Murdoch Drags the Wall Street Journal Down to His Level

Such a sad, sad sight to see.

Defending News Corp against criticism of its illegal phone hacking and police bribing activities, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece that included this classic line:

Do our media brethren really want to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news?

I am deeply offended by this piece on several levels.

  • Murdoch has built a fortune with yellow journalism. By buying up and controlling so many media outlets, he has brought journalism standards down worldwide. Not convinced? Roger Ebert explains the impact Murdoch had on the Chicago Sun-Times during his ownership.
  • Murdoch has insulted the intelligence of half the American public and conned the other half with his so-called “fair and balanced” news network, Fox News. The network not only promotes tasteless and sensationalist news stories, but it clearly promotes Murdoch’s conservative viewpoint, often with misstatements, half truths, and quotes taken out of context.
  • In the opinion piece from which the above quote was taken, Murdoch seems to suggest that his company’s news gathering techniques are protected under the First Amendment. In other words free speech allows journalists to collect news by whatever means are available to them. The legality of their actions simply doesn’t matter. Of course, Murdoch is also free to define “news” any way he sees fit.

In my opinion, there is no single news organization that has done more harm to America than Fox News. It oozes hate and mistrust, it pits Americans against each other and their elected political leaders. It makes news out of scandal — except this one, of course — and ignores or misrepresents the real issues that Americans need to know about.

Murdoch is responsible for this.

Fortunately, those Americans who haven’t been sucked into the half-truths spewed by FOX News have other sources of information: NPR, PBS, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal. Well, scratch that last one.

The above-referenced opinion piece is the first example — at least the first I’ve seen — of where the Wall Street Journal is being used as a Murdoch disinformation tool. Not only has the Journal’s business reporting suffered, but it’s now becoming Fox-ified.

In the Journal piece, the unnamed author says this about its competing media outlets:

The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw.

Why shouldn’t it be? News Corp has done more damage to the news industry than any other organization. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m enjoying the schadenfreude, too.

Want another point of view on this Journal opinion piece? Read what Felix Salmon says on Reuters.

What do you think?