Friday, June 29, 2007

Some Final Thoughts on Murdoch's Revenge....

While no one can doubt that Murdoch's muscular pursuit of Dow Jones is politically-timed, and politically-motivated, rest assured that if he is reasonably secure in the belief that his new pal, Hillary Clinton, will be more likely to support "benchmarks," i.e. leaving American contractors in Iraq long after the troops withdraw to maximize profit margins, then he will ensure that Fox, Newscorp, and the WSJ are in sync with a Hillary presidency. And, sync or swim, any editor, or journalist, who doesn't fall into place will quickly find themselves out of work.

Yesterday's one-day national walkout by Wall Street Journal reporters, as their press release indicates, to speak up in favor of "journalistic independence" while laudable was too short-lived and, more importantly, little more than symbolic in light of reports that a "tentative deal" with the Wall Street Journal would give Murdoch, and News Corp., autonomy with regard to hiring and firing the paper's editors. Those who have had access to the agreement call it "a far cry" from the newsroom, and editorial, independence insisted upon by the Bancrofts. (Reuters)

Moreover, whether the new owner of Dow Jones, and The Wall Street Journal, should decide it's in his best financial interests to support a Democrat over a Republican as the next president, keep in mind that what motivates Murdoch is not ideology, or even ideas; it's money. Arguably, he'd get into bed with Stalin if the price were right. After all, he got into bed with Beijing.

That said, make no mistake, Rupey is the symptom not the disease. As Bill Moyers points out brilliantly, in his essay, "On Murdoch," the disease is newspaper consolidation. Indeed, if Mr. Murdoch were to withdraw his bid for the Journal, fold his hand, and go home to Australia, the recent hair raising trend of newspaper buyouts and mergers would still exist. Ultimately, consolidation poses a graver longterm threat to editorial independence than Rupert Murdoch ever could.