In 1941, the paper emperors of the Australian newspaper industry helped bring down Robert Menzies. Over the next 30 years, they grew into media monsters.
This book reveals the transformation from the golden age of newspapers during World War II, through Menzies’ return and the rise of television, to Gough Whitlam’s ‘It’s Time’ victory in 1972.
During this crucial period, twelve independent newspaper companies turned into a handful of multimedia giants. They controlled newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. Their size and reach was unique in the western world.
Playing politics was vital to this transformation. The newspaper industry was animated by friendships and rivalries, favours and deals, and backed by money and influence, including from mining companies, banks and the Catholic Church.
Even internationally, Australia’s newspaper owners and executives were considered a shrewd and ruthless bunch. The hard men of the industry included Rupert Murdoch, Frank Packer, Warwick Fairfax’s top executive Rupert Henderson, and Jack Williams, the unsung empire builder of the Herald and Weekly Times.
In Media Monsters, Sally Young, the award-winning author of Paper Emperors, uncovers the key players, their political connections and campaigns, and their corporate failures and triumphs. She explores how the companies they ran still influence Australia today.
‘Essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in how power has been exercised in this country.’ — Frank Bongiorno
‘A masterful account of the rise and rise of Australia’s newspaper dynasties.’ — Bridget Griffen-Foley
‘Original and deep, Media Monsters provides a rich source of fresh information and analysis to the history of the Australian press.’ — Rodney Tiffen
‘An absorbing, if salutary, history lesson.’ — Julia Taylor, Books + Publishing
'This is a work that deserves to stand among the giants of academic research and authorship on Australian media and political history.' — Denis Muller, The Conversation
'Meticulously researched...An extraordinary tome, revealing the power of the press.' — PS News
'A clear picture emerges in the book of newspaper media proprietors who acted as a law unto themselves (Frank Packer), surveyed their territory with seigneurial indifference (Sir Warwick Fairfax) or energetically and inventively grew their holdings into a burgeoning empire (Rupert Murdoch).' — Matthew Richetson, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age