A discussion of contemporary issues in media ethics, with olives and a twist. Made with only the freshest ingredients, shaken, stirred and poured over ice. I should also mention that I do like the odd, occasional martini. Bombay Sapphire gin and Lillet, dry and plenty of salty olives. Welcome to this cocktail of journalism and alcohol. A fine combination!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Murdoch not rich enough yet

Murdoch on owning the Wall Street Journal
So Rupert Murdoch wants to buy the Wall Street Journal for $5 billion, but admits he never reads or understands every article. In an interview with the International Herald Tribune, Murdoch went to great lengths to promote his love of journalism.

While Murdoch went to great pains to explain that he sees himself as a lifelong newspaperman who learned journalism from his father in Australia, he also tried to say that his reputation as an interloper owner was overstated. He said he was not involved with the news operations of the higher-end newspapers, although he takes a closer role in tabloids like The Sun in London and The New York Post.

But his denials about interfering in the editorial work of his many media assets are hollow, to say the least. In Australia, the UK and the US, Murdoch has a long and well-documented history of doing the opposite. His senior editors are all handpicked loyalists and who could forget that every one of Murdoch's papers and the Fox network have been strong supporters of the Bush-Blair-Howard axle of weevils in Iraq from day one.

Nice joke Mr Murdoch, but try pulling the other one.
Interestingly, the Journal itself is reporting this story with a fairly positive spin, even suggesting that Murdoch's lieutenants are keen to win over staff reporters as well as the Bancroft family which currently owns most of the shares in the parent company.
This is not so unusual, the reporting of 'business' news, when the media property itself is part of the story, is often done this way. It's one way of signaling to share holders that the deal is perhaps in their best interests. I'm sure, though, that the union members at the WSJ will not be so easily fooled by the snake oil merchants promising them the moon.

BTW: you can actually watch the great documentary about Fox News, Outfoxed, on YouTube. If you haven't seen it, it's not a bad way to spend a couple of hours in front of the computer not downloading you know what.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Marty, Without saying anything good or bad about Rupert Murdoch, I think it's worth examining whether or not this "wall" between news pages and editorials is real or has been an illusion. My post today is "Murdoch not a threat to Journalism’s “wall” between editorial pages and news coverage because it has never existed" at The Future of News