The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

WSJ on Murdoch's takeover: "[Your] Ignorance is [Our] Strength."

I always thought it was a pity that the excellent reporting in the Wall Street Journal had to be marred by an op-ed page as gleefully reactionary as Rush Limbaugh. You hate to see extremism given the imprimatur of respectability by association.

Fortunately, that's all about to change. Unfortunately, the change takes place in Bizarroworld.

Today's Wall Street Journal features a long letter from publisher L. Gordon Crovitz reassuring readers about Rupert Murdoch's impending takeover of the newspaper. It isn't very reassuring. Crovitz's two main arguments are that Murdoch promised not to interfere with the newspaper's editorial integrity, and that "it would be bad business" for him to do so, since the Journal's most valuable commodity is its integrity. The problem, of course, is that Murdoch always makes promises like this when he buys newspapers, and he always breaks them.

More worrisome still, Crovitz goes on at length about the importance of accurate financial journalism. But he ignores the Journal's great tradition of independent political reporting. If you want to learn about business lobbying or the details of a tax bill, there's no better source. The commitment of the Journal's newswriters to fair political reporting routinely infuriates the rabid partisans of the editorial page. . . .

Crovitz also argues,

Also, some of the criticism of News Corp. has suggested that honest journalism cannot be done with an owner whose political views are often considered to be conservative. This reflects a bias of its own that I hope readers of all political views will reject.

Take that, strawman! [A pretty slick bit of linguistic prestidigitation, though. Pure BushCo, complete with "stop the oppression of rich white men" demagoguery.]

Meanwhile, the editorial page, which has been throwing itself into Murdoch's arms ever since his plans became public, predictably has a gloating editorial:

[R]eaders also shouldn't misinterpret the "editorial independence" agreement between Mr. Murdoch and the Bancrofts. This isn't intended to be some heat shield protecting Journal editors from their new owner. We know enough about capitalism to know that there is no separating ownership and control.

Uhhhh, that's a complete contradiction of Crovitz' pseudo-assurances, right? And sure enough, we liberal Commie types know so little about capitalism that we think ideological agit-prop posing as objective journalism is a bad thing for a democracy.