Sunday, June 15, 2008

The `Village Voice' Alternative Media Monopoly's Hidden History--Part 12

(Most of the following article originally appeared in the October 9, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian Weekly. See below for parts 1-11.)

Initially, Rupert Murdoch attempted to change the Voice’s editor immediately during the period when he owned the Village Voice alternative media monopoly. As Barefaced Cheek by Michael Leapman noted, “on the Voice the first thing Murdoch did was to try to replace the editor, Marianne Partridge.” The Australian global media baron apparently ordered the Voice editor to report to his New York Post office on January 11, 1977, where he informed her that she was now fired. But when the Voice staff protested against him giving the axe to then-Voice editor Partridge so soon after his purchase of the Voice, Murdoch decided to back off for another year. But during Partridge’s stint as Voice editor under Murdoch’s ownership, Murdoch sometimes telephoned the Voice office “to complain vociferously about stories, nearly always stories about himself or his papers,” according to Barefaced Cheek.

The same book also revealed that Murdoch “was angry when [then-Voice media critic Alexander] Cockburn wrote an article scoffing at Paul Rigby, the Australian cartoonist and an old friend, then working at the Post.” Murdoch also “phoned and said he did not see why he should be vilified in his own newspaper” when “he heard that [the then-left-liberal] Nat Hentoff…was preparing a critical article about the Post,” and “the Hentoff article did not in fact appear,” according to Barefaced Cheek.

On May 10, 1978, however, Murdoch again decided he needed to replace the Voice editor, so he apparently ordered his Voice publisher at that time, Bill Ryan, to fire Marianne Partridge. But again Voice staff complaints caused Murdoch to back off, and Partridge “got to stay—till January 1979, when Murdoch designee, David Schneiderman, would take over,” according to The Great American Newspaper: The Rise and Fall of The `Village Voice'.

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 10/9/96)

Next: The Village Voice Alternative Media Monopoly’s Hidden History—Part 13