Keeping Rupert Murdoch At Bay

Yesterday, Wall Street Journal reporters from across the country staged a surprising walk-out to protest Rupert Murdoch’s impending takeover of the newspaper. After seeing some of the comments Murdoch made to Time’s Eric Pooley, it’s hardly a mystery why WSJ professionals are worried.

“CNN is pretty consistently on the left, if you look at their choice of stories, what they play up. It’s not what they say. It’s what they highlight.” (CNN, which is also owned by Time Warner, hotly disputes this charge.) Then he mumbles conspiratorially, “And if you look at our general news, do we put on things which favor the right rather than the left? I don’t know.” Has Murdoch just said what I think he said? Has he flirted with an admission that Fox News skews right? If so, he quickly backs away. “We don’t think we do. We’ve always insisted we don’t. I don’t think we do. Aw, it’s subjective. Neither side admits it.”

Murdoch is usually more careful than this. “Neither side admits” what, exactly? Murdoch didn’t say. Then again, he didn’t have to.

In the meantime, Bill Moyers is weighing in on the pending sale: “Rupert Murdoch has told the Bancrofts he’ll not meddle with reporting. But he’s accustomed to using journalism as a personal spittoon,” Moyers says. “His worst offense with Fox News is not even its baldly partisan agenda. Far worse is the travesty he’s made of its journalism."

Paul Krugman is weighing in, too. This may seem like a business story regarding one major corporation dealing with a different major corporation. The stakes are higher than that.

John Amato: Let's not forget that Murdoch already admitted manipulating the news in Davos...

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