OLD Media Moves

Trouble for WSJ ahead if China is any clue

August 8, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Central Washington University journalism professor Cynthia Mitchell writes in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that her investigation into everything written about News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and his Star TV in China shows that The Wall Street Journal will have interference from its new owner.

Wall Street JournalMitchell, who worked at the Journal, wrote, “To help Star TV, Murdoch struck business deals with the Chinese government that didn’t otherwise make sense. He pandered to China’s leaders with royal treatment and sympathetic remarks toward their controversial stances, from its occupation of Tibet to its brutal opposition to Falun Gong (coverage of which earned the WSJ a Pulitzer Prize in 2001).

“But those strategies just wasted shareholders’ money or made Murdoch look bad. More troubling is how Murdoch abused his empire’s editorial integrity.

“He yanked BBC News from Star TV after the government complained about an unflattering documentary on former Chinese leader Mao Zedong. He ordered HarperCollins to cancel its book contract with Christopher Patten, the last British colonial governor of Hong Kong before its reversion to Chinese rule in 1997; Patten’s early draft had harsh words for China’s leaders. Murdoch earlier demanded another HarperCollins imprint publish a biography of Deng Xiaoping by Deng’s daughter that one critic called ‘pure propaganda.’

“The Times of London’s former East Asian editor said coverage from Hong Kong and China virtually evaporated after the handover.”

Read  more here. Mitchell and I worked together at the Atlanta Constitution from 1994 to 1997. I enjoyed reading her remembrances of working at The Journal.

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