The story was widely panned including by News Corp’s Melbourne columnist Andrew Bolt.
Party Animals, to be released this week, notes Mr Rudd “actively courted” News Corp and had taken a now-infamous trip to a New York strip club with former Telegraph editor Col Allan before the 2007 election.
Mr Allan is close to News Corp’s executive chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Ms Maiden, the former political editor of the Sunday Telegraph, writes that Mr Rudd had detailed to Mr Shorten his personal social media analytics detailing how many people had scrolled past his posts on Twitter.
“Each tweet getting up to 100,000 impressions. And I’m told, it’s actually starting to drive their editors nuts. I will start naming their editors next week. Not working for them quite like it used to. KR,” Mr Rudd wrote to Mr Shorten, according to text messages reproduced in Party Animals.
“Gidday. Wanted to discuss your thinking on the Royal Commission on Media Ownership … Including abuse of monopoly power in killing the National Broadband Network at a massive financial cost,” Mr Rudd had written over summer, according to the account. Mr Rudd believes News Corp publications, directed by Mr Murdoch, campaigned against the NBN in order to save the company’s lucrative Foxtel investment.
Mr Rudd, in a statement, told the Herald the case for a royal commission was now “inescapable”.
“Murdoch’s domination of the media is a cancer on our democracy. His power is insidious. He sets the agenda and his extreme views become the starting point for each day’s coverage,” he said.
“Murdoch doesn’t own these newspapers to make money; he owns them to exercise political power across the key marginal seats. For instance, in my home state of Queensland, Murdoch now owns the only daily newspapers for not just Brisbane but every provincial centre up and down the coast — the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Toowoomba.
“Why Bill would release these private text messages is a matter for him, particularly when he never supported a royal commission … I will continue to campaign for this royal commission.”
A News Corp spokesman said Mr Rudd’s claims about the NBN were false. “They are a conspiracy dreamt up by him without basis,” he said.
Mr Shorten’s office declined to comment.