The owner of Fox News personally lobbied then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair to invade Iraq sooner rather than later, according to a journalist's diary. Rupert Murdoch reportedly made the 2003 call to Blair's cell phone, "pressing on timings" and promising News International would support the war, writes Alastair Campbell in diaries serialized by the Guardian. "Both TB and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy."
"Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got," Campbell adds. If true, the phone call contradicts a Murdoch statement made during British inquiries into the News International phone hacking scandal: "I've never asked a prime minister for anything." But Murdoch's News Corp denies he ever lobbied Blair for the GOP, calling the story "complete rubbish," the BBC reports.