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Examples Of Misguided Journalistic Handwringing Over The Prospect of Rupert Murdoch Owning The Wall Street Journal

Posted by: Jon Fine on May 2, 2007

I hope this will not become an ongoing series. Dean Starkman opines in the Columbia Journalism Review about the $60 per share bid Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp made for Dow Jones:

And make no mistake: Tuesday was a black day for journalism, and an even blacker one for financial journalism. When this is over, there will be no independent publisher of the nation’s foremost—really only—watchdog of the capital markets, corporate behavior, and regulators’ conduct. Who’s going to cover News Corp.?

Wow. Good question. Well, let’s see. There’s the New York Times. And there’s Bloomberg. There’s Fortune and CNBC. There’s Conde Nast Portfolio, Forbes, and—forgive me—BusinessWeek. There’s the Economist, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times. There’s individual columnists like Newsweek’s Allan Sloan and the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, to name two of many, and an army of bloggers.

But set all that aside. Some of Rupert Murdoch’s media properties may bug the Starkmans of the world, but, to cite one example, the guy who owns the Fox News Channel and the New York Post also owned the Village Voice between 1977 and 1985.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall the Voice endorsing Reagan in 1980 or 1984.

Might it, by 2007, finally occur to writers whose knees jerk every time Murdoch’s name is mentioned that the owner of the Times of London, the Simpsons, “Little Miss Sunshine” and MySpace might actually NOT want to turn everything he has into the Fox News Channel?

Reader Comments

Max Kalehoff

May 3, 2007 9:19 AM

Make no mistake: Dean Starkman seems to be nothing more than an embarrassment to journalism and a black eye to the Columbia University journalism department. Sure, Columbia University will give you a great education and expose you to many smart people, but can you imagine studying under someone as misguided as Dean Starkman?

John Finch

May 3, 2007 10:01 AM

I think you miss the point, Corporate lackeys will always favor their boss' opinion. Need I remind you of Larry Tisch and CBS Network News. At CBS their were plenty of executives willing to carry out the boss' wishes to get ahead. I don't remember many at that organization falling on their swords. Why shouldn't we expect a coloring of the news at the WSJ to appease their leader? I will concede that Murdoch, an experienced news executive, will be able to better pull it off. It's not only Murdoch I worry about.


May 4, 2007 9:33 AM

Chicken Little, me thinks Jon does not miss the point. Murdoch is more likely than others to keep the soul intact.


May 4, 2007 3:34 PM

Judging from the WSJ's right-of-the-Taliban editorial page, who would notice the difference?

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