OLD Media Moves

Murdoch's ignoring agreement with Bancrofts

September 2, 2008

Michael Wolff of Vanity Fair, who is working on a book about News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, writes in the latest issue that the new owner of The Wall Street Journal is ignoring his agreement with the former owners, the Bancrofts, not to meddle in its coverage.

Rupert MurdochWolff writes, “The great fear about Rupert Murdoch, among journalists and proper liberals everywhere, beyond even his tabloidism and his right-wing politics, is that he acknowledges no rules. He does it, without mercy, his way. If you watch him up close, this certainly seems true. He sits in his office and plots and schemes and figures out ways to get (to take) what he wants.

“Although he’d agreed with the Bancroft family, Dow Jones’s former owners, to accept a strict structure for protecting The Wall Street Journal’s editorial independence, I watched how blithely he paid no attention to it. It barely figured into his plans or consciousness. Except that he seemed briefly tickled to have figured out that if he merely called his chosen editor, Robert Thomson, the publisher, then he’d have his choice. He was only slightly confounded (and a bit bemused) that it took Journal editor Marcus Brauchli four months to get the message that he was out.”

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