Embittered Herald Sun fifth-columnist Alan Howe, routinely referred to by disgusted company insiders as â€œthe Gnomeâ€ or â€œthe Poison Dwarf,â€ was once a high-flyer in the News Corporation family.
Sadly for him, thatâ€™s not the case any more.
And despite the company showing Howe extraordinary loyalty, his bitterness leads him to sail into some very dark and treacherous waters, those who know him well have told the famed VEXNEWS Investigations Unit.
Amazingly, none of these psychiatrically concerning anxieties relate to his criminal past, where Alan Howe was found guilty by a Magistrate of offences under the Children and Young Persons Act, relating to child endangerment. Other than worry about the uncharitable impression of the crook that rival parents at the elite private school where his twins attend might have gained, Howe is thought to be relatively untroubled by his time as a criminal defendant.
As a result of an unprecedented outburst of anti-Howe loathing, VEXNEWS can now reveal ever more concerning and sordid secrets of the not-so-brilliant career of Alan Howe.
THE JAZZ ZINGER
Howe is believed to loudly disparage his boss, highly regarded HWT Managing Director Peter Blunden, in company where he probably shouldnâ€™t. Discretion is not a strong suit for the back-stabber and VEXNEWS has learned from the gossipy confines of the jazz world that Howe can get quite bitter and twisted when talking about work, especially Blunden.
He accuses Blunden of undermining his once brilliant career when he was the editor of the Sunday Herald Sun and looked set for a high-flying corporate career ahead of being put out to pasture on high salary (some say at least $6000 per week, maybe more) and lavish expense account. We could all pray to be so cruelly undermined. But Howe was not and is not happy.
BITTER DISLOYAL LITTLE URCHIN
Howe was quick to jettison loyal deputy editors and others when the first wave of intervention came to rescue the paper from his indolence and cluelessness but was eventually realised to be the problem, himself. So he got boned. And heâ€™s never really got over it.
Blunden and Howe were contemporaries and Howe has jealously regarded his advancement and success as a personal insult.
We understand Howe was extremely resentful about being ordered to make his columns â€œmore contemporaryâ€ by editors who worry about him seriously weakening the product on Mondays. There are only so many times one can write about Normie Rowe and the Beatles.
His columns â€“ appearing on Mondays â€“ in the Herald Sun are seen by company insiders as â€œappallingâ€ and pre-occupied with bizarre topics of esoteric personal interest to Howe himself. The extensive market research into the paper that has gone on recently identified that while the brilliant Andrew Bolt provokes great reaction, loving and loathing, the large amount of space dedicated to Howe prompts little reaction at all. Itâ€™s just lame. And like the author himself, they are small and ignorant.
We understand that he was extremely resentful about being ordered to make his columns â€œmore contemporaryâ€ by editors who worry about him seriously weakening the product on Mondays. There are only so many times one can write about Normie Rowe and the Beatles. He is stuck in the 1980s when, despite his protestations to the contrary, icy Coke was his favourite beverage. He has sniffily denied it.
RHYMES WITH BITCH
Not satisfied with hating his one-time rivals, he has also singled out members of the Murdoch family for biting criticism. Some of that we have decided to self-censor as it might cause hurt feelings among those so viciously described. But in one case, former News Limited supremo Lachlan Murdoch has been relentlessly vilified by Howe, especially after he left the company to do his own thing. The reason is that LachlanÂ – at a large meeting of News Limited big-wigs – was critical – to Howeâ€™s face – of the Sunday Herald Sun generally under Howeâ€™s then editorship and in particular its magazine, then assembled by Howeâ€™s missus Carmel Egan. Lachlan thought the newspaper was weak and the magazine, in particular, was â€œcrap.â€ Unlike Howe, whose moral compass is stored anally, we will refrain from attacking members of his family, especially at the moment, but many saw the nepotistic arrangement as not being good for the company. Interestingly, it was a cosy arrangement repeated under the disgracefully bad editorship of the unlamented Bruce Guthrie.
Anyway, Howe was blind with rage about the then heir-apparentâ€™s insult and vowed to smite him in various poison-gnome kinds of ways. All that meant was Howe slagged Lachlan off, including repeating false rumours about him that we have decided not to air.
John Hartigan, the head of News Limited in Australia, is believed to be aware of this situation and is thought to be â€œno fanâ€ of Howe. He is regarded as a â€œMelbourne indulgenceâ€, a kind of â€œfloating turdâ€ who canâ€™t as yet be flushed.
News Corporation is a great Australian story. But its internal politics are played hard, sometimes so hard that those with strong experience of politics marvel at its brutish ways.
Brutish and fiercely internally competitive is great. And the ethos has built a remarkable company of which the country should be rightly proud. But allowing the toxin of Alan Howe to remain in the company is regarded by most industry insiders as a highly curious and dangerous situation.
Many big-names have left the HWT building in recent years, so much journalistic talent lost to spin for train companies or just prematurely-retire. Itâ€™s a big talking point around the industry. A sad thing but no doubt just part of the normal cycle of events.
But somehow, despite all that culling, the buildingâ€™s biggest oxygen thief Alan Howe remains.
Not for much longer, insiders say.