Murdoch wants WSJ to be as unbiased as Fox News

                    <a href="">Here’s a shocker</a>. WSJ employees staged a walk out in protest of Rupert Murdoch’s impending purchase of their paper.

Union president Steve Yount said the employees were concerned both about the pending $5 billion offer from Murdoch’s media conglomerate News Corp. as well as the latest contract proposals from Dow Jones, which include higher health care premiums.

The union and a former board member at Dow Jones say the Journal’s independence and quality would suffer under Murdoch’s ownership, something Murdoch denies. Murdoch has said he plans to invest in the paper’s online operations, Washington coverage and expand overseas. He also hopes to tap Dow Jones resources to launch a Fox-branded business news cable channel later this year.

Well, we all know how unbiased Fox News is, don’t we? I’m sure the quality of the WSJ wouldn’t suffer at all under Murdoch.

Consider this:

On his plans for the Journal: “What if, at the Journal, we spent $100 million a year hiring all the best business journalists in the world? Say 200 of them. And spent some money on establishing the brand but go global … and then you make it free, online only. No printing plants, no paper, no trucks. How long would it take for the advertising to come? It would be successful, it would work and you’d make … a little bit of money.”

On his desire to compete head-to-head with the New York Times: “My worry about the New York Times is that it’s got the only position as a national elitist general-interest paper. So the network news picks up its cues from the Times. And local papers do too. It has a huge influence. And we’d love to challenge it.”

He’d love to challenge the national interest of network news. Doesn’t he already do that? Doesn’t Fox News challenge every bit of evidence that the “liberal” media gives us regarding such things as Iraq’s ties to 9/11?

From Paul Krugman of the NYT (reg. required):

Now, Mr. Murdoch’s people rarely make flatly false claims. Instead, they usually convey misinformation through innuendo. During the early months of the Iraq occupation, for example, Fox gave breathless coverage to each report of possible W.M.D.’s, with little or no coverage of the subsequent discovery that it was a false alarm. No wonder, then, that many Fox viewers got the impression that W.M.D.’s had been found.

When all else fails, Mr. Murdoch’s news organizations simply stop covering inconvenient subjects.

Last year, Fox relentlessly pushed claims that the “liberal media” were failing to report the “good news” from Iraq. Once that line became untenable — well, the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that in the first quarter of 2007 daytime programs on Fox News devoted only 6 percent of their time to the Iraq war, compared with 18 percent at MSNBC and 20 percent at CNN.

What took Iraq’s place? Anna Nicole Smith, who received 17 percent of Fox’s daytime coverage.

So, should the New York Times, for instance, report that there are indeed no WMDs in Iraq (which a surprising number of people who get their news from Fox News primarily still believe) then Murdoch would like to challenge that. With what? If the New York Times reports that Bush refuses to comply with subpoenas (aka committing a crime against the American people) how would Murdoch like to challenge that?

A quick tour of my friend Google takes me to News Corpse[2004] (via Crooks and Liars):

Murdoch was asked if News Corp. had managed to shape the agenda on the war in Iraq. His answer?

“No, I don’t think so. We tried.” Asked by Rose for further comment, he said: “We basically supported the Bush policy in the Middle East…but we have been very critical of his execution.” [also reported here]

I remember my Introduction to Business professor telling us that the WSJ was the best newspaper in the country for business students, and that we’d do well to study it. I wonder if he’ll say the same thing once Mr. Murdoch wipes his ass with it.

(Hat-tip Tennessee Guerilla Women)

I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

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