Shared Text: Lord Volderdoch?

This just in: Rupert Murdoch to buy The Daily Prophet!

This, at any rate, is what’s reported in an article in Slate (7/11/2011). Jack Shafer, the magazine’s editor-at-large, has written a rather scathing column comparing the media oligarch to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. With a headline calling Murdoch ‘the Dark Lord of Media’, Shafer reveals more than passing knowledge of Potterlore in writing his critique:

The more obvious acquisition for Murdoch would be the Quibbler, an off-the-wall tabloid given to half-baked conspiracy theories. But Murdoch has experience in reshaping prestigious or dominant newspapers, such as the Times of London and theWall Street Journal, to his design. So rejiggering the Prophet, the establishment voice in the wizard world, to a more popular format shouldn’t be too difficult for him.

He also covets the Prophet for its “Protean Charm” technology, which allows the placement of changing type on newsprint. Another Prophet technology makes video images on newsprint possible. Murdoch, a supreme risk-taker, hopes to adapt these technologies to other titles in his worldwide portfolio and revolutionize the newspaper business.


The Prophet has enjoyed a reputation as a staid newspaper under editor Barnabas Cuffe. Highly influenced by the Ministry of Magic, it was almost governmental in its approach to the news. But the Prophet was inconsistent in its Potter coverage, alternately heralding him as savior and menace, especially after being spun by the corrupted Ministry of Magic. The paper rejected evidence that the evil Lord Voldemort had returned and libeled both Potter and Albus Dumbledore.


My source tells me that Murdoch has promised Cuffe he can keep his job as the Prophet‘s editor after the sale goes through. The genocidal tyrant almost never makes good on such promises of editorial independence, so my sources say it’s likely that he will appoint [Rita] Skeeter the editor of the Prophet within the year to infuse it with a tabloid spirit.

The whole article is here, and includes part of an interview with, it seems Ms Skeeter herself. It’s irresistible to speculate just why this article follows Rowling’s depiction of the news media as closely as it does–replacing, however, the self-serving goons at the Ministry of Magic with the Dark Lord himself. Voldemort seems to appear rather frequently in shared text situations–perhaps because he’s an easily recognized stereotype, or at least mistaken for one?

(H/T to Travis Prinzi for the link.)


  1. revgeorge says

    Certainly Voldemort is an easily recognized stereotype. Or shall we say the practice of labeling someone as a Voldemort or in claiming their motives to be in line with Voldemort is an easily recognized stereotype.

    Rupert Murdoch may or may not be a reprehensible human being, but the last I knew he was not murdering people who stood in his way or trying to take over the government to enact genocidal plans. He may be too closely linked with governments but every major business man or industrialist is to some extent engaging in corporatism.

    Anyway, the comparisons to the Quibbler and to Rita Skeeter may be more apt & accurate, but the labeling of Murdoch as a type of Voldemort seems to be a shameless slur against him.

  2. Steve Morrison says

    Or shall we say the practice of labeling someone as a Voldemort or in claiming their motives to be in line with Voldemort is an easily recognized stereotype

    A new way to circumvent Godwin’s Law?

  3. revgeorge says

    Possibly. Maybe there can be a corollary to Godwin’s Law (which itself can be overused) that any discussion among literary nerds will inevitably result in one side calling the other Voldemort? 🙂

  4. For the overuse of Godwin’s Law, see this. While I admit I have no great liking for Murdoch or his minions, I do cringe to see how readily we call people we just don’t like The Dark Lord or Voldemort. It strikes me as a shallow reading of HP series, and a shallow form of argumentation anyway.

  5. Elizabeth says

    Thanks for this fun story (and it really does show some great command of the material)! I hope I can find a way to weave it into the talk I’m doing Saturday at Leaky Con on Rowling’s depiction of authors, publishers, and others in the book world!

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