'Last stand' for Australian Allan as News changes tone in US

Just as Col Allan - architect of News Corp's snappy tabloid headlines in New York and Australia - is retiring, the US paper has moved to an unfamiliar Trump-critical stance.

After a spell at the New York Post as adviser and an earlier one pepping up the Murdoch tabloids in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, Allan is planning to retire next year.

He will split his time between both countries.

The change of tone - reflected also at Murdoch's Fox News - was noted by the New York Times, which said the rival tabloid had "turned critical as the president seems headed to defeat".

From 'invincible hero, who not only survived every dirty trick the Democrats threw at him, but the Chinese virus as well', it progressed to "two articles with a wildly different tone," NYT media reporter Katie Robertson wrote. "One accused the president of making an 'unfounded claim that political foes were trying to steal the election', while the headline on the other briefly described Donald Trump Jr. as the 'panic-stricken' author of a 'clueless tweet'."

The change of heart has not been reflected in Australia, where Murdoch tabloids have continued to be more supportive of Trump.

The New York Times said "top editors" at the Post had told some staff to be tougher in their coverage, quoting "two Post employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity".

The NYT said Allan worked closely with the editor-in-chief Stephen Lynch, and top digital editor, Michelle Gotthelf, ahead of the election, using its "pun-crazed front page" to promote the president and knock his rivals. Headlines included 'HIDIN' BIDEN' (for an article on Biden's campaign strategy) and 'SHE'S COUP-COUP' (on Speaker Nancy Pelosi).

Allan had "more or less run the newsroom" since his return, it reported, with Australian Miranda Devine - who joined in time for the 2020 campaign - among Biden's fiercest detractors.

Allan - who was reportedly "once seen in the Post newsroom wearing a Make America Great Again cap - brings to an end a 40-year career in New York and Sydney. He was editor-in-chief of the Post from 2001-16, and rejoined it as an adviser in January 2019, just as the presidential campaign was underway.

"The Post is not perfect," Allan told Robertson, "but it articulates a view that is not obedient to liberal orthodoxy. Therefore it is dangerous. I know where I would rather be."

Asked if he had mounted his last stand, he replied, "Like Custer!"

Pictured: A 2012 TV image of Col Allan, and one of the Allan-inspired Australian front pages which prompted former prime minister Kevin Rudd's petition

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