OLD Media Moves

What would WSJ disclosure be with Murdoch as owner?

July 11, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Slate.com media critic Jack Shafer wonders Wednesday how long the disclosure would be in The Wall Street Journal if News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is successful in purchasing its parent company, Dow Jones & Co.

Jack ShaferShafer notes that the Journal currently uses a disclosure sentence that mentions that Dow Jones owns Barron’s, Marketwatch, Factiva and provides content to CNBC, among other operations.

Shafer wrote, “Presently, the Wall Street Journal doesn’t run a disclosure every time it cites a CNBC show or makes a passing mention of a publication or business that competes with Dow Jones. So there’s no obvious reason why a News Corp.-owned Journal would have to disclose its parent company’s holdings if it mentioned Facebook, a movie from Paramount Pictures, a book from Random House, a show on NBC, the New York Daily News, LexisNexis, ESPN, Comcast, the Dish Network, or any of the thousands of companies that directly compete with News Corp.

“But common sense would dictate the inclusion of some sort of rider in full-fledged news stories about News Corp. competitors. My rough estimate indicates that upwards of a dozen News Corp. competitors make Journal-worthy news each day. According to today’s (July 11) ‘Index of Business,’ which appears on Page B2 daily, there are three mentions of News Corp. in the paper. Would Murdoch continue to alert readers to the Journal‘s potential conflicts of interest in his coverage?

“If he did, would it make any difference? I’ve argued repeatedly that a Murdoch-owned Journal would be a journalistic disaster because wherever Murdoch goes on the planet, he uses his enterprises to advance his personal interests and his business interests. So, my guess is that no, he wouldn’t disclose News Corp.’s conflicts.”

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