The WSJ defends itself and its former publisher
An editorial slated for Monday’s Wall Street Journal defends the work of its publisher Les Hinton in turning around its operations while deploring those who hacked into phones to obtain information.
Hinton, also the CEO of Journal parent Dow Jones & Co., resigned on Friday. He had been head of News International when one of its papers was involved in hacking the phones of story subjects.
The editorial states, “In nearly four years at the Journal, Mr. Hinton managed the paper’s return to profitability amid a terrible business climate. He did so not solely by cost-cutting but by investing in journalists when other publications were laying off hundreds. On ethical questions, his judgment was as sound as that of any editor we’ve had.
“In the specific case of Singapore, he allowed the company to defend one of our journalists against a defamation claim through the appellate stage, despite the historically faint prospect of success. This is more than can be said for other British and American publications. In doing so, Mr. Hinton forced the Singapore judiciary to address significant changes in the law protecting honest journalism elsewhere in the former British commonwealth that the judges could have otherwise ignored.
“Our readers can decide if we are a better publication than we were four years ago, but there is no denying that News Corp. has invested in the product. The news hole is larger. Our foreign coverage in particular is more robust, our weekend edition more substantial, and our expansion into digital delivery ahead of the pack. The measure that really matters is the market’s, and on that score Mr. Hinton was at the helm when we again became America’s largest daily.
“We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur. They want their readers to believe, based on no evidence, that the tabloid excesses of one publication somehow tarnish thousands of other News Corp. journalists across the world.”
Read more here.