Murdoch to acquire WSJ -- will anything change?

Murdoch finally got support from enough Bancroft family members that it looks like his takeover of the Wall Street Journal is a go. The WSJ editorial page already reflects Murdoch’s business-conservative political views, but its news coverage is notably independent and reputable. Will that change?

Analysis by media critic Eric Alterman:

Alterman goes on to suggest this change might be a good thing if it clarifies to the public the degree to which the corporate interests control the mainstream media already.

Will anything change with the WSJ? Public Radio International’s Marketplace show was referring to the Dow Jones Industrial Average as the “Murdoch Average” recently. I think they were kidding.

Murdoch is not going to start colorizing the WSJ, throwing nekkid women on page 3, or anything else that would render useless the whole point of buying it.

He will, of course, replace the editorial staff so that its leftward tilt over the last 78 years can be corrected.

I was going to say, here’s to hoping Murdoch straightens out that notoriously liberal rag and brings in some fairness and balance.

I read too many newspapers as it is; it’d be nice to be able to totally ignore the WSJ.

Yes. Everything that matters will change. Murdoch has already says that he doesn’t like the “long stories” in the Journal. These are the stories that uncover wrongdoing, illuminate unfamiliar corners of the world, and help to right injustices. They are well-written and thoughtful, win Pulitzer prizes, and are frequently turned into good books. I don’t read the editorials in the Journal because I’m afraid of what might happen to my blood pressure, but I do read the investigative reporting, and it’s the best anywhere. There is not a doubt in my mind that over the course of the next few years under Murdoch’s ownership, that’s all going to go away. It makes me slightly nauseated to think about how the Journal will be destroyed, bit by bit until it’s just the Money section of USA Today plus a bunch of conservative editorials.

I worry most about who will mind the store (meaning Wall Street and the business community) when the Journal is gone. Who is going to uncover the insider trading scandals, the options backdating scandals, and whatever new and dirtier mess is being cooked up at this moment? The world is going to be a much poorer, uglier, and more corrupt place once Murdoch gets his hands on the Journal.

I’ve never been a Journal reader, but I’ll throw in this much: I think Murdoch has agreed to some editorial “non-interference” measures in taking over the WSJ. I think he agreed to similar terms after buying other papers and then ignored them, so I think the changes will be visible, even if he tries to hide them at first.

Guys, I was a TV news producer for five years. Both stations I worked for were corporate-owned. One of them was in the top fifty television markets, in case someone tries the “you were too small for them to care” argument for the statement that follows.

I was the only person responsible for five hours of news programming a week. Not once did I have a “corporate overlord” alter any of my content.

Men in sunglasses looking over shoulders in newsrooms is a myth.

I am absolutely positive that the corporate ownership was concerned about ratings, which translates to dollars. That mainifested itself in the General Manager/News Management of the station making talent and content decisions designed to keep (or increase) the audience. Ideological slant was avoided as it affects the credibility of the news product. If you annoy half your audience with slanted coverage, they will go to your competition.

That’s TV news at the local level. On the national level and in newspapers, ideological bias is easier to see. But we only tend to notice the bias we disagree with. If they lean our way, we hardly notice because our world view is being confirmed.

Could you please re-state that post? I’m confused by the wording of your post. You make it sound, up top, as if your station only showed 5 hours of news programming a week, and you were deciding what to do with it.

Then down bottom, you semi-imply that that was the local news. (And the national news was piped in for you?)

I’m not sure which you mean, or whether you mean something else entirely. So if you could clarify, I’d appreciate. Thanks.

Young Cutie Reveals: Capital Gains Tax Cuts Make Me Hot!

(Stolen from somebody, don’t remember who…)

Yeah, the engraving staff are suddenly going to find their jobs a lot more interesting…

I was personally responsible for five hours of programming per week. A producer chooses the news stories that go into a newscast each day and in what order the stories will run. I produced three one hour shows, and four 30 minute shows each week for a local affiliate.

The national news was piped in to us.