Pity the poor Wall Street Journal staffer. The union is battling the Bancroft family that currently owns the paper. Then News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch made a big bid for the firm and Journal reporters and editors didn’t like that. Now, they don’t like the prospect of another outside bidder either.
The June 21 New York Times said “some reporters and editors at the Wall Street Journal” are calling their options “a choice between ‘trash or slash.’” “Trash,” by their definition, is the Murdoch bid. “Slash” is the new possible bid by General Electric (NYSE: GE) and Pearson (NYSE:PSO), which owns the Financial Times.
Now, according to the Times, some staffers actually prefer Murdoch, though the union has actively sought opposing bids. “If you put a gun to my head, I’d take Murdoch over G.E.-Pearson,” the Times quoted one “senior editor” as saying.
Still, the Times coverage didn’t reflect many positives about the Murdoch bid. The article admitted Murdoch is a “shrewd businessman,” but then added that his “motivations sometimes go beyond profit to include prestige and political influence.”
The Times did mirror some of the Journal staffers’ complaints by criticizing G.E. and its chairman as well. Both “have a reputation for wielding the sharpest of pencils, aggressively hunting for savings,” said the story.
While it raised questions about both major suitors, the story left out the ongoing battle between the union and the Bancroft family. A letter from the Journal union, IAPE 1096, complained June 20 that “management started stonewalling again” in current negotiations.
That came just two days after the union took legal action against Dow Jones, the parent company of the Journal. “Just a quick update on the fight for a Quality Contract: We have recently filed two unfair labor practice charges against Dow Jones,” wrote President Steve Yount on the union Web site. Yount has also openly opposed the Murdoch bid and tried to recruit left-wing billionaires to make a bid for the company.