Slate.com media columnist Jack Shafer writed Friday afternoon about what kind of boss News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch will be if he acquires Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, and looks back to when he bought a stake in Warner Communications and got reporters from his New York Post to investigate Steve Ross, its CEO.
Shafer wrote, “That Murdoch had no compunctions about assigning his reporters the work of private investigators is no aberration. As the Murdoch rap sheet published recently by the Wall Street Journal on Page One shows, the rotten old bastard loves to leverage his editorial assets in service of his businesses. This is only the most tawdry example.
“Typically, Murdoch lies his way out of such jams or obfuscates. In this instance, he maintained that the Post reporters were working as investigators for his company, not as journalists, even though they told Warner employees they were working on a Post story. In the Feb. 6, 1984, Times (article purchase required), he mouthed this transparent fib: ‘If they misidentified themselves, they were wrong â€¦ and they’ll be reprimanded.’ Oh, sure, reprimanded with bonuses.”
Shafer concluded: “That Rupert Murdoch feels the need to negotiate a pact with the Bancrofts guaranteeing the editorial integrity and independence of Dow Jones publications when he takes over tells you everything you need to know about his methods and practices. Will he use Wall Street Journal reporters as private investigators to advance his businesses? Will he dip into not-yet-published Journal and Barron’s stories and extract market-changing news and act on it? Reward his friends in politics and business with favorable coverage? Intimidate political and business adversaries with ‘investigations’ personally commissioned by him?
“What do you think?”
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