News Release

Implications: Murdoch and Dow Jones


AP reports that “Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, said Tuesday it received an unsolicited bid from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to buy the company for $5 billion.”

Author of The New Media Monopoly and professor emeritus and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, Bagdikian has worked as an editor at major metropolitan dailies.

He said today: “If Murdoch gets control of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones and if he follows the pattern of his past acquisitions, he will use the Wall Street Journal to serve his own purposes, financial and political. …

“Every media property Murdoch has owned has been put to his political purposes, as is demonstrated by how he uses the Fox networks to project right-wing politics [into] news and commentary and to cheapen the national culture.

“It would seem impossible that the original Bancroft family owners would sell to a man like Murdoch, but by now second, third, and maybe fourth generations of that family have shares among the children and grandchildren who may not have the original owners’ emotional investment in the Journal. If this is so, it would be a repetition of what happened to the Pulitzer and Courier Journal papers when heirs preferred to sell to high-paying (and politically conservative) owners like Gannett, in return for millions instead of earlier annual dividends.

“One hopes that the original Bancroft family tradition has survived the decades. Otherwise, the present editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which already is the most conservative in the country, will also get into the news.”
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President of the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, which represents employees of Dow Jones across the United States and Canada, Yount said today: “Mr. Murdoch has shown a willingness to crush quality and independence, and there is no reason to think he would handle Dow Jones or the Journal any differently. Despite our differences of opinion with current management, we strongly encourage the Bancrofts to continue to stand up for the institution’s independence, and to walk away from this offer.

“Moreover, the massive premium Mr. Murdoch is offering suggests only one recourse to make the acquisition profitable: gutting the enterprise and slashing the staff that make it the leading financial news organization.”
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Further background on Murdoch

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167