Rupert Murdoch and Clarence Barron, separated at birth
UNC-Chapel HillÂ journalism professor Chris Roush writes for Slate.com that the Bancroft family needs to go back and revisit former family leader Clarence Barron‘s running of The Wall Street Journal because it’s a lot like how News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has run his media empire. The Bancrofts have implied that Barron created this great legacy at the paper.
Roush wrote, “Under Barron, Journal journalists received money from stock touts wanting to use its pages to make more profits in the market. Author Edward Scharff noted in his history of the paper: ‘What drew most young men to the Journal was an open secret having nothing whatever to do with the fabled fun of the news business. â€¦ [Reporters] could practically guarantee profits in the stock market. In addition, they were paidâ€”sometimes handsomelyâ€”to work in conjunction with speculative rings and stock syndicates.’
“The most famous of these cases were the two reporters who wrote the ‘Broad Street Gossip’ and ‘Abreast of the Market’ columns in the 1920s. In 1932, after Barron had died, Rep. Fiorello LaGuardia, D-N.Y., produced canceled checks written to the reporters by a Wall Street publicist. The stories based on the bribes had gone as far back as 1923â€”the heyday of Barron’s management. That’s about as close to the recent scandal at Murdoch’s New York Post, where a restaurant owner gave $1,000 to the editor of the “Page Six” gossip column, as you can get.
“To be sure, Barron improved the Journal. Today’s Journal bears no resemblance to Barron’s. But if the Bancrofts really want to preserve a legacy, then they need to acquaint themselves with the warts on theirs. History does repeat itself.”
Read more here. And yes, I just blogged about something I wrote on another web site.