Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 7:15am
RM + WSJ: LET'S DO THE MATH
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Howard Kurtz]
[Commentary] Could Rupert Murdoch keep his thumb off the journalistic scale if he buys the Wall Street Journal? Is he smart enough to realize that meddling would ruin the very asset he thinks is worth $5 billion? The record is not encouraging, and not because Murdoch is a committed conservative; rather, he is a man of shifting political alliances whose media outlets tend to follow his lead. He is a throwback to the William Randolph Hearst era, when publishers were openly partisan, made backroom deals and even ran for office. And Murdoch makes no secret of his views. At a conference last month, he praised President Bush as "persuasive, strong and articulate" and told Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot: "Apart from your newspaper and mine, there's a sort of monolithic attack on him every day of the year." This is an owner who thought nothing of donating $1 million to the California Republican Party in 1996 or, more recently, hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks that didn't result in more respectful coverage of the senator in the New York Post hasn't been reading that paper very carefully. Given this track record, could Murdoch be a reasonable steward of the Journal? In any other field, a mogul buys a company and issues marching orders as he sees fit. Only with a news organization is a wealthy owner supposed to spend big bucks and then keep his hands off the core product, even allowing his employees to scrutinize him and his friends.
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