Bill Moyers, the PBS show host, writes on the Huffington Post Friday that the proposed purchase of Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is just another example of how he has used journalism for his own purpose.
Moyers wrote, “Murdoch and The Journal‘s editorial page are made for each other. They’ve both pursued the right’s corporate and political agenda of the past quarter century. Both venerate what The Journal editorials call the ‘animal spirits’ of business. But The Journal‘s newsroom is another matter — there facts are sacred and independence revered. Rupert Murdoch has told the Bancrofts he’ll not meddle with the reporting. But he’s accustomed to using journalism as a personal spittoon. In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, he turned the dogs of war loose in the newsrooms of his empire and they howled for blood. Murdoch himself said the greatest thing to come out of the war would be ‘$20 a barrel for oil.’
“Of course he wasn’t the only media mogul to clamor for war. And he’s not the first to use journalism to promote his own interests. His worst offense with FOX News is not even its baldly partisan agenda. Far worse is the travesty he’s made of its journalism. FOX News huffs and puffs, pontificates and proclaims, but does little serious original reporting. His tabloids sell babes and breasts, gossip and celebrities. Now he’s about to bring under the same thumb one of the few national newsrooms remaining in the country.
“But the problem isn’t just Rupert Murdoch. His pursuit of The Wall Street Journal is the latest in a cascading series of mergers, buy-outs, and other financial legerdemain that are making a shipwreck of journalism. Public minded newspapers are being dumped by their owners for wads of cash or crippled by cost cutting while their broadcasting cousins race to the bottom. Murdoch is just the predator of the hour. The modern maestro of a financial marketplace ruled by money and moguls. Instead of checking the excesses of private and public power, these 21st century barons of the First Amendment revel in them; the public be damned.”
Read more here.