Sir Harold Evans, onetime editor of the Times of London, has been given a chance to vent about his former boss, Rupert Murdoch, at the Leveson Inquiry and he is pulling no punches, all but blaming the Australian magnate for the death of U.K. journalism.
In his testimony to the inquiry, which The Guardian is live-blogging, Sir Harold called Murdoch's 1981 takeover of The Times a "seminal moment" in the decline of British press ethics. "He says the incident reflects the 'inertia' and 'collusion' that has continued to affect British politics and the media," The Guardian's John Plunkett and Dugald Baird note. Evans said staff at The Times were warned Murdoch was "not to be trusted," and that the magnate tried to steer coverage to favor political allies such as Margaret Thatcher, the then-prime minister with whom Murdoch had lunched with before buying The Times. "He adds Murdoch rebuked him for insisting on reporting the gloomy economic news and 'not doing what he wants, in political terms'."
Part of the evidence Leveson has collected includes an internal note in which Evans called Murdoch "evil incarnate" and wrote "He had his heart removed long ago along with moral faculties and human sensibilities." Evans is clearly loving the chance to publicly vent about the man who fired him.
As long as we're talking about transparency in the press, it seems worth pointing out that it was the Daily Beast's Cheat Sheet that first pointed us toward The Guardian's coverage, and that Evans is married to Daily Beast editor Tina Brown.