Tony Blair and the Murdochs: a family affair

Michael Wolff writes: I can connect a few more Blair-Murdoch dots, beyond what Blair offered this week to the Leveson inquiry.

By the time Tony Blair flew out to Hyman Island in 1995 to address a News Corp conference, Murdoch was sick of the Tories. He believed that he had lost his preferential position with John Major’s government – so assiduously courted with Margaret Thatcher – that he was condescended to, and wasn’t taken seriously.

Blair was right in his testimony: Murdoch isn’t out to cut deals with his political allies. He’s not lobbying. Yes, he’ll expect to be able to call on you if need be (for a deal as big as BSkyB, for instance), but mostly, he’s looking for a much more pervasive sense of comfort and confidence. What he wants is: 1) access – a near-constant availability to him, his executives, and his editors; 2) receptivity – you’ve got to take the Murdoch worldview into account; treat it seriously; cross it cautiously; and understand the power behind it.

The Blair gambit – perhaps, the key gambit of his career – was to try to offer this to Murdoch. [Continue reading…]

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