reverse ferret

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The term originates from Kelvin MacKenzie's time at the The Sun. His preferred description of the role of journalists when it came to public figures was to "stick a ferret up their trousers". This meant making their lives uncomfortable, and was based on the northern sport of ferret-legging. However, when it became clear that the tide of public opinion had turned against the paper's line, MacKenzie would burst from his office shouting "Reverse Ferret!" [1][2][3]


reverse ferret (plural reverse ferrets)

  1. (Britain media) A sudden volte-face in an organisation's editorial line on a certain issue, especially one without acknowledgment of the previous position.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 White, Roland (6 July 2008), “Tabloid week: the reverse ferret”, in The Sunday Times[1]
  2. ^ Neil Chenoweth - Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Media Wizard - →ISBN excerpt:
  3. ^ MacKenzie performs a BBC reverse ferret -