Thursday, August 02, 2007

Murdoch takes over Wall Street Journal

This is not surprising. From The Wall Street Journal:

A century of Bancroft-family ownership at Dow Jones & Co. is over.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. sealed a $5 billion agreement to purchase the publisher of The Wall Street Journal after three months of drama in the controlling family and public debate about journalistic values.

One of the oldest and best-known franchises in the newspaper industry, beset in recent years by business pressures, now enters a new era as part of a world-wide media conglomerate. The 76-year-old Mr. Murdoch, whose properties range from the Fox television network to the Times of London, negotiated hard to win the paper he long coveted. He has promised to invest more in Dow Jones journalism.

The Bancrofts worried about protecting the reputation of the Journal, the nation's second-largest newspaper. They feared Mr. Murdoch would meddle in the paper's editorial affairs and import the brand of sensationalist journalism found in some of his properties such as the New York Post. Some Bancrofts sought other buyers.

But ultimately, Mr. Murdoch's $60-a-share bid -- a 67% premium above Dow Jones's share price when it became public -- was the only serious offer on the table. Key family members, spurred by Dow Jones's board and advisers, decided they had no choice.

Now I'll admit that I never cared much for the Journal's editorial board, they were so pro-business in their opinions it could make Ebeneezer Scrooge green with envy. But the best thing about the Wall Street Journal was its business reporting and writing. The Journal is one of the best business reporting papers in this country. And the Bancroft family sold their flagship paper to a CEO who runs, what I consider, one of the worst news media companies in this country. Fox News does not report news to the American consumer--instead Fox News sells a pre-packaged, conservative ideology that pretends to be news. And now that Rupert Murdoch has the Wall Street Journal, he is going to use the Journal to sell his own brand of hard-lined conservative ideology on the front pages of the Journal, just as he uses Fox News to sell his own brand of conservative ideology.

Keith Olbermann has a great analysis of this story here on YouTube:

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