Murdoch’s The Daily Heavily Edits Palin Article Critical of ‘Lefties’ (update)

Item saying Palin has been demonized by “lefties” gets softened, then changed back — repeatedly

Rupert Murdoch's The Daily is apparently still finding its voice — and deciding how critical of "lefties" it should be.

At least four times Wednesday, the iPad-only publication switched between two versions of a gossip item about documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield interviewing Sarah Palin's critics. One version was critical of "lefties" and accused Palin's critics of "demonization," while the other version was softer and subbed "lefties" with the word "Democrats."

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Because The Daily is a Murdoch enterprise, critics are sure to look for instances of his conservative sentiment creeping in — as they do with all of his news properties. The editorial changes to the Palin piece on Day 1 of The Daily gave them plenty to chew over.

At 12:30 p.m. ET, TheWrap saw a version that said Broomfield was interviewing Palin's "enemies." It began with the lead, "The demonization of Sarah Palin continues."

The item ended with this bit of anonymous opinion:

"It's amazing, really, the way lefties have elevated Palin by fixating on her so," noted one observer. "They've turned her into a major figure and into their most effective critic."

But that version of the piece was replaced with a softer version TheWrap saw on The Daily at 1:20 p.m.

"The legend of Sarah Palin grows and grows," it began, with no mention of "demonization." Palin's "enemies" were referred to in the softer version as "disgruntled former Palin associates."

The item ended with the italicized section above replaced with this:

The film is not expected to be flattering. Democrats might be better served if Palin were ignored. "Her enemies have turned her into a major figure and into their most effective critic," said one non-Alaskan.

Aside from the obvious differences are subtle ones: The word "noted," lends more credence to a statement than the word "said." And an "observer" arguably sounds more credible than a mere "non-Alaskan."

The Daily had switched back to the first version by 2:15 p.m.

But by 9 p.m., it had gone back — yet again — to the softer, "demonization"-free version.

Twenty minutes later — yes — it had turned back to the "demonization" version.

Someone at The Daily, or perhaps multiple people, considered the changes important enough to make — and then change back. And change back again. And again.

The Daily did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wedmesday.

Murdoch was asked at The Daily's launch Wednesday if The Daily would aim for a centrist outlook to avoid offending a younger, tech-savvy audience — which the reporter who asked the question seemed to assume would be more centrist than that of other Murdoch news properties.

Murdoch said that The Daily's "editorial position will be in the hands of the editor," referring to Jesse Angelo.

"We are patriotic, we love America," Angelo said. "I think people will be interested in what we have to say, and perhaps surprised."