Media Criticism of Murdoch Almost Killed Wall Street Journal Bid
Despite all the bombs thrown by media, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch was still able to work out a deal for the Wall Street Journal. But, journalists almost kept it from happening.
“Murdoch also said the media’s harsh coverage of him during negotiations with the Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones, almost squashed the deal,” wrote reporter Peter Lauria.
“I spent the better part of the past three months enduring criticism normally leveled at a genocidal tyrant,” Murdoch said. “If I didn't think [Dow Jones] was such a perfect fit – with such unlimited potential to grow on its own and in tandem with News Corp.'s assets – believe me, I would have walked away.”
From the time it was made public in April, all the way up until the deal was announced, harsh criticism of Murdoch was repeatedly dished out by the media.
An editorial in the July/August 2007 issue of Columbia Journalism Review labeled Murdoch as a “scorpion,” the villain of the frog and the scorpion fable.
“He’s a meddler on one hand and it may not be good for the workers,” CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi said of Murdoch during the May 6 “Reliable Sources.”
The Los Angeles Times, in a column by Tim Rutten compared him to a tyrannical dictator on June 6. “[P]robably not quite as frightening as the day we learned Kim Jong Il has the bomb, but close … very close.”
Diane Sawyer took a cheap shot at Murdoch on July 18. “You think he has everything?” asked the “Good Morning America” anchor. “I'll bet the day after tomorrow there is something new he wants.”
Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher called Murdoch a home wrecker in a June 27 column. “Putting in controls for what Murdoch can do with the Journal is like selling a landmark house and stipulating that it can never be painted a certain garish color or get covered in aluminum siding. If Murdoch buys this house, don’t be surprised if he replaces a few windows, knocks down couple of walls, and paints it a color the former owners will hate.”
News Corp. announced on August 1 that it had reached an agreement to buy Dow Jones & Company for more than $5 billion. The New York Times reported on August 9 it will take months to consummate the deal.
The deal for the Wall Street Journal is believed to be an effort to improve News Corp.’s Fox Business Channel, set to launch on October 15.