Myler was ready to engage. “I’m looking forward to working again, to be honest,” he said.
In the Daily News’ newsroom, with its famous four-sided clock, Myler goes coatless and still likes his afternoon cup of tea. He’s been a journalist since he quit school in his teens, and he’s probably as at home in a newsroom as anywhere. He’s already injected more punch into the paper. And he’s let the staff know that he is indeed highly motivated. He’s among the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Still, what was billed as a delicious mano a mano conflict between Myler and his former boss at the Post started off more like a tepid cup of afternoon tea. The Observer reported that the Daily News learned that on surveillance recordings, Allan had been called “a very, very good friend” of the alleged Upper East Side madam recently dominating the tabloid headlines, yet Myler declined to run a story. (Allan denies having any relationship with the alleged madam.) Surprisingly, Allan was a gentleman, too. One of Myler’s former News of the World editors said that Myler had approved the surveillance of attorneys representing alleged hacking victims, but the Post wrote nothing.
Still, Myler battled in his own way. No longer did he have to suppress his liberal leanings. Politically, the Daily News had been tracking Zuckerman’s Democrat-in-Name-Only evolution, but Myler has seemed to nudge it toward his own Labour Party leanings. WHAT DOES A WOMAN HAVE TO DO TO PROVE SHE WAS RAPED?, a front-page headline asked after a jury failed to convict a cop on rape charges. And in the Trayvon Martin case, he steered his paper’s coverage crisply leftward. He threw a jab at Murdoch’s Fox: “Fox affiliate in Florida portrayed a group of neo-Nazis as a ‘civil-rights group’ that wanted to protect white citizens in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting,” said a headline. The paper also reached out to immigrants, whom it portrays as future Americans, sharing the dreams of every New Yorker. Myler no longer sounds like a Murdoch man. “One of the things, as an editor, you take great pride in is making a difference,” he said recently—meaning: in the lives of the less fortunate.
But scoops are what really matter. And Myler wanted every scoop. He arrived in New York in January, in the midst of a very hot story. A pregnant Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z reportedly took over an entire wing of Lenox Hill Hospital. It was perfect tabloid fodder: a beautiful, powerful couple helping themselves to more than their share. Trying to duck the cameras, Beyoncé and Jay-Z tried to sneak out of the hospital in the early morning with baby Blue Ivy. Myler gathered his editors at the usual news meeting the next day. The room is impressive—one wall is a mosaic of tiny slides of old Daily News photos, from Joe DiMaggio to Angelina Jolie—like a newsroom version of stained glass. But the atmosphere that day was anything but churchlike. He was told that the News photographer had been out of range. He grimaced and moved on. “What did the reporter get?” Myler wanted to know. No reporter had been there. “We don’t have overnight anymore,” he was told.
Which is when Myler went crazy. He didn’t raise his voice, but his tone and his intensity were “withering.” To Myler, these were excuses—the Post had put a reporter on the scene. “There’s only one big story every day, and you have to be on it,” he told them. He let them know that their job was to never, ever get beat by the Post.
Because beating Rupert Murdoch’s Post would not just mean beating Rupert Murdoch—he’d also be burying his own complicated past.