Sun editor Rebekah Wade disclosed today that Rupert Murdoch was dismayed by her paper’s coverage of Big Brother.
She admitted in evidence to the House of Lords that she and her proprietor had had disagreements during her stint as editor.
‘Mr Murdoch is often dismayed by the amount of celebrity coverage I put in my newspaper particularly on Big Brother,’she told the cross-party House of Lords Communications Committee.
‘He cannot understand why I devote so many pages to Big Brother, we disagreed about that.”
And she admitted that the Sun’s coverage of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! had caused ‘problems too”.
‘He is often dismayed about the amount of celebrity coverage not just in The Sun but in general.”
But Wade, defending herself, told peers: ‘I love my celebrity coverage and I think my readers do.’She said: ‘I’m a BB fan.
‘Like any editor you get praise and you get criticism from your prop.”
Wade robustly defended Murdoch as well as Sun journalists when it was suggested to her by committee chairman Lord Fowler that Murdoch ‘sets your political stance”.
The committee met Murdoch in New York last year and was told by him that he was ‘a traditional proprietor’and exercised ‘editorial control over major issues”.
Wade acknowledged that Murdoch was a ‘hands-on proprietor’but said ‘the idea I talk to him about everything is inconceivable”.
She said: ‘I can’t remember an occasion when I discussed with Mr Murdoch tomorrow’s newspaper. Obviously I have regular contact with my proprietor.”
She said that Murdoch was a life-long newspaper man, and said: ‘His advice is always exemplary and good.”
Wade said that she also took advice from Trevor Kavanagh and poltical editor George Pascoe-Watson. She said the Sun stance as to which party to back at the last election was a ‘consensus issue”.
She said: ‘I tended to back tony Blair. I voted for him.”
When Lord Fowler suggested that if Murdoch said she should back Labour or the Conservatives she would comply, she told him ‘if Murdoch told me to back the Liberal Democrats I would resign,’adding ‘I can’t imagine he would”.
She told peers that the sort of things they were suggesting ‘just doesn’t happen. Murdoch appointed me to edit his newspaper. He is an incredibly good journalist and one of the most supportive props you could ask for.”
She said The Sun now had more journalists than ever before and Murdoch had invested £650m in newspapers this year.