Should Murdoch Own the Wall Street Journal?

June 29, 2007 at 9:03 am | Posted in Media | Leave a comment

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman published a column in today’s New York Times titled “The Murdoch Factor.”  You have to be a member of Times Select to read it, but he says important things about the bid by media mogul Rupert Murdoch to buy the Wall Street Journal.

 

If Murdoch adds the Journal to his swollen media empire it would be a disaster for journalism, for the dedicated journalists who work for the Journal, for the paper’s readers, and (because it’s influential nationally and internationally) for the country.

 

Krugman quotes a study published in October of 2003 by the nonpartisan Program on International Policy Attitudes.  The study, titled “Misperceptions, the media and the Iraq war,” found that 60 percent of Americans believed that there were links between Al Qaeda and Iraq, WMD had been found in Iraq, or world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq.

 

Of course none of these were true, but the point is that peoples’ misperceptions depended on where they got their news.  Only 23 percent of the people who got their news from PBS or NPR believed them, but 80 percent of the people who depended on Fox Noise (er… News) believed!  Guess who owns Fox?

 

Rupert Murdoch

 

Krugman points out that Murdoch exploits the media environment by slanting coverage to serve his business interests.  Therefore, in the United States, Fox is heavily biased in favor of the Bush administration and the Republican Party.  In Britain, Murdoch enterprises (including the Times of London) supported the Blair government, so it would let him keep his holdings.  And in China Murdoch’s organization is working to help the Chinese censor the internet.

 

I thoroughly agree with Paul Krugman when he says, “If Mr. Murdoch does acquire The Journal, it will be a dark day for America’s news media — and American democracy.”

 

What can you do?  You can help to put pressure on the Journal not to sell out.  Write your elected representatives and ask them to hold hearings and write legislation to help preserve national information assets.  Write Jim Ottaway and Jay Ottaway, at Dow Jones Corp., 200 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281.  Send an email to Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Bill Grueskin (b.grueskin@wsj.com).

 

If you’re a member of Times Select, the following link will take you to the article:

 http://select.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/opinion/29krugman.html?hp 

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