Sunday, July 17, 2011

Murdoch's Magic Touch - The Ruination of the Wall Street Journal

Joe Nocera has an interesting op-ed piece in The New York Times in which he canvasses how Rupert Murdoch "Foxified" the once prestigious Wall Street Journal.

Within five months, Murdoch had fired the editor and installed his close friend Robert Thomson, fresh from a stint Fox-ifying The Times of London. The new publisher was Leslie Hinton, former boss of the division that published Murdoch’s British newspapers, including The News of the World. (He resigned on Friday.) Soon came the changes, swift and sure: shorter articles, less depth, an increased emphasis on politics and, weirdly, sometimes surprisingly unsophisticated coverage of business. 

Along with the transformation of a great paper into a mediocre one came a change that was both more subtle and more insidious. The political articles grew more and more slanted toward the Republican party line. The Journal sometimes took to using the word “Democrat” as an adjective instead of a noun, a usage favored by the right wing. In her book, “War at The Wall Street Journal,” Sarah Ellison recounts how editors inserted the phrase “assault on business” in an article about corporate taxes under President Obama. The Journal was turned into a propaganda vehicle for its owner’s conservative views.

If anything the critique seems understated.  Murdoch did take one of America's most prestigious papers and turned it into a birdcage liner of the same quality as our own National Post.

1 comment:

Jim Parrett said...

Amusing to see the WSJ editorial yesterday whining about how the Guardian and BBC are reporting this story. It's a classic example of the customary woe is me victim role that the conservative media so often adopts. With the resignation of the top cop and Cameron cutting his Africa trip short, this story is so big, it demands rigorous coverage such as that provided by the Guardian and the BBC. The tenuous tie between conservative media and politicians is about to be put under the microscope. Whining from the accused only makes them look all the more guilty.