Rupert Murdoch owns a media empire which now exceeds the Walt Disney Company in its $68-billion value. In the US, Murdoch is most well known for starting the Fox News Channel. Viewers of the channel consistently poll as being misinformed on basic issues due to the channel’s strong political bias. For the past few months, Murdoch’s Newscorp have been in talks with Down Jones, owners of the Wall Street Journal, in attemps to negotiate a buyout.
Associated Press, August 3rd:
The boards of Dow Jones and Murdoch’s News Corp. signed off on [an] agreement early Wednesday, capping the media mogul’s three-month pursuit. The [$5 billion] deal is expected to close within the next month.
The Journal…would have undergone a “long, uncomfortable period” if the Murdoch offer had been turned down, [Wall Street Journal Editor Paul] Steiger said. Given the state of the newspaper industry, the Journal likely would have been forced to undergo major cost-cutting, he said.
MediaMatters, July 8th:
News Corp. took time out last week to announce that the Fox Business Network will begin broadcasting into 30 million cable television homes this October.
The launching of the FBN and the possible purchase of the Journal are inexorably linked; the latter would not have been pursued without the former. Murdoch wants to marry the Journal with the FBN to create a business news juggernaut.
Murdoch has already publicly promised that the FBN will be “more business friendly” than its competitors, and not “leap on every scandal.” [Fox News President Roger] Ailes agreed, telling The New York Times, “Many times I’ve seen things on CNBC where they are not as friendly to corporations and profits as they should be.”
Murdoch insists that if he purchased the Journal he would never interfere with the newspaper and that he would be a fool to damage the Journal’s premier brand value; its reputation. He has pledged to “continue to promote journalistic integrity.”
To calm fears, the media mogul offered to set up what he calls an “independent, autonomous editorial board” to oversee the Journal, much the way he did in the 1980s when similar concerns were expressed about Murdoch’s purchase of the respected Times of London.
CNN Money, August 3rd:
A foundation run by a member of the proposed independent panel that will aim to ensure the editorial integrity of Dow Jones & Co Inc has financial ties to the company’s new owner, News Corp, the Wall Street Journal reported.
…Nicholas Negroponte is currently overseeing the non-profit group One Laptop per Child…[and] News Corp donated at least 2 million USD to the foundation.
The newspaper also said that News Corp executive vice-president Jeremy Philips is on the foundation’s board.
Washington Post, August 2nd:
In an e-mail interview with Reuters in May, Negroponte described Murdoch as a personal friend and a key backer of the OLPC foundation.
A News Corp spokesman said the company saw no conflicts of interest in Negroponte’s appointment.