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It would be easy for liberals (and Democrats generally) to yawn about the dustup over Rupert Murdoch’s play for the “venerable” Wall Street Journal: after all, the Journal’s (anything but venerable) editorial page is every bit as extreme a right wing rag — in the nuttiest sense of the term — as anything penned by the likes of Drudge, Malkin or Coulter.
But the editorial board’s lunacy doesn’t fairly characterize the Journal as a whole, which is widely regarded as having a first rate news page. It is also one of a very small fraternity of major newspapers that still have the resources to do in-depth reporting, including investigative journalism.
Losing even one of these surviving “old media” giants would be a tremendous blow: turning it over to Murdoch’s tender mercies is unthinkable.
But then unthinkable things seem to happen all the time anymore.
(New York) — Financial analyst Edouard Morin slid from his lunch seat at the swanky Harry’s Cafe around the corner from Wall Street and sized up the latest merger talk that has the business world abuzz.
“The Journal is an American icon,” he said. But this is Wall Street after all, so he added an important caveat: “Everything is for sale these days, at the right price.”
Some on Wall Street said Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to buy The Wall Street Journal was a bad idea, while others said it was merely capitalism: you have to do what’s best for the business.
The Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones & Co., says it is warming to the idea of selling the company, with Murdoch being the most visible suitor. His media conglomerate, News Corp., includes the New York Post, Fox News, and MySpace.
Murdoch claims, of course, that if he does acquire the journal, he’ll take steps to assure its editorial independence. Coming, as it does, from the man who brought us the “fair and balanced” reporting of Fox News, somehow I don’t feel that reassured.