OLD Media Moves

Democrats itching to examine News Corp. offer for Dow Jones

May 7, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

The HillElana Schor of The Hill newspaper writes that Democrats in Congress want to use the News Corp. offer to purchase Dow Jones & Co. for $5 billion to examine media ownership laws, but they say their interest has nothing to do with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch‘s conservative opinions.

Schor wrote, “Murdoch’s offer is unlikely to run afoul of antitrust rules at the Justice Department, analysts said. But Democrats can press the FCC to revisit the two ownership-limit waivers that it granted Murdoch in October. The waivers allow Murdoch’s News Corporation to own two local TV stations and one newspaper in the New York market.

“Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has long protested the waiver that gave Murdoch control of New Jersey-based WWOR-TV, successfully fighting Murdoch in 2004 to keep most of the station’s employees from moving to New York City. Lautenberg said he ‘would not be surprised’ if Congress held hearings on the Dow Jones deal.

“‘I want to look at it,’ he said. ‘The thing I want to be certain of is … if this isn’t a monopoly that prevents independent views.’

“Lautenberg, who is also on Commerce, diplomatically called Murdoch ‘a daring fellow’ for risking rejection by the Bancroft family, the majority owners of Dow Jones who have so far resisted his lucrative offer.”

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