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The ownership of a media business provides the opportunity to dictate the style of journalism and influence company policy (Harcup, 2004: 13). Lord Beaverbrook told the Royal Commission on the Press in 1949 that he ran the Daily Express ‘merely for the purpose of making propaganda’, while Robert Maxwell intimated that the Daily Mirror was his personal megaphone (Curran and Seaton, 1997: 48, 76). Paul Foot, the ex-Mirrorjournalist, says such influence on journalism is ‘absolutely insufferable’ (Harcup, 2004: 14).

The exploits of Northcliffe, Rothermere and Beaverbrook were perfect examples of interventionist proprietors. For instance, Northcliffe's newspapers tried to dictate government policy relating to a defeated Germany in 1918 (Franklin, 1997: 99–100). Stanley Baldwin, British prime minister three times in the 1920s and 1930s, offered this view ...

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