Thursday, 18 August 2022

Murdoch’s lieutenant speaks out

Les Hinton
Henley Town Hall

LES Hinton was born in February 1944 amid the blitzed docklands of Bootle, Liverpool.

His early years were spent as the itinerant son of a British Army sergeant, getting a disjointed education in various parts of the fading British Empire.

When his father retired from the army, Les and the family settled in Adelaide, where his sister had married an Australian serviceman she had met when the family were living in Singapore.

By this time Les was 15 and had left school and found a job as a copy boy on the local newspaper, owned by a certain Rupert Murdoch.

Sometimes referred to as Murdoch’s “most trusted lieutenant”, Hinton rose to become chief operating officer of News International before moving to the United States to run Dow Jones & Company in 2007 before retiring in 2011.

His book The Bootle Boy — an untidy life in news is an intriguing account of Hinton’s life with more than 50 years of it spent in Murdoch’s service.

He has worked in newspapers, magazines and television as a reporter, editor and executive in Australia, the UK and US.

The book covers the upheavals that affected the company’s January 1986 move from Fleet Street to “Fortress” Wapping, right through to the phone-hacking scandal that forced the closure of the News of the World in July 2011.

Along the way we learn of the political relationships between Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and the seemingly ever-expanding Murdoch empire. A fascinating and illuminating read.

Richard Rule

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