly accuse him of being thin-skinned. Or can you?

There’s a tale, which may be apocryphal but probably isn’t, that in the early days of ad trade mag Campaign it ran a cartoon by the marvellous Ralph Steadman depicting the Sun’s back bench, where all the senior hacks conspired.

‘Hold the front page!’ it read as someone poured a bucket of shit (in for a penny, in for a pound) all over it.

Senior types at News International were not amused and the papers pulled all their advertising.

And a message came down from on high at Haymarket that there were to be no more cartoons in Campaign. Which there never were.

All good circulation-building stuff no doubt.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.