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May 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Harry Evans

The former editor of the London Times and the Sunday Times has disputed Rupert Murdoch’s claim that he has never tried to influence the editorial direction of his newspapers. Appearing before the Leveson inquiry into journalistic ethics in the U.K., Harry Evans said that Murdoch had forced the British press into a “Faustian bargain” by becoming “too intimate with politicians.” Evans had edited the Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981, when Murdoch acquired the newspaper from the Thompson family. He then agreed to edit the daily Times as well, but was forced out after a year, complaining about Murdoch’s effort to influence editorial policy. At one point in his testimony, he recalled receiving messages about the December 1981 coup in Poland from a reporter smuggling the news out in people’s shoes, contributing to a two-page “marvelous narrative” that appeared in the newspaper on the day of the coup. Murdoch, however, was critical, citing a short item that appeared in his The Sun tabloid and telling Evans, “That’s all you need on Poland.” Evans said he eventually quit because he was “absolutely disgusted, dismayed and demoralized by living in a vindictive atmosphere.” He said that the current scandal involving voicemail hacking and alleged bribery of police and public officials are merely the latest “manifestations of the same culture of too close a connection between one powerful media group and politicians.”