‘It’s The Sun wot won it’: Rupert Murdoch denies that newspapers have power to win elections

Speaking to the Leveson Inquiry, media mogul Rupert Murdoch has denied that newspapers have had the power to win elections for politicians, despite his newspaper The Sun’s famous headline in 1992 following the re-election of the Conservative Party claiming; It’s the Sun Wot Won It’.

Murdoch revealed that he had issued ‘a bollocking’ to then editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie, and said; ‘I thought it was a little over enthusiastic’.

He added: “I thought it was tasteless and it was wrong in fact. We don’t have that sort of power. If you go to an election and you see a newspaper has taken a very strong line, and ask their readers ‘where did they vote?’ there would be no unanimity. Some papers have strong Conservative roots and some have strong Labour roots. But you can’t say that of The Sun. We’re perhaps the only independent newspaper in the business.”

He then continued to deny that he believed that his newspapers had the power to sway the nation as to which political party to vote, despite having backed the winners of each UK election in recent decades. He also denied choosing to back ‘the winning side’ when announcing who News International would back in an election – and cited The New York Times and Wall Street Journal’s opposition of President Barak O’bama’s campaign.

The Sun did however back David Cameron's election campaign, as well as the election of New Labour under Tony Blair, while The Scottish Sun altered its allegance to support the SNP's election campaign, despite having previously opposed the party's standing.

“I try to judge the candidates on the issues,” he added. “I never let my commercial interests, whatever they are, enter into elections.”

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Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak is editor of The Drum, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day running of the content produced for the various platforms run by the publication. Over the years he has interviewed agency network bosses such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Maurice Lévy and Arthur Sadoun, as well as Cindy Gallop, Kim Kardashian, film directors James Cameron, Spike Jonze, Richard Curtis and Lord David Puttnam. With a keen interest in media and breaking news, Lepitak has been with The Drum since 2005 and is based across its UK, US and Asia operations.

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