Rebekah Brooks nee Wade

So Rupert Murdoch and all he owns are evil and all the lefty reporters in The Guardian are right and all the right-wing readers of The Sun are wrong. Meh. The man’s eighty and he’s survived thus far…some fantasist somewhere could make the point that being made a diabolical figure in the West might well help his expansion into China.

Seriously, there’s not much I could say about this that wouldn’t confirm my political position and resay what several thousand others have said with much more evidence and conviction or what several million others are saying with various levels of sincerity (depending on which way they think the political wind is blowing) and various levels of comprehension – someone told Giggles in all seriousness that The News of the World had put cameras on ladybirds to spy on people (we despaired over Twitter).

However, the feminist in me has twitched – she does every so often.

Now Mrs Rebekah Brooks is probably not a very nice person. In fact I think it’s fairly safe to say she’s probably pretty nasty when it comes to the ethics of how to gain information for the newspapers she’s edited. However, I don’t think that there’s many things the reporters at the BBC and various other places have on her which they can say (or at least they can say pending the result of whatever criminal investigation is taking place). What I am listening to though is how they describe her (yes Radio Four and World Service addict right here) and noting and interesting thing. The ammount of time they spend on her name change.

Let me make this clear, the woman is married and second time around she opted to take her husband’s name. I may have made different choices (as indeed did she first time around) but it was rather her choice to take her husband’s name. Given the apparent political leanings of News International (and I’m quite surprised they’ve still got The News of the World logo on the website) and News Corp is it really that surprising that she chose to take her husband’s name? I don’t think so. So why does every introduction of her seem to draw attention to this fact?

Now, initially I can see it being useful to make clear that Rebekah Brooks was the same Rebekah Wade who edited The News of the World and The Sun. But to constantly draw attention to it, and in some cases to explain that she changed her name but not how she did so (by getting married), is a little peculiar. It really does suggest a hint of criminality – what? She changed her name after leaving The Sun, now that does smell dodgy!
Perhaps some of my readers might be thinking that since she only changed her name on her second marriage which she didn’t on her first it still smells dodgy. I would suggest that as an editor of newspapers, a print medium, she may well have wanted to keep the same name so that people continued to recognise it, just like professional women all over the world. By the time of her second marriage she was chief executive of News International, maybe she felt like she’d made it enough to take Charlie Brooks‘ surname? Or maybe Ross Kemp was more of a new man than an old etonian who get’s described in most news articles as an ‘international playboy’? Who knows but it was a decision that she got to make. For personal reasons. Just like women do everyday. And yet, this fact is apparently one which reporters feel that they can twist to make her sound dodgy.


I mean, come on, she was editor of a newspaper that hacked Millie Dowler’s phone! Harping on about the name change like it was a criminal thing…there’s about as much need for that as oh obtaining information via criminal means for the national newspaper you’re editing…maybe I overstep the mark there. But I’m annoyed, this feels like sexism, not overt I admit, but subtle and insidious – would they do it if the Murdochs had changed their names upon marriage? Probably but then they don’t get that opportunity because it’s not traditional for men in our culture to change their names on marriage. It is for women and there is no need to draw attention to Rebekah Wade’s name change without mentioning that it was for that most ordinary of reasons.

Sure she’s probably a criminal but then so are Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch so go after them by pointing out their actual faults not jumping on the innocent things which you get to do simply because she’s a woman.

2 thoughts on “Rebekah Brooks nee Wade

  1. I actually find this sadly unsurprising, changes to name, identity or emigration somewhere always seem to get brought up in news articles about people, and often in a way that’s designed to dwell on that point and make the subject appear deceptive.

    I assume that journalists are told early and often to set the scene, but there seems to be a script to follow in cases like that that seems underhanded and manipulative of the tone of the article to me.

    I find this one interesting because as you said she only did it for her second marriage, but as you’ve pointed out so well the reasons behind this name just normal and mundane, so dressing it up like something shocking is just lazy tweaking of the audience.

  2. I’m really not surprised by such things but I was slightly appalled by how sexist it seemed in comparison to the treatment of James and Rupert Murdoch.

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