Media reform campaigner Hugh Grant has blasted findings that Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks held seven meetings in seven weeks with senior government ministers last year.
An investigation by Byline Times has shown that the News Corporation big wigs held private meetings with Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel among others between August and September 2020.
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg also noted that he had an “informal lunch between friends” when he met the pair on 25th September, while Michael Gove was present at a dinner bash on August 8th.
Meetings between Murdoch, Brooks and senior ministers
8 August – Michael Gove
26 August – Rishi Sunak
14 September – Priti Patel
17 September – Rishi Sunak
18 September – Boris Johnson
21 September – Boris Johnson
25 September – Jacob Rees-Mogg
Grant was quick to criticise the reports, posting that “nothing changes” on Twitter.
Nothing changes. https://t.co/gPdFVcECYT— Hugh Grant ? (@HackedOffHugh) February 8, 2021
Murdoch-owned Fox News was a vocal mouthpiece for Donald Trump during his time in the White House, while his UK press outlets all campaigned for Britain’s exit from the European Union.
With the exception of Theresa May’s Conservatives in 2017, who was dealt a devastating blow at the hands of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, the media mogul has backed every elected leader since Margaret Thatcher.
In December Murdoch’s prized The Sun paper ran a headline described as propaganda “that would make tinpot dictatorships blush”, with the paper’s political editor, Harry Cole, accused of working as a “PR agent for the prime minister”.
In 2019 people living in dictatorships were reported to have said that even their state-sponsored newspapers would be “subtler” than one pro-Boris front page.
TLE recently put Murdoch at the top of a list of the most dangerous people in the world. Read the piece in full here.
Related: Brexit: Gove slammed as EU exports plummet – Most unsurprised reactions