Paper Emperors

Sally Young

Paper Emperors
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Paper Emperors

Sally Young

This magisterial book reveals who owned Australia’s newspapers and how they used them to wield political power. A corporate and political history of Australian newspapers spanning 140 years, it explains how Australia’s media system came to be dominated by a handful of empires and powerful family dynasties. Many are household names, even now: Murdoch, Fairfax, Syme, Packer.

Written with verve and insight and showing unparalleled command of a vast range of sources, Sally Young shows how newspaper owners influenced policy-making, lobbied and bullied politicians, and shaped internal party politics.

The book begins in 1803 with Australia’s first newspaper owner - a convict who became a wealthy bank owner - giving the industry a blend of notoriety, power and wealth from the start. Throughout the twentieth century, Australians were unaware that they were reading newspapers owned by secret bankrupts and failed land boomers, powerful mining magnates, Underbelly-style gangsters, bankers, and corporate titans. It ends with the downfall of Menzies in 1941 and his conviction that a handful of press barons brought him down

 The intervening years are packed with political drama, business machinations and a struggle for readers, all while the newspaper barons are peddling power and influence.    

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